Central New York's Water Authority Leverages Drone Technology

Document created by MLamas-esristaff Employee on Dec 28, 2017Last modified by MMathias-esristaff on Jan 23, 2018
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Below you will find the Q & A discussion from the webinar, Central New York's Water Authority Leverages Drone Technology.



Q: Do you use control points for any of your imagery with Drone2Map?

A: No, Control Points where not used for any of our imagery thus far.


Q: What software do you use for flight planning? Pix4D, Map Pilot? or any free software?

A: I used DJI Go 4 for tank inspections. The Point of interest flight setting allowed for circular flights around our tanks, allowing me to focus on taking pictures.  For the ortho imagery I used Map Pilot to achieve automated grid flight paths.


Q: Does that alternate lens work with the camera that comes with the Phantom 4 or do you need a different camera

A: The Neutral density lenses we use screw right on to the stock DJI phantom 4 pro cameras.


Q: Is it possible to get a waiver from FAA regarding line of site for flights in very remote areas?

A: Yes, it is possible. You will have to submit a waiver request to the FAA’s drone website. The website also provides examples of successful waiver requests to help you out. Just be sure to address any potential risks and how you plan to mitigate for them.


Q: Did they get a COA? if so, how long and what was involved?

A: We did not get a COA. Most of our tanks reside in areas without heavy FAA regulation. We have however applied for a Waiver to inspect a tank in Class C airspace. I submitted that waiver 45 days ago and have not heard back from the FAA yet.


Q: How close are you guys to an airport and when you applied for your waiver ... how long did it take you

A: Within 5 miles. Check out the FAA facility maps to get an idea of new regulations surrounding major airports.


Q: For the 107 Remote Pilot Certification, does it require renewal and continuing education?

A: yes, you must retake the test every 2 years. I would advise to continually monitor FAA regulations as they are being updated often.


Q: Also, would you consider using the DJI PHantom 4 as a UAS to collect high resolution aerial imagery that you could use as a basemap?

A: Yes, I would consider that. The technology is there.


Q: What is the frequency you are conducting tank site inspections? Is there an AWWA standard?

A: I believe regulatory agencies require a professional inspection every 10 years. We are trying to get out to each tank every couple years to determine if we can get ahead of maintenance issues and perform spot treatments. 


Q: Is there large data storage requirements for dealing with the 4k pictures?

A: Yes, some of our Orthos are over 2gb in size. Just forces us to be choosy with what we store. The good news is that storage is getting cheaper every year.


Q: How long can the drone stay in flight before recharge?

A: with the DJI phantom 4 pro its about 25 minutes per battery. This number is dependent on the wind speed as well as the temperature however.


Q: What software do you use for the mapping and modeling of drone data?

A: Drone2Map by Esri.


Q: Can you touch on the insurance process for your drone? Do you have separate drone insurance policy

A: OCWA added the drone to our property policy for an annual premium increase of $19. The drone was considered covered under our existing liability policy at no extra charge


Q: How close do you have to be to the DJI and the point of interest?

A: As long as you can see your UAS and have remote control of it then you can set your point of interest.


Q: How did you develop the DEM? Just from the photos and GPS or a separate sensor?

A: DEM, DTM can be created in Drone2Map


Q: I've heard that Drone2map will be part of Pro—do you know if is this the case?

A:  I don’t know. Might want to ask your Esri rep.


Q: Do you need a special sensor to collect the DEM products?

A: No, the DEM products are produced through standard imagery.


Q: What is the best app to use to do tank inspections? And how do you make a flight path around a tank, so you can go back and do the same flight again?

A: I used “DJI go 4” app which is the standard app that is used to control our DJI phantom 4 pro UAS. I utilize the point of interest setting to set the flight path at a certain radius and altitude. You can maintain repeatability to writing down your parameters for repeat use. 


Q: Do you not have to include camera information for the orthorectification process?

A: No, Drone2Map does not ask for any camera information.