More and more companies are augmenting their data collection by using UAV / drone technology. this booming industry enables companies to augment their spatial data and analysis with current, 3D imagery including thermal data, DTM, aerial video footage and more.
Estimated to be a $3.3 billion market in the U.S., the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) sector comprises companies that design and manufacture commercial, recreational, and military drones. The potential uses of commercial drones–humanitarian relief, scientific research, police surveillance, freight delivery–are virtually limitless. Additionally, drone manufacturing and sales was even listed as one for the best businesses to start in 2016 by Inc. Magazine!
UAV data collection is serious (and big) business and it should not be entered into lightly or without taking into account a number of considerations. For example, how you are going to handle that data, which can be massive, especially in the case of video, LiDAR surveys, or other sensor files? And, since the data may reveal sensitive information about key property, progress, or infrastructure, how will you ensure data security and integrity? An important part of any data management is access control—for instance, who gets to see the data, do they have access to all the data or just a subset of it, and for how long into the future? Do you have enough equipment? Do you have backup equipment when there’s an accident? How about insurance? Are you licensed accordingly and aware of the rules and local laws?
Be prepared, and if this is an area that you’re company or agency wants to get into, perhaps consider flying a small project with skilled professionals in your corner.
Read more on this including details of several industries that are leveraging UAV technology and also creating opportunities for GIS and geospatial consulting firms to enter this space as a service offering.