How Wilson and Company Uses Loki to Save Time and Money

Wilson and Company is a valued customer of GeoCue Group, Inc./ AirGon and is a current user of Terrasolid software, GeoCue software, LP360 software and Loki. Our sales team members, Megan McNab and Madelyne Loftin, spoke with Derek Smith and Justin Langer at Wilson and Company to learn more about how long they have been using UAVs, what attracted them to begin using the technology, and what kind of projects they conduct using UAVs.

 

When did Wilson and Company begin integrating UAVs?

Wilson first purchased a UAV in April of 2014.  A fixed wing Revolution 1800 with a Sony NEX 5T.

 

What attracted your organization to the technology?

We feel like it is a fantastic emerging technology, can save time and money on projects and provides high accuracy data with fewer man hours on the right projects. WCI has had a large survey group, a talented Geospatial/photogrammetry group and UAV data bridges the gaps from survey to photogrammetry to LiDAR.  We are excited for the future of sUAS technology as it continues to develop at a blistering pace.

 

Could you give us an idea of your typical project where UAVs are used?

WCI is currently flying the DJI Inspire 2 with Loki.  We look for projects that are in uncontrolled airspace, have varying project deliverables and/or are 100 acres or less.  We fly nadir imagery, oblique imagery, and videography.  We produce orthophotography, point clouds, surface models, planimetric maps, topographic maps and other 3D deliverables. We also use our Inspire 2 for business development support. Typical projects include:

  • Road Corridors or Intersections
  • Rail yards and facilities
  • Housing development
  • Construction sites
  • Waste management facilities

 

When accessing a project, what determining factors help decide between UAVs and LIDAR?

We base our decision largely on what the client’s needs are.  We look at project size and location, the possibility that the deliverables or area will change and how dramatically, mobilization fees and man power required to complete the project to client specifications. Often it will involve an in-depth conversation as to what the final deliverables are as well.  We would not recommend using sUAS imagery for a job that may take a week to fly with the UAV and end up more expensive than an afternoon with mobile helicopter LiDAR for example.  We would recommend using the UAV for a rural city parking lot upgrade.  It is typically less expensive to drive one guy to a remote area vs mobilizing the LiDAR unit(s).

 


About Wilson and Company

For more than eight decades, clients have chosen Wilson & Company to help them move from concept to completion, unused spaces to productive places, underutilized to efficient facilities, and rural and urban challenges to achievable solutions. Wilson & Company provides you with engineering, architecture, planning, environmental, survey & mapping, and construction management services.

About Loki

Loki is AirGon’s third generation Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), Post-Process Kinematic (PPK) direct geopositioning system for drones. Unlike other direct geopositioning systems on the market today, Loki supports, in “plug and play” fashion, the ubiquitous Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire 2 drones from DJI. Loki turns these low-cost prosumer drones into high accuracy, professional mapping platforms. Of course, Loki also supports high-end drones equipped with digital cameras from Sony, Nikon and others.

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April 2015

We’ve had a very busy first quarter with many road trips and demonstrations of technology. I continue to remain very excited with respect to small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS or drone) technology. Applied to the right sort of problem, this is a real game changer.

We just attended the SPAR conference in Houston last week. SPAR is a conference with a primary focus on tripod (static) laser scanning and secondary foci on mobile laser scanning and an emerging section on sUAS technologies. The conference was attended by perhaps 1,000 folks. We were exhibiting as AirGon in the UAS section of the exhibit hall. If you are involved in building information management (BIM), this is a must-attend conference.

I made an interesting observation regarding the emergence of sUAS technology for mine site mapping.  It reminds me a lot of the years when tripod laser scanning was emerging and replacing total station surveys in brown field as-built documentation projects. sUAS mapping is the logical choice for volumetric mapping at mine sites. While it has some disadvantages, its pluses put it ahead of any other technique for this sort of application. For the first time, I encountered service providers who are using other approaches to solve this problem. Many of those who are using tripod scanning for volumetrics feel threatened by this newly emerging technology. Who can blame them? If I had just invested 80K in a laser scanner for volumetrics and then observed a technology much more suited to the task, I would be defensive as well! Thus I am seeing end-users (e.g. mine owners) as the parties most embracing of sUAS mapping with service providers being drug into the space by their customers. This is, ironically, not unlike the situation when tripod laser scanning was emerging. Service providers had big investments in total stations and had no burning desire to have to invest in a new technology.

We are changing our newsletter a bit with this issue. We will now be hosting information such as our tool tips and how-to articles in our new GeoCue Group knowledge base. We will put a lead-in sentence in this newsletter that will link you to the knowledge base article. This will be a real benefit as time goes on. The Knowledge Base includes a robust search capability and consolidates all of this rich information in one spot. This means that if you need to review our extensive past article on breaklines, you can simply search the knowledge base rather than digging through the newsletter archive. We are gradually moving all of the past technical articles over to the knowledge base.

We continue to focus a lot of our development efforts on LP360. These developments range from ease of use to advanced methods for creating the toes of stockpiles for volumetric analysis. In addition, we have been tuning our display subsystem to increase window refresh times and reduce our memory footprint. Finally, we are adding (to the Standard level) a new point cloud task for cleaning up areas where batch ground classification did not quite do the job.  We will be posting an “Experimental” release of LP360 within the next several weeks that provides initial versions of these features.

Thanks very much for being a GeoCue Group customer or an interested observer! See you in May.

Best Regards,

Lewis

GeoCue Group News – April 2015