Drones have become increasingly popular for commercial applications such as mapping, surveying, inspection, and more. Ensuring drone flight planning is safe, efficient, and accurate is essential. Proper drone mission planning is key to achieving these goals. By carefully planning drone missions, operators can minimise risk, optimise efficiency, and maximise the value of the data collected.
In this article, we will explore how to plan drone missions, execute the mission, process the data, and finally collaborate with team members to assess the data and set proper actions. While we’re at it, we’ll provide tips and best practices for streamlining this entire operation with the help of dedicated aerial intelligence software.
Before planning the drone flight, it’s important to define the area to be mapped or surveyed. This will help you determine the necessary flight altitude, the number of images to be captured, and the amount of time needed to complete the mission. You don’t want to run out of battery!
The level of detail required will depend on the specific application. For example, if you’re mapping a construction site, you may need a higher level of detail than if you’re surveying agricultural land. The required level of detail will also determine the drone's flight altitude and the drone camera settings.
It’s important to choose a drone and camera that are suitable for the application. Consider the drone's flight time, range, and payload capacity, as well as the camera's resolution and image quality.
You can dive into what drones are best for your business here
There are several flight patterns to choose from, including grid, circular, and corridor. The flight pattern will depend on the shape and size of the area to be mapped, as well as the required level of detail.
Safety should always be a top priority when planning drone flights. Be sure to check for any airspace restrictions or regulations, and plan for emergency procedures in case of unexpected events.
In Australia, drone operators must follow the rules and regulations set by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Some of the key airspace restrictions and regulations for drones in Australia are:
Drone registration: All drones weighing more than 250 grams must be registered with CASA.
Fly within visual line of sight: Drone operators must always maintain visual contact with their drone and fly within visual line of sight.
Restricted airspace: Drones are not allowed to fly in restricted airspace, including around airports, helipads, and military bases.
Altitude restrictions: Drones must not be flown higher than 120 meters (400 feet) above ground level.
Avoid emergency situations: Drones must not be flown in emergency situations or near emergency response activities.
No-fly zones: Some areas are designated as no-fly zones, such as national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
Respect privacy: Drone operators must respect the privacy of others and not use their drone for surveillance or photography without their consent.
Start the mission! Believe it or not, you do not need to manually fly the drone according to your preferred flight plan.
There are several software packages available that can help drone operators plan and execute flights in a predefined pattern for image capture. These software packages can simplify the flight planning process, reduce the risk of human error, and ensure accurate and consistent data collection. Here are some ways that software can help drones fly in a predefined pattern for image capture.
Once the drone flight is complete, the data will need to be processed to create the final map or survey. Be sure to plan for data storage and processing requirements, and choose a software package that is suitable for the application.
Birdi, for example, provides a pay as you go (PAYG) option that lets you pay for processing when you need it. Check out our pricing plans here.
You’ve planned, captured and processed a powerful map or survey. But the job isn’t done - nothing has come from this brilliant work. Collaborating with key stakeholders means assessment and actions can be taken that respond to the data captured in the map.
The assessment and actions are different depending on a few factors;
Are you a consultant, a pilot, or an operations manager in a large enterprise?
Are you in construction, mining & resources, power & utilities, insurance, government, or consulting?
The use case for the drone flight
Are you inspecting assets, surveying land area, obtaining volume of sand?
Regardless of the variations listed above, there are a few features that will enable this collaboration, and software platforms like Birdi give you these tools at your fingertips;
User roles based on permissions
Set up your team in Birdi with permission-based roles, including Admins, Pilots and Guest (view-only) access.
Multiple users on the map together
View your team-mate’s cursor position in the map view for easy team collaboration in real-time.
Share missions with your team
With a few clicks, missions can be shared publicly and privately with your team.
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