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Drone LIDAR + Imagery
True View 401 Business Models

Author: Lewis Graham, April 9, 2020

True View 410: Purchase or Subscription

Our True View 410 3D Imaging System (3DIS, Figure 1) is available under two different business models; a standard system purchase or as a subscription service. Both options include the sensor hardware/accessories as well as full post-processing software.  The subscription plan includes a mount for a DJI M600 Pro that you return to us with the sensor when the subscription ends. For purchased systems, you can optionally purchase an M600 Pro mount if that is the drone on which you will fly the system.

Labeled Components of True View 410 Integrated UAV LIDAR/Camera Sensor
Figure 1: The True View 410 3DIS

Positioning Modes

The True View 410 uses the very high quality Trimble Applanix APX-15 Position and Orientation System (POS).  With this system, there are three common schemes for referencing:

  • Single Base – this uses a single base station, either locally placed as part of the drone mapping mission or a nearby permanent station such as a CORS. This is, by far, the most common, accurate and reliable positioning strategy. 
  • Applanix SmartBase – This mode uses a network of stations (mostly CORS) in a virtual static configuration. It is available in select areas and eliminates the need for a local base station. 
  • Trimble PP-RTX – This is a precise point positioning (PPP) solution offered by Trimble. It does not use a base station, is universally applicable but does not have quite as high of accuracy as a local base solution.

These positioning modes are discussed in some detail in our January 23, 2020 issue of True View Bulletin (available on our website at https://geocue.com/positioning-options-in-true-view-workflows/).  In most work, you will set a local base station.  We find the other modes (SmartBase and PP-RTX) useful for salvaging a project if something happens to the local base station. 

The subscription service for these various processing modes is built directly in to the post-processing software, True View Evo.  The charges are metered by the flight minute – kinematic minute or “kinmin.”  The subscriptions fees  are paid in True View Points and managed by our True View Reckon (hosted in Amazon Web Services, AWS) data management portal.    The “pricing” in True View Points for the first 500 kinematic minutes is listed in Table 1.  Substantial discounts levels occur at 500 and 1,000 monthly cumulative kinematic minutes.

Table 1: Positioning Pricing in True View Points per kinmin (first 500 kinmin)

As you can see from Table 1, if you use a single, local base station with a purchased system, there are no additional fees. 

How the Subscription Model Works

A True View subscription plan costs a flat monthly fee, the amount of which depends on your time commitment (1, 3 or 12 months).  The subscription, regardless of time, includes 3,250 expiring True View Points per month; subscription points left over at the end of the monthly period expire.  Using a single base (again, the recommended method of processing for most cases) you can see that 3,250 True View Points will “buy” 500 kinematic minutes of flight time processing.  This works out to about 20 projects of 50 acres each.  If you need more time in a particular month than the base 3,250 True View Points will provide, you can simply purchase additional points.  These purchased points do not expire so they can be carried forward from month to month.

Technical Support

The subscription system includes full technical support as well as hardware and software updates.  If a system under subscription fails, it is replaced with another system.  Purchased systems include full technical, software and hardware support for the first year.  We offer several support options for year two and beyond.

How to Determine the Best Business Model for your Business

Which model you select depends very much on your type of business.  I do believe that if you purchase a drone LIDAR system, you should plan on an amortization period no more than about 30 months since the technology is rapidly changing.  Just take the total cost of ownership (purchase price and 18 months of maintenance that are beyond the bundled first year) and examine that 30 month period against your anticipated work calendar.  In general, we find that companies who are committed to either an internal drone mapping program (so-called “owner-operators” such as mining companies) or companies with a dedicated business line of drone mapping services tend to purchase systems.

Some considerations for a subscription system might be:

  • Pay as you go model means less up-front cash outlay
  • Great for companies who are only occasionally doing drone mapping
  • The one month subscription is an excellent way to “test the waters” of drone mapping
  • The True View Point system makes allocation of expenses to direct project cost a simple formula
  • Easily scalable for varying loads (“surge” capacity) since you can add a sensor for as little as a one month commitment

From a support perspective, we do not treat customers who subscribe to a system any differently than those who purchase (and have active maintenance) so there really are no considerations on that front. 

I hope that from this information you can see that the True View 410 is not only a novel sensor from the technology perspective, but also with its flexible business models.  Please contact us for additional information when you are considering your next drone mapping sensor. 

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