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Protected: An inside look into how we build drone software for construction

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3DR Launches Industry-First Thermal Solution for DJI M200 Series Drones

Today, we’re excited to share that Site Scan now offers an industry-first thermal capability for drones: now, you can capture and use structurally-detailed thermal maps and 3D models in Site Scan, giving you a whole new level of visibility into your projects.

The first of its kind

This is a one-of-a-kind capability built in collaboration with DJI and FLIR Systems: Site Scan seamlessly supports flying autonomously with the DJI M210 dual gimbal drone, equipped with the Zenmuse X4S and the Zenmuse XT thermal camera, powered by FLIR.

“Site Scan’s unique ability to generate structurally detailed thermal point clouds is a brand new capability for our customers across engineering, construction, and mining,” said Chris Anderson, CEO, 3DR. “Now, Site Scan users can easily inspect buildings, structures, and utilities, map solar arrays, monitor concrete curing, and much more. We’re excited to see how our customers put thermal imaging to work on their projects.”

Combined thermal + RGB point cloud for plant inspections

The workflow is simple: Site Scan users just plan and execute their flight in Site Scan like normal, and the imagery from the M200 Series drone will automatically upload to the cloud and process into accurate thermal maps and models using Pix4D’s industry-leading thermal processing capabilities.

As part of this release, Site Scan users are also now able to fly with the XT camera using a single gimbal on any of the the DJI M200 Series drones (M200, M210, M210 RTK). This makes it easier than ever to perform thermal inspections: Site Scan users can either fly single gimbal autonomous surveys, or fly manually and tap any part of their iPad screen to get a temperature reading of a specific area.

“As more enterprises deploy drones across their operations, many of them are realizing the impact thermal data can have on their sites,” said Jan Gasparic, Head of Enterprise Partnerships at DJI. “With the new thermal capabilities of 3DR’s Site Scan platform, these enterprises have a seamless and automated way to transition from a DJI M200 Series drone out in the field to meaningful analytics of thermal data in the office.”

“Thermal imaging has become a core tool for commercial drone operators to use on the job,” said Frank Pennisi, President of the Industrial Business Unit at FLIR. “The ability to use a drone to see heat and now map it with 3DR Site Scan will enable the industry to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and do more with thermal imaging.”

Want to learn more? Join our upcoming webinar with DJI and FLIR — save your seat!

The post 3DR Launches Industry-First Thermal Solution for DJI M200 Series Drones appeared first on 3DR.

How Drones Helped Preserve Important Cultural Artifacts on this Remote Micronesian Island

Scientists unanimously agree that climate change is real and that its impacts are felt globally. One of the most obvious effects of climate change is sea level rise which has the potential to destroy coastal sites of cultural and historic significance in many different places around the world.

While no one can single-handedly reverse the effects of climate change and sea level rise, efforts are being made to preserve existing land, buildings, and cultural heritage sites that are at risk. Drones can play—and are playing—a big role in these efforts. Thanks to their mapping and land assessment capabilities, new methods of preservation have been taking place through the application of drone use and photogrammetry.

Kosrae

The island of Kosrae, located in the Federated States of Micronesia, offers some interesting history and a largely unspoiled terrain. Kosrae, according to archaeological evidence, was settled at least by the early first millennium A.D. Micronesian ruins exist throughout Kosrae–an island that’s particularly rich in ancient history, World War II history, and even boasts a sunken pirate ship off its shores, popular with visiting divers. Kosrae is also affected by rising sea levels, and efforts are being made to help preserve the island’s most valuable artifacts.

 

Kosrae Japanese radio tower

Ruins on the coast of Kosrae

Drones and the Photogrammetric Documentation of Kosraean Artifacts

Dace Campbell is an architect with thirty years in the design and construction industry who has over twenty-five years of applied research experience in virtual and augmented reality. He’s also a Customer Success Manager at Autodesk–a company that grants its employees a generous six-week sabbatical every four years. Some folks spend their sabbatical relaxing on remote tropical islands in far-away places, while others jet off on sightseeing adventures, and some do research or work on personal projects. Dace decided to do a little of all three when he embarked on a mission to help Kosrae’s Historic Preservation Office (KHPO) in the photogrammetric documentation of artifacts.

“As an architect, I was thinking of a philanthropic architecture project that I could work on with my family,” Dace says. “Habitat for Humanity and different church groups were doing all sorts of builds in the third world, so that’s where I started. I struggled to find something that was family-friendly and architectural. It was only when the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Climate agreement that I realized I wanted to pursue a project addressing sustainability. That’s how I arrived at architectural and cultural historic preservation of artifacts threatened by climate change.”

 

Menke ruins

Menke Ruins on Kosrae

 

By partnering with local leaders, Dace spent one month with his family living on Kosrae as part of his Autodesk 2018 sabbatical. In order to bring new vantage points to Kosrae land owners as well as the staff at KHPO, Dace wanted to use drones to give locals a clear view of their existing artifacts. Using the 3DR Site Scan drone platform, along with various Autodesk programs and tools including ReCap™ and 3ds Max® among others, he used photogrammetry and virtual reality to execute his work.

To learn how all these tools and technologies worked together, Dace began with an experiment in his own Seattle backyard which he digitized using photogrammetry. By simulating a site that could potentially be affected by flooding due to rising sea level, faking in things like water and an ancient Kosraean wooden dwelling, he was able to create an augmented reality experience.

“To begin, and this is where Site Scan comes into play, I was just collecting images. So, I did a lot of aerial photogrammetry with an iPad and a Phantom 4 Pro, and essentially did a lot of mission planning using Site Scan, flew a lot of flights, and took a lot of pictures.”

 

Dace's yard

Dace’s AR simulation of a Kosraen structure in his Seattle yard

 

Preserving the Lelu Ruins – a UNESCO World Heritage Nominated Site

Dace explains that his ideal project sites would meet several criteria: “they needed to be close to sea level, of cultural and historic significance on a global scale, and visible enough to support aerial photography.” The sites he ultimately identified were a WWII Japanese Radio Tower, the Menke Ruins, and the Lelu Ruins. Lelu was the primary draw here, as it’s currently being considered for World Heritage status by UNESCO. The ruins themselves are located on Kosrae’s satellite island of Lelu which is a municipality of the entire state of Kosrae. Lelu once contained complex hierarchical societies on Kosrae prior to European contact, and it’s composed of Megalithic stone walls built of basalt and coral.

Once Dace and his team on Kosrae cleared large areas of vegetation covering Lelu in order to gain more visibility, they were able to access the ruins for clearer aerial drone footage using Site Scan’s automated survey flight mode.  Dace was then able to label and document his work in order to share it with KHPO and the locals through an immersive virtual reality experience.

Lelu Ruins in Kosrae

The Lelu Ruins, another Kosraen historical site surveyed by Dace

Drones Play a Vital Role in Preserving Artifacts around the World

Thanks to the efforts of Dace and the KHPO team, Kosraeans can now use VR and AR to help come up with mitigation strategies to preserve valuable artifacts on the island. “Administrators, staff anthropologists, field staff, and land owners all had great things to say about photogrammetry and VR,” Dace says. “They were quite engaged by having that firsthand experience.”

Drone functions in the photogrammetry space—especially when paired with platforms like Site Scan—have virtually limitless possibilities. It’s long been possible to perform terrestrial photogrammetry without a drone and, on the other hand, drones can be used on their own to take aerial photos without performing photogrammetry to construct 3D digital models. By combining high-resolution drone photos with photogrammetry workflows, however, Dace was able to capture Kosrae in an entirely new way.

While the average user might not be jetting off to remote islands in Micronesia to help with UNESCO World Heritage missions, projects like the one on Kosrae are becoming more and more common. It’s now easier than ever for non-professionals to use drone platforms and virtual reality to experience places as if they were there. Drones certainly are playing a vital role in the preservation of important artifacts–a positive trend that’s on the rise, with the potential to make a lasting difference across the globe.

The post How Drones Helped Preserve Important Cultural Artifacts on this Remote Micronesian Island appeared first on 3DR.

Drone Software, Re-Imagined: Meet the All New Site Scan

Today is a big day for 3DR customers: we’ve launched an all new Site Scan that’s simpler, faster, and packed with new features.

 

We’ve been working side-by-side with our customers to look for ways to improve our cloud-based web app, Site Scan. By doing so, we started to see some patterns and common needs across our customer base in construction, engineering, mining, and other sectors: they wanted to use Site Scan in new and interesting ways, so we set out to re-imagine the platform to help our customers accomplish their goals and work better, every day.

The new Site Scan is built for teams, offers a simple and more flexible interface, and supercharges your workflow with a ton of new features.

Built for teams

We’ve learned that now, more than ever, our customers are looking to make their drone data accessible and useful across their entire organization—not just their own part of it. In construction, for example, drone data was long used mostly just by virtual construction teams, not by the project managers or the superintendents on-site every day. That’s no longer the case: project teams are now reviewing drone maps and models on a near-daily basis, like at their morning meetings to plan the day’s work.

With this in mind, it became clear that our customers needed a platform that was built for teams: one that makes it easier than ever to manage permissions and share drone data across projects and organizations. With the new Site Scan, now they can: it makes it easier than ever to add new team members to your projects, share data with key stakeholders, and control permissions with admin, full-access, and read-only access. 

Simple, flexible interface

We’re constantly improving Site Scan and adding new features for a diverse, growing customer base across construction, engineering, mining, and more. That’s why we built the new Site Scan in a way that’s simpler and more flexible: the sidebar is your central resource for managing flights and projects, adding new team members, and managing permissions.

The toolbar is your all-in-one workspace for analyzing your drone data, making it easy for you to view your maps, models, and project timelines, along with a variety of data layers, design file overlays, and exporting options. With this improved design, Site Scan is able to grow and evolve as we continue to add new features. 

Breakdown of the new user interface in Site Scan (click to expand!)

Brand new features

To go with the improved design, we’ve also added a few great new features to Site Scan, all of which are focused on making it easier for you to get the insights you need, faster.

Ortho and point cloud photo inspection

Curious about a specific point on your orthomosaic or point cloud? Now, you can use the new Inspect Photo tool to identify that point, and Site Scan will show you every image that it appears in. This is a powerful way to quickly see the actual photos from any point in your project.

Generate contours based off the digital terrain model

Now, you can create rich bare earth models with your Site Scan data, and use your digital terrain model (DTM) to generate contours.

Faster processing

We’ve made enhancements to our processing engine and now your Site Scan data processes faster than ever, ensuring that you get the data you need, when you need it.

Hot keys for measurements

Make measurements, faster. We’ve added hotkeys to our set of measurement tools. Now, you can press “d” for distance measurements, “v” for volume, “m” to set markers, “c” to count objects, and “i” to inspect photos in detail.

We’re thrilled about how Site Scan has evolved over the years, and we’re even more excited to see how our community will put this brand new tool to work. If you’re interested in learning more about Site Scan and how it can help your business, set up a 15-minute consultation with us—we’re here to help!

The post Drone Software, Re-Imagined: Meet the All New Site Scan appeared first on 3DR Site Scan - Commercial Drone Platform.

Drone software, re-imagined: meet the all new Site Scan

Today’s a big day for 3DR customers: we’ve released an all new Site Scan that’s simpler, faster, and packed with new features.

We’ve been working side-by-side with our customers to look for ways to improve our cloud-based web app, Site Scan. By doing so, we started to see some patterns and common needs across our customer base in construction, engineering, and mining: they wanted to use Site Scan in new and interesting ways, so we set out to re-imagine the platform to help our customers accomplish their goals and work better.

The new Site Scan is built for teams, offers a simple and more flexible interface, and has a ton of new features.


Want to see the new Site Scan in action?

Watch the announcement webinar to see a full demo!


Built for teams

Now, more than ever, our customers are looking to make their drone data accessible and useful across their entire organization—not just their own part of it. In construction, for example, drone data was long used mostly just by virtual construction teams, not by the project managers or the superintendents on-site every day. That’s no longer the case: project teams are now reviewing drone maps and models on a near-daily basis, like at their morning meetings to plan the day’s work.

With this in mind, it became clear that our customers needed a platform that was built for teams: one that makes it easier than ever to manage access and share drone data across projects and organizations. In the new Site Scan—with its improved interface for inviting new users, controlling project permissions and more—that’s easier than ever.

Simple, flexible interface

We’re constantly improving Site Scan and adding new features for a diverse, growing customer base across different industries. That’s why we built the new Site Scan in a way that’s simpler and more flexible, with a sidebar, toolbar, full-width viewer, and a right sidebar for photo inspections. See the breakdown below:

 

The sidebar is your central resource for managing flights and projects, adding new team members, and managing permissions. The toolbar is your all-in-one workspace for analyzing your drone data, making it easy for you to view your maps, models, and project timelines, along with a variety of data layers, design file overlays, and exporting options. With this design, Site Scan is built to grow and evolve with all of the new features that we’re building in the future.

Brand new features

Speaking of features, we’ve also added a few new capabilities in Site Scan, all of which are geared around making it faster and easier for you to to get the information you need. Here’s just some of what’s new:

Ortho and point cloud photo inspection

Curious about a specific point on your orthomosaic or point cloud? Now, you can use the new Inspect Photo tool to identify that point, and Site Scan will show you every image that it appears in.

Generate contours based off the digital terrain model

Now, you can create rich bare earth models with your Site Scan data, and use your digital terrain model (DTM) to generate contours.

Faster processing

We’ve made enhancements to our processing engine and now your Site Scan data processes faster than ever, ensuring that you get the data you need, when you need it.

Hot keys for measurements

Make measurements, faster. We’ve added hotkeys to our set of measurement 

tools. Now, you can press “d” for distance measurements, “v” for volume, “m” to set markers, “c” to count objects, and “i” to inspect photos in detail.

We’re thrilled about how Site Scan has evolved over the years, and we’re even more excited to see how our community will put this brand new tool to work. If you’re interested in learning more about Site Scan and how it can help your business, watch our announcement webinar set up a 15-minute consultation with us—we’re here to help.

The post Drone software, re-imagined: meet the all new Site Scan appeared first on 3DR.

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