Surveying and Mapping

This track will dive into topics such as aerial imaging, photogrammetry, point clouds, topographic surveys, building orthomosaics, cadastral and corridor surveying techniques, volumetric collection and calculations, and more. You will also learn to master the tools and solutions used for these tasks, and which technology best suits your surveying and mapping needs.


Tuesday, September 4th

Pre-Conference Workshop: Part 107 Training

Full-Day Workshop

11:00 AM – 5:30 PM

All

Speakers: Enrico Schaefer, Tony Sauerbrey

This all-day training session will focus on the essential areas to study for the Part 107 Knowledge Test. Course content and objectives will include Part 107 rules and regulations, aeronautical charts, weather patterns and National Airspace System (NAS), as well as eligibility requirements to be able to take the FAA written knowledge test.

This session will cover more than just the fine details of what you need to know for the Knowledge Test, but also provide you with insight on how to think and operate like a professional commercial drone pilot and provide you with everyday examples that remote pilots may encounter when out performing commercial flight operations for themselves or their clients. This session will be a comprehensive overview to assist you with preparation for taking the Part 107 Knowledge Test and think about the next steps beyond the Knowledge Test.

THOSE OTHER TOPS/TIPS TO INCLUDE:

• Following policies and practices such as pre-flight and post-flight checklist for every drone flight operations

• Online test prep resources (handout)

• Industry Standards

• FAA Past Practices and the direction they are moving forward with

YOU WILL WALK AWAY WITH KNOWLEDGE REGARDING:

• Understanding Part 107 Regulations

• Understanding and identifying the various classes of controlled, uncontrolled, and Special Use airspace.

• An understanding of how to read and interpret aeronautical chart symbology.

• Planning methods to translate a location on street/satellite maps into an aeronautical chart.

• Understanding of Aeronautical Decision Making and human factors affecting safe flight.

• Understanding basic weather principles.

• Interpreting weather reports and forecasts.


Pre-Conference Workshop: Drone Startup 101: Finding Your Fortune in the Drone Industry

Half-Day Workshop

2:00 PM – 5:30 PM

All

Speakers: Allen Scott Beach, Andrea Beach

This half-day workshop will focus on helping you find success in the drone industry. We will cover everything from deciding what kind of business to start to sales, marketing and the top 5 checklist. We will help you simplify the process of starting and running a successful drone company, and discuss simple strategies such as: “Do what you know,” “There is nothing more important than sales” and “Be willing to throw out the status quo.” While no one can guarantee your success, what is guaranteed is that there’s no chance of success if you never begin.

OTHER TOPICS AND TIPS TO INCLUDE:

• Drone Opportunities Abound: Selecting what’s right for you.

• Trail Blazers: Learn from those that have gone before you.

• How to build a competitive advantage

• Marketing on a shoestring

• The hunt for start-up capital

YOU WILL WALK AWAY WITH:

• The key components of starting a drone business

• A myriad of viable options for drone start-ups

• An understanding of what it takes to be successful


Wednesday, September 5th

Unlocking Real-Time Drone Insights on the Job Site

Class

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Track: Surveying and Mapping | Business | Precision Agriculture |Inspection | Construction, Aggregates and Mining

Speaker: Jono Millin

Drone mapping is an innovative and cost-efficient way to collect aerial data on projects in construction, agriculture, energy, and more. But in a fast-moving world, data needs to keep up with your operations. Your decisions and your bottom line depend on it. That’s why the future of drone mapping is in real-time. You can’t afford to wait a day or even hours for aerial insights.

Join experts from DroneDeploy to get a firsthand look at Live Map, the only real-time mapping solution that enables instant aerial insights and thermal inspections…no computer, SD card, or internet connection required.

You can expect to walk away with a better understanding of the many ways drones revolutionize industry workflows and the latest tools you can put to work to unlock the full potential of drones on the job site.


Accelerating Needs for Spectrum Solutions for UAS

Class

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Track: All

Speaker: Jennifer Richter

Join this class for a discussion on the pending AIA proposal for new UAS C2 spectrum; how autonomy impacts spectrum needs; whether new spectrum is needed for ADS-B-like transponder functions; what the Commission is considering for collision avoidance spectrum; and increasing concerns related to using unlicensed bands.


Using UAS Data to Analyze, Visualize and Increase Productivity for Civil Transportation Projects

Class

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Track: Surveying and Mapping

Speakers: Riley Lindsay, Paul Damron

At UDOT, we have learned that we can drastically enhance the deliverables and schedules that can be accomplished in the engineering and surveying field because of the rapid advances in UAS technology. This session will discuss how UDOT is utilizing CAD and GIS platforms to visualize and analyze UAS data. Also learn how this technology can accelerate decision making and help provide a visual aspect for stakeholders. We provide real life lessons learned from some of UDOT’s past project.

Learning Objectives:

UDOT’s UAS fleet. The pros and cons.

Processed the imagery and point cloud, now what?

UDOT Software packages. The pros and cons

Quality control and assurance, best practices.

Using GIS as a platform.

Visualize and analyze your data.

Ways in which UAS can increase productivity.

Lessons learned using UAS for civil transportation projects.


FAA Regulations: The Latest Outlook

Panel

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Christopher Korody

Speakers: Bill Goodwin, Lydia Hilton, Doug Johnson, Anthony Zakel

With a new administrator at the helm of the FAA, what has changed? What has stayed the same? What do you think should be addressed next and how do you express your views? This panel is designed as an open forum to ask questions to an esteemed lineup of lawmakers and legal experts as well as cover what you need to know to safely and legally fly your drone.


How to Prove Safety: Gaining BVLOS and Part 107 Waiver

Class

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Track: All

Speaker: Adam Robertson

This session will address the key ways to establish proof of safety in your drone program, and discuss how to achieve BVLOS for UAV and steps for securing a Part 107 Waiver. An autonomous drone revolution is underway to tap the economic potential of the vast and largely empty airspace overhead. Drones are already an indispensable part of the daily workflow in many industries, including search and rescue, construction, mining, agriculture, real estate and film making. Emerging UAV capabilities such as large infrastructure inspection, border patrol and package transport require safe beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) services to be economically viable. So, what’s the best solution to achieving BVLOS?

Many solutions claim to enable safer flight and detect-and-avoid capabilities; however, radar is proven to be a superior solution to help UAV and operators achieve BVLOS. The FAA has prioritized radar as the key technology for development in achieving optimal safety and security in the airspace. This talk will discuss key developments to radar solutions, including machine learning, AI, software enhancement for data mapping and more, all which can be deployed and applied to most any kind of drone.

The class will also outline the steps necessary to secure the critical Part 107 Waiver for operation in controlled airspace, helping companies to save time and resources on the process. While the FAA has attempted to streamline the application process through its DroneZone portal, there are some key things you will learn that can facilitate the process. The 107 Waiver allows for UAVs to operate at night, over people, flight from a moving vehicle or truck, operate multiple aircraft with a single pilot, fly beyond visual line of sight, flight above 400 feet, and fly near airports and other protected airspace.

You will walk away knowing how the use of radar and gaining a Part 107 Waiver can help unlock the many benefits that a world of drone commerce can offer.


Inspection-Worthy 3D Models Using Photogrammetry

Class

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

Track: Inspection | Surveying and Mapping

Speaker: Ty Audronis

One of the biggest issues with photogrammetry and inspections is the lack of detail in 3D models. Inspection-grade photos require high resolution to identify small problems before they become big. This makes 3D models more of a value-add, and spawns the constant question, “cool model, but how can I use it?”

Current inspection methods (using the raw photos) lack context, and require engineers to spend precious time locating where inspection photos are in relationship to structures.

Using the right flight patterns, software, and processing techniques high-resolution/high detail models can be generated which not only offer context to inspection imagery; but can offer engineering firms the ability to show clients issues with their structures with accuracy, and turning a “value-add” into a revenue generator.

Additionally, with high resolution 3D models, side orthomosaics can be generated with immense detail for inspection, and documentation purposes (such as Local Law 11). With 100% of structure coverage (unlike current methodologies).

This presentation will outline the necessary flight patterns, and software processing techniques to generate inspection-worthy 3D models and side orthomosaics.


Partnerships and the Future of the Commercial Drone Industry Landscape

Panel

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Michael Blades

Speakers: Derek Lyons, Joshua Ziering, Bill Chen, Basil Yap

The commercial drone ecosystem is changing almost as rapidly as the technology that drives it. This panel will discuss, from both a US and global view, how the commercial drone services market has transitioned from a stove-piped development approach to a race to provide a one-stop shop for all-in-one services supporting various industries. However, not all partnerships are as beneficial as they seem while others hit solution services out the park. This panel will cover what these partnerships mean for the commercial drone ecosystem as well as the opportunities they may produce or possibly eliminate through their synergies.


Using Ardupilot Open-Source Systems for Professional Precision Mapping

Class

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Track: Surveying and Mapping | Development and Hardware

Speaker: Jaime Machuca

Ardupilot is the leading open-source autopilot software in the industry. It is a very versatile autopilot capable of matching even the most advanced commercial systems. There have been a lot of advances on the use of high precision GPS systems in the last few months and this has enabled a new level of precision in the output of mapping systems. Centimiter grade surveys are now possible by using the right GPS and camera combinations. This class will show what the main components of this system should be, how they interact together, what you have to look for in order to have the most precise outputs, and will show the results of a traditional survey vs the results obtained with an RTK equipped fixed-wing UAV.


Moving Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management Forward: The Current Landscape

Panel

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Jim Williams

Speakers: Biruk Abraham, Mark Aitken, Marke “Hoot” Gibson, Joseph Rios

In the first half of this 120-minute panel, the current landscape of UTM will be discussed from policy and regulatory standpoints. With programs like Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) rolling out, the path to flying quickly, legally and safely is becoming more streamlined. But what’s the state of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations? Where does UAS remote tracking and identification currently stand? This panel of industry-leading experts with discuss these topics as well as the reality of implementation and integration into our National Airspace System (NAS).


Moving Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management Forward: The Future Landscape

Panel

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Jim Williams

Speakers: Eric Ringer, Ben Marcus, Paul McDuffee

The second half of this 120-minute panel will cover the path forward for UTM from a technical, real-world implementation standpoint. You will hear from the companies that are facilitating the advancement of UTM through their solutions and programs, and learn what resources are available to you now for flying quickly, legally and safely. The future vision for fully integrating drones into our National Airspace System (NAS) will also be discussed.


Harnessing the Power of Your Drone Data

Panel

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Colin Snow

Speakers: Amit Ganjoo, Marty Scholl, Pat Lohman

Drones gather a trove of information and data, but how do you turn that data into actionable business insights? From the collection process to analysis and decision making, this panel will cover the best ways to harness the data in your pipeline while increasing productivity and your bottom line. 


UAVs and Remote Sensing for the Green Industry: What to Know Before You Start

Class

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Track: Inspection | Surveying and Mapping

Speakers: Tim Haynie, Dan Staley

This session will explore the current drone and data processing technologies for their suitability and application in urban constructed landscapes for the green industry. You will receive a complete overview of what it takes to provide services for the green industry, including flying missions for tree assessments, plant health assessments, inventories, turfgrass monitoring, and utility corridor operations.

Opportunities are growing for UAV operations and data analysis in turfgrass management, detection of water stress in plants, detection of pests and decay in trees, inventories, utility vegetation management, measurements of area, slope, volume and length, plant health assessments, and bids for landscape maintenance are among the green industry needs that will soon require UAS and associated technologies. Examples from actual projects will be given, including large-scale remote sensing of urban forests with UASs and landscape health assessments.

• You will learn about specific green industry needs, including the types of flights needed for bid requirements, choosing a cloud-based platform or stand-alone data provider, and times of day to fly for vegetation assessments.

• You will learn details such as the need for flying very near trees for inspections and risk assessment, which vegetation indices to use for missions, and the pros and cons of different agriculture sensors for urban vegetation types.

• You will walk away from this class with the information necessary to make a decision on how (or whether) to offer their services to the green industry.


Best Practices for Scaling and Streamlining Your Drone Ops

Class

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Track: All

Speakers: Tom Owen, Joshua Ziering

If you are looking to start a drone program or already have one in place within your enterprise, then this class is for you.

Tom Owen and Josh Ziering will present actionable insights and tips for streamlining and growing your drone program, based on years of experience working with diverse enterprise and public-sector partners.

Tom will delve into best practices he sees during his field trips meeting customers across the country. Josh will discuss how to effectively and safely manage your pilots and scale your fleet, from pre-flight to in-flight to post-flight. You’ll learn how to put repeatable processes in place so your team will be able to collect data and create insights that can move seamlessly back into your organization.

By attending this class, you will get answers to questions like:

– What kind of standard operating procedures work at scale?

– How can you help mitigate the risk a drone program poses to your organization?

– How do you build a culture of safety and accountability?

– How do you manage increased accountability around LAANC operations?

– When is the right time to call the FAA/NTSB after an accident?


Thursday, September 6th

Managing Drone Data: Choosing the Right Data Service Provider

Class

8:45 AM – 9:45 AM

Track: All

Speaker: Colin Snow

Choosing a drone data service means choosing a trusted business partner. But with so many choices, it can be hard to know which one you should use. What advantage does one have over another? Unfortunately, the answers are not simple. A lot depends on your business model, your target market, what functions you need, and quite frankly how much you are willing to spend. The good news is the current wave of development and innovation in online drone data services is focused on mapping and analytic solutions that drone business service providers and enterprises can use to help solve real world problems – problems like infrastructure decay, crop yields, stockpile inaccuracies, improper construction sequencing, mining site logistics, etc. With that in mind, in this session I’ll outline the important criteria to help you evaluate the various web-based mapping and imaging services for drones.

In this session, you’ll learn:

• Who are the major providers and what’s their focus?

• How to determine the value of the services they provide?

• What questions should you be asking when comparing offerings?

• What’s the best way to integrating a service into your existing workflow so that it simplifies your operations and save costs?


Hybrid Surveying Methods Using LIDar and UAS to Achieve High-Precison Topographic Land Surveys

Class

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Track: Surveying and Mapping

Speaker: Paul Wheeler

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) has created a disruptive change in land surveying practices. Rapid advances in technology have drastically changed what can be accomplished utilizing innovative methods. This session will discuss the best practices to obtain survey grade accuracy utilizing UAS, LiDAR, and traditional methods in a hybrid approach to achieve high-precision topographic land surveys more efficiently and with less cost.

Learning Objectives:

• How to get started utilizing new technology in land surveying

• Hardware needed to get started

• What software is needed for UAS data collection and processing

• Strengths and weaknesses of UAS Point Clouds

• How to use a hybrid surveying approach to achieve the best results

• How to increase productivity utilizing UAS

• Lessons learned using UAS for land surveys


Drones in Surveying and Mapping: An End-User’s Perspective

Panel

2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

Track: Surveying and Mapping

Moderator: Harry McNabb

Speakers: Marty Scholl, Riley Lindsay, Jon McBride

Whether you are a drone service provider or part of an in-house enterprise team, flying a UAV for surveying and mapping requires skill. And with so many solutions in the surveying and mapping space, how do you know which technology is best for you and your use case? This panel will offer a real-world, end-user perspective for flying drones in this vertical as well as tips and tricks for delivering the best end product to your customer or company.


Drones in Surveying and Mapping: Cutting-Edge Technology

Panel

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Track: Surveying and Mapping

Moderator: Randy Goers

Speakers: Patrick Stuart, Michael Singer

From unearthing the past by mapping archaeological sites to paving the future for building the next mega structure, drones are becoming increasingly important in surveying and mapping. This panel will dive into how drones are changing the way we see the world and cover the technology that’s been revolutionizing it. Topics will include LiDar and 3D mapping, photogrammetry, point clouds, topographic surveys, building orthomosaics, cadastral and corridor surveying techniques, volumetric collection and calculations, and more.


Growing Your Drone Service Business After Hours

After Hours

7:00 PM – 8:15 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Colin Snow

Speakers: Michael Singer, Ed Hine

So you have your drone service business, but how do you grow it? Hear from those who have made it in the booming commercial drone service provider market during this special after hours event. Hear which market segments will take off next and where drone service providers are making the most impact and having the most success. Learn about the pitfalls, best practices, and the sure-fire ways of taking your drone business to the next level!


DJI After Hours: The Future of the Commercial UAV Ecosystem

After Hours

7:00 PM – 8:15 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Romeo Durscher

Speakers: Bill Chen, Francisco Toro, Hai Vo

Join DJI and its partners for an after-hours session, discussing the future ecosystem of unmanned aerial systems. DJI will host an intimate Q&A session, where audience members have an opportunity to ask experts from DJI and its select partners some pressing questions.


Friday, September 7th

Using GCP with RTKpost and Pix4D to Create Accurate Topography Maps

Class

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Track: Surveying and Mapping

Speaker: Jason Worley

Using accurately-placed Ground Control Points (“GCP”) is a necessary step to achieve accurate eortho-rectified imagery. These images can then be used for measurements, locating specific coordinates for locations on the ground through imagery, and accurate elevations for generating topography maps. Correcting GPS readings for GCPs can be done through traditional/manual survey methods, or using “smart” GCP devices. We will discuss the latter, and specifically, using a post-processed kinematic (“PPK”) correction techniques and free tools to correct for the GPS errors, as well as how to import and use GCP locations into Pix4D and generate usable ortho and topo maps.


Do Drones Disturb Wildlife?

Panel

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Track: All

Moderator: David Bird

Speakers: Dr. David Johnston, Jeff Sloan

Drones are being embraced more and more by biologists and conservationists all over the world as a useful tool to count, detect, track and observe wildlife. However, not all agree with their use. Some feel that these sometimes noisy machines can pose a hazard to wildlife and they want their use curtailed through stricter regulations or even banned in some places. This panel, composed of experts using drones to study wildlife, will discuss the pros and cons of adopting these machines for this purpose and what steps we must take to make more effective use of the technology. During the discussion, you will also learn about the latest successes (and failures) in their use.   


Drones and the Power of Artificial Intelligence

Panel

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Miram McNabb

Speakers: Jaime Machuca, Kraettli L. Epperson , Nitin Gupta

Drones and Artificial Intelligence seem to go hand in hand now, and it’s easy to see why. With computer vision technology capable of collision avoidance, and systems smart enough to learn and operate on behalf of the human operator, AI could be the conduit for safely and reliably integrating drones into our National Airspace System (NAS) and the path to expanding flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). The use cases are endless as are the opportunities. Learn about them and more in this panel.


Stereographic Compilation from UAS: An Accuracy and Feasibility Study

Class

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Track: Surveying and Mapping

Speakers: Christian Stallings, Orrin Thomas

The incorporation of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in civil engineering projects has dramatically increased, resulting in a significant change on the progress of the industry. Adoption of these tools has amplified the need for 3D elevation modeling using methods like Structure from Motion (SfM) to create dense 3D point clouds; however, considerable limitations continue to exist to this approach, such as the inability to accurately map steep vertical terrain or small above ground features accurately such as powerlines, roof edges, curb and gutter, and above ground piping. Another common solution has been to utilize Light Detecting and Ranging (LiDAR) systems, and although accurate this process can be cost prohibitive in many cases.

Through highly controlled testing and processing, we propose a third approach that integrates inexpensive UAS systems with stereographic compilation, a very old photogrammetric technique to extract 3D vector information with survey grade accuracy. Using both traditional photogrammetric workflows and principles, we are able to identify and correct variables affecting the error budget to consistently create an accurate mapping product faster than conventional survey at a cost-effective approach via drones.

This presentation will discuss that research and approach as well as demonstrate some real-world examples of this technique and accuracies based on the ASPRS Positional Accuracy Standards.


Project Management Fundamentals For Your Commercial Drone Operation

Class

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Track: All

Speaker: Brett Hoffstadt

Commercial drone operations, to be effective, must deliver quality results within business constraints of cost, schedule, staffing, regulations, and other organizational factors. How can you ensure that your scope is feasible within these constraints? What are your biggest risks? How can you be proactive to prevent them from becoming real issues? How best to delegate, assign, and track roles and responsibilities so that every necessary task is completed? Who are the key stakeholders in your organization? What are effective strategies to influence and manage them, including the nay-sayers? This class will give you an accelerated overview of the 10 knowledge areas of project management through best practices, essential tools, strategies, and actual lessons learned (the good, the bad, and some ugly) from industry. The 10 areas are:

– Project integration

– Scope management

– Time management

– Cost management

– Quality management

– Human Resources

– Communications

– Risk management

– Procurement

– Stakeholder management

If you have realized that the soft skills and nontechnical aspects of commercial drones are the sources of your biggest challenges, you will gain a lot from this course. Whether you are a one-person operation trying to manage a business yourself or you are building a drone operation for your organization, you will leave with a comprehensive introduction into the fundamentals of planning and executing this effort as a viable project. Those with a Project Management Professional certification (PMP) will receive 1.0 PDU for attending.