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3D Robotics News

New in Site Scan: Ground Control Points

When it comes to drone data, there’s a single metric that matters: accuracy. You want your drone maps and models to capture reality as closely as possible, so you can depend on them and make critical decisions for your business.

Today, we’re thrilled to share that we’re giving a big accuracy boost to your drone data: ground control points are now available in Site Scan!

Ground control points (GCP’s) are easily-identifiable markers on the ground of your jobsite that can be used to ‘georeference’ your drone maps and models. By supporting ground control points in Site Scan, we’re making it possible to increase the absolute accuracy of your drone data and deliver a better finished product.

Processing with GCP’s in Site Scan offers industry-leading precision: while flying at 100 feet with the Site Scan Sony R10C and using GCP’s, you can achieve horizontal accuracy of 0.25 inches and vertical accuracy of 0.25 inches.

This is a major development of how drone imagery is turned into actionable data: with this release, Site Scan is now the only end-to-end drone data platform with cloud processing for ground control points.

Comparing two geo-referenced orthomosaics that were processed with GCP’s


“Ground control points are a game-changer for Site Scan. Now, I can easily tag and process GCP’s in the cloud, and deliver my clients more accurate drone maps and models than ever before.”

— Chris Swigert, Liberty Excavators


Introducing Lightning, the fastest GCP workflow available

Lightning, the fastest GCP workflow on the market

As part of this launch, we’re also introducing Lightning, the fastest and easiest ground control point workflow on the market. Now, with Lightning’s intuitive user experience, you can enter and tag GCP’s 5X faster than alternative workflows. Forget having to worry about slow, inefficient GCP processes: Lightning makes it easy for you to create deliverables that you—and your clients—will love.

Looking for a Site Scan demo? Contact us to speak with a specialist. They’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about the workflow, pricing, and more.

The post New in Site Scan: Ground Control Points appeared first on 3DR Site Scan - Commercial Drone Platform.

3 New Elevation Viewers, Now in Site Scan

One of the most common uses for Site Scan is performing topographic surveys: you can use a drone to survey your site faster, safer, and more cost-effectively, while also capturing far more detail than traditional methods. This makes it easy to collect the data you need to grade your jobsite and prepare it for construction.

To make things even easier in the pre-construction phase of your projects, today we’re introducing three new ways for you to visualize your elevation data: Elevation Models, Hillshades, and Cut and Fill maps are now available directly within Site Scan Manager.

Elevation Model: With this model, you can turn your elevation data into a heatmap in order to quickly understand and verify elevation across your site. This is crucial, for example, when you need to know which way drainage water will flow and what areas of your site will require the most grading. You can adjust the altitude ranges to view the area that you’re most interested in, and change the opacity as well.

Hillshade: Need to clearly identify the 3D objects in your orthomosaic? The hillshade viewer makes it easy, providing a grayscale 3D image of your jobsite with the position of the sun taken into account to ensure proper shading.

Cut and Fill Map: In addition to cut and fill calculations, now you can easily set your desired grading elevation and then view a high-resolution cut and fill map to know exactly how much work needs to be done to level your site. You can also adjust the opacity of the cut and fill map, helping you see your orthomosaic and make critical earthwork decisions for your project.

Want to see how our new elevation viewers work, along with the rest of Site Scan? Get a free demo from one of our product specialists—they’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

We’re hosting a Site Scan training webinar at 10AM on Wednesday, August 30th to provide a walkthrough of the product. Want to join? Register here.

The post 3 New Elevation Viewers, Now in Site Scan appeared first on 3DR Site Scan - Commercial Drone Platform.

Announcing OpenSolo

When we launched Solo back in 2015, one of its selling points was that it was based on the open source ArduPilot software, the project that Jordi Munoz and I launched as a side-project way back in 2007 and then grew beyond our imagination in the able hands of the community.  The point of Solo was to package up this open stack in a polished, easy-to-use consumer product (like the DJI Phantom), treating the ArduPilot stack as an “open core” and extending its functionality with proprietary features much as companies do with Linux-based devices.

This worked very well as a product (Solo had some really innovative features, some of which are still unequaled) but less well as a business (we couldn’t make it cheaply enough to keep up with the rapid price declines in the consumer market, so we stopped making them at the end of 2015).  Now, two years later, 3DR has shifted its focus to the commercial market that exploded after the FAA launched its Part 107 commercial operator licensing program last year. But there are lots of Solos still out there, with great untapped potential — it’s just not our core business anymore.

So what to do? Open source the rest of it! We’ve heard loud and clear that the community wants a tried-and-true Ardupilot platform that can be extended without limit. The Ardupilot team has already embraced Solo and ported the latest flight code to it. But the custom 3DR WiFi control, telemetry, and video streaming technology, the “Artoo” controller and the “Shot Manager” mission control stack that runs on the onboard Linux processor were not open source, so the full potential of the drone remained locked.

No more. I’m delighted to announce that we’re now open sourcing almost all of the remaining code, including the SoloLink wireless stack, ShotManager, the high-level onboard mission scripting layer that gave Solo all of its “smart shots”, and a range of other packages include the code for the controller and the build tools.

The code has now been released in a new OpenSolo organization on Github, licenced under the permissive Apache 2.0 licence.

More details about what’s been released here

solo-builder – scripts for configuring a virtual machine to build the Solo software

meta-3dr – the build recipes that assemble the complete Linux system for the Solo and Controller i.MX6 processors.

shotmanager – implementation of Solo’s Smart Shots.

sololink – 3DR software that runs on the i.MX6 processors, implementing things like video streaming, control, telemetry, pairing, logging, etc.

artoo – firmware for the STM32 microcontroller in the controller responsible for the inputs and screen.

solo-gimbal (coming soon) – firmware for the microcontrollers in the Solo Gimbal

The post Announcing OpenSolo appeared first on 3DR Site Scan - Commercial Drone Platform.

3DR Integrates With DJI Drones, Launches Enterprise Drone Platform

Today is a historic day for 3DR. We couldn’t be more thrilled to share not one, but two important milestones for Site Scan, which will transform how our customers use drones in their day-to-day work.

First things first: we’re integrating our Site Scan software platform with DJI to make it compatible with their drones. This integration marks a significant expansion of the Site Scan platform, giving you another option for your workflow: now you’re free to use whatever drone that’s best for you and your team.

With this integration, now our customers can get the best of both worlds: DJI’s drones, and 3DR’s software for managing and analyzing the data that these drones collect.

For Site Scan customers, flying a DJI drone has the exact same workflow: you can use our mobile app, Site Scan Field. DJI drones will work seamlessly with Site Scan, including its autonomous flight modes, multi-engine cloud processing, and suite of tools designed for construction, such as: performing topographic surveys, calculating cut and fill volumes, measuring stockpiles, exporting native Autodesk file formats, and much more.

“This integration is a significant milestone for the AEC industry,” said Michael Perry, Director of Strategic Partnerships at DJI. “We’re excited that 3DR Site Scan users can now use DJI drones to convert images into actionable data that helps project stakeholders save time and manage costs.”

Introducing Enterprise Atlas



Integrating with DJI isn’t the only news we have to share today: we’re also excited to officially launch our Enterprise Atlas platform, a complete drone data solution designed specifically for large and fast-growing companies. With Enterprise Atlas, construction and engineering firms have everything they need to successfully deploy and scale drone operations—whether they’re in the field or back at the office analyzing and managing their drone data. Enterprise Atlas includes:

Role & project-based access: Multiple access licenses ensure that the right people have the appropriate data and privileges, from management to owners, subcontractors to employees. With shareable links, remote collaboration and status updates are just a click away.

Unlimited, secure storage: Images, data, and flight history are stored in a secured 3DR cloud.

Enterprise-ready support: Comprehensive onboarding and implementation designed for organizations of any size, and customized for unique business requirements. Technical phone support is available 12h per day, and replacement and loaner vehicles ensure team members can fly whenever they need to.

Enterprise Atlas is a perfect complement to our integration with DJI: now, different teams within an organization can use whatever drone they’re comfortable with, and the data is still accessible in Site Scan across teams and offices.

Ultimately, the 3DR team’s vision is to have a drone making an impact on every jobsite, helping our customers save time, money, reduce risk, and improve safety. Today’s announcements—both DJI and Enterprise Atlas—are an important step towards making this possible. We’re excited for this next chapter for 3DR, and to help make drones more accessible and powerful than ever before.

Want to learn more about our DJI integration and Enterprise Atlas? Contact us to schedule a discovery call and get a free Site Scan demo. 

The post 3DR Integrates With DJI Drones, Launches Enterprise Drone Platform appeared first on 3DR Site Scan - Commercial Drone Platform.

New in Site Scan: Inspect Mode

Valuable infrastructure—from bridges to dams, cell towers to solar panels—requires frequent and accurate inspections to spot issues and maintain quality. The problem with on-the-ground inspection, though, is that it can be time-consuming, costly, and dangerous for field crews trying to capture hard-to-reach areas.

Our vision is that drones can transform the way construction, engineering, and mining professionals monitor their most important assets. While field teams stay safe on the ground, drones can be their eye in the sky, taking high-resolution photographs and going places that would be otherwise impossible to access.

Today, we’re excited to make this a reality: introducing Inspect Mode, the fastest, safest, and most cost-effective way to capture what matters to your business.

With Inspect Mode, you finally have a way to capture high-resolution, geotagged photos of critical infrastructure and assets. It enables you to fly your Site Scan unit manually, using a telephoto lens on our 20.1 megapixel Sony R10C camera, the best camera in the sky. You can zoom in and capture close-up images to monitor ongoing construction and send progress updates, identify issues before they get too costly to fix, and store photos for compliance and further analysis.

See even the smallest details of your jobsite with the Sony R10C 20.1MP camera

The addition of this flight mode makes Site Scan the complete solution for using drones as an inspection tool: it offers easy-to-use flight controls, multi-battery missions, a high-resolution camera, cloud-based storage and management, and an intuitive user experience to tie all of this together.

The use cases are endless—for example, you can also use Inspect Mode to generate unique marketing materials, such as the view from the penthouse of a new apartment building before breaking ground.

How does it work?

The workflow is simple: set your takeoff and return altitudes, and then  use the  Site Scan joystick to fly the drone manually, assisted by GPS. You can adjust the gimbal angle to take photos from the top down, at an angle, or directly facing an object or building. Need to get a better look at something on your site? You can easily zoom in to take close-up photos, and then view them in detail in Site Scan Manager.

Learn more about how the Arizona DOT used drones to speed up a bridge replacement project

Our goal with Site Scan is to make it easy for you to capture every part of the infrastructure and assets that matter to your business, so you can better manage them. Now that you can fly with Inspect Mode, Site Scan can give you a better view of your projects than ever before.

Want to see how it works, along with the rest of Site Scan? Get a free demo from one of our product specialists—they’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.


The post New in Site Scan: Inspect Mode appeared first on 3DR Site Scan - Commercial Drone Platform.

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