Since Part 107 was enacted last year, more than 30,000 drone pilots have received their certification and joined the marketplace of commercial operators. For some, getting the license was the easy part: but finding steady work can be more challenging. Adding mapping skills to your portfolio can be a game changer – drone mapping pilots are in demand.
Part of the reason for this is that drone mapping covers so many different industries: agriculture, inspection, construction, and mining all use the data provided with aerial maps. These industries are among the first to adopt drone technology on a large scale, mostly because the tech offers so much concrete value to their bottom line. The FAA’s recently published Aerospace Forecast for 2017 demonstrates that over 70% of commercial drone applications are in these verticals.
“Businesses are always looking to innovate, improving and sometimes eliminating inefficient processes — and drones are making it possible to do old tasks in completely new ways,” says Mike Winn, CEO of Drone Deploy, the leading drone mapping data platform. “In general, our customers tell us drone mapping is 3X faster and cheaper than land-based methods. There is a large appetite for improvements at this high ROI, and this is driving demand for a generation of drone pilots and services who will reap the benefits.”
The good news is that adding drone mapping to your portfolio doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. While terms like orthomosaics, terrain modeling and NDVI analysis sound intimidating, drone pilots take heart: there’s an app for that. Orthomosaic images are simply aerial photographs that have been geometrically corrected so that the scale is uniform – and offer the same precision as a map. Terrain modelling provides elevation information, allowing for 3D representations of an area. And NDVI stands for Normalized Difference Vegetation Index – a standardized index that allows agronomists to generate an image displaying greenness (relative biomass).
Drone operators need to know what the terms mean so that they can communicate well with their clients; but then they simply need to gather the data accurately and use the right tools. Platforms like Drone Deploy do all the rest of it for you: they provide the flight planning app, they process the data, and they allow you to share the finished product with your clients under your own brand. Learn one app and package to deliver a polished product to clients across a number of different sectors; more flying, less data manipulation.
Mapping services are in such demand that Drone Deploy keeps a list of providers on their site for the benefit of industries looking for drone data. When you’ve honed your drone mapping skills, register your company – and start meeting paying customers.
Miriam McNabb is the CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. She writes for DRONELIFE on current news, financial trends, and FAA regulations. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.