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


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.


• 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


• 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-Confernce Workshop: Drone Startup 101: Finding Your Fortune in the Drone Industry

Half-Day Workshop

2:00 PM – 5:30 PM


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.


• 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


• 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

FAA Regulations: The Latest Outlook


11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Christopher Korody

Speakers: Lydia Hilton, 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


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


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


12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Michael Blades

Speakers: Derek Lyons, Joshua Ziering, Jan Gasparic

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


3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Track: Surveying and Mapping | Developemnt 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


3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Jim Williams

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

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


4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Jim Williams

Speakers: Matt Fanelli

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


4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Track: All

Speakers: Amit Ganjoo, Marty Scholl

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


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.

Thursday, September 6th

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


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


2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

Track: Surveying and Mapping

Speaker: Marty Scholl

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


3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Track: Surveying and Mapping

Moderator: TBD

Speakers: TBD

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.

Friday, September 7th

Do Drones Disturb Wildlife?


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


11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Track: All

Moderator: Miram McNabb

Speakers: Jaime Machuca

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.