Drones Flying Free 2017 Recap: What equipment and software do I need to get started?

April 19, 2017

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Are you considering acquiring a drone to enhance your operations?  February’s Drones Flying Free 2017 virtual conference archives can provide invaluable information and resources to help kick off your drone program successfully. The annual conference, sponsored by Directions Magazine and co-hosted by the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence, featured experts in GIS, hardware, legal issues, and flight operations. Every session was archived along with the full complement of resources, links and handouts from the presenters, and is available for on-demand viewing.

This year’s conference began with a session on the latest regulatory updates from the FAA, followed by a lively discussion of various legal concerns you should consider before your drone takes flight, but the most anticipated of the day’s sessions was probably the last: “What Equipment and Software Should I Use to Get Started? Understanding What’s Needed for Your Drone Mission to Work Smoothly.”

Peter Miller, CTO and director of engineering for Intuicom, began the session by explaining when building your own drone is more beneficial than buying one – then proceeded to share his personal building process flow, schematic, and go-to component companies. If you are considering building, you’ll want to take a close look at the links he provided to various resources and forums at the end of his presentation.

Are you dizzied by the array of available software, and not sure which you need? David McKittrick, senior application specialist at Blue Marble Geographics, provided an excellent overview of Global Mapper that included a demonstration of practical applications.

Wrapping up the session was Pierre Stoermer, CEO of DroneMapper, whose interactive spreadsheet turned out to be my favorite of all the conference resources. The spreadsheet allows you to check your mission planner by providing you with a variety of numbers generated off your own mission parameters.

The session can be viewed in full, online, with a free registration. Drones Flying Free 2016 conference sessions are also available on-demand.


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