From Military to Consumer and finally to Business

The past 18 months has seen a “ perfect storm ” of technology, economic and regulatory factors that has resulted in drone technology becoming a realistic mainstream professional tool, delivering real and immediate benefits to enterprise and government organisations.

Modern professional drones combine the ease of use of consumer models with industrial-grade components, rugged and durable design, improved geopositioning, longer battery life and better radio capabilities. When centimeter-level data accuracy is a must, these drones can be used together with ground control systems such as AeroPoints delivering data as accurate as conventional surveying. The result is organisations can now use UAVs to inspect assets remotely or map and survey areas up to 1200 ha by flying over them and capturing hundreds of overlapping high definition images, creating an accurate visual record at a fraction of the cost of other methods. However, the business benefits of those images cannot be fully realised in a raw state, which leads to the second big technology breakthrough.

The challenge in realising this value of drone data is in converting the raw images into highly accurate visual models and making them available to anyone within or outside the organisation that requires access. While the process of photogrammetry (converting aerial images into maps) has been around for some time, it relies on massive amounts of compute power which even then takes days, weeks or even months to complete, and then additionally complicated by requiring complex GIS or CAD systems to view the output.

The advent of cloud drone data platforms such as Propeller have removed much of this complexity by utilising the flexibility of Infrastructure-as-a-Service hardware and innovative software to process raw data in a fraction of the time traditionally required. They then leverage the latest web graphic software libraries to present accurate 2D and 3D visualisations via a web browser, removing the need for most professionals to install and maintain CAD and GIS applications.