Taking to the Sky: Integrating Fulcrum & DroneDeploy

April 25, 2017 by Coleman McCormick

There’s been a ton of buzz in the last couple of years on using UAV systems for aerial imagery, obliques, LiDAR, 3D modeling, and more. While the technology is becoming more and more affordable for both consumer and commercial platforms, the systems are still complex to use for mapping. Taking photos, stitching images, and publishing data is a challenging pipeline if all you’ve got is a drone. DroneDeploy is a platform aiming to change that - making it possible for pilots to “put their drone to work”. Using a combination of flight planning, automated flying, data capture, and data post-processing, they automate the process for commercial pilots to get their work done by taking much of the complexity out of the process.

A few months back, DroneDeploy launched their App Market, which allows developers to build additional capabilities on top of your drone-collected imagery. We see aerial data as a powerful complement to Fulcrum’s ground-based data perspective. So we’ve just launched our first integration on the DroneDeploy App Market to give drone pilots a capability to tie groundtruthing in Fulcrum with their drone data workflow.

DroneDeploy Fulcrum integration

The combination of aerial and ground perspectives can provide incredible insights for utility management, cellular and radio tower inspections, pipeline monitoring, and construction site surveys. Once you’ve captured imagery in the sky using DroneDeploy, you can add annotations to your images to note areas for attention. In agriculture, it might be plant health issues. For construction, you could log site compliance issues visible from overhead that need to be addressed. When you add text annotations, you can sync those notes and locations over to a Fulcrum app for future on-the-ground follow up.

Here’s a sample of our integration in action. In this video, you can see a sample dataset of a landfill site1, 340 acres in total. Surveying the full site for issues to address would take hours. With a 20 minute drone flight, the facility owner can have a high-resolution picture to review and annotate with any visible areas to visit for on-the-ground follow up. With the DroneDeploy Fulcrum integration, these annotated spots can be automatically synced to their “Site Issues” app, populating the specific coordinate and text comments over into Fulcrum for the field technician to see.

This is just the beginning of a great partnership integrating views from the air and the ground into a powerful seamless workflow for field data collection. Next up, we’re investigating ways to take drone imagery you capture with DroneDeploy and make them available offline in the Fulcrum mobile app to use as reference maps in the field. If you are currently working with drones to capture aerial imagery and want to combine that data with a groundtruthing system, check out Fulcrum on the DroneDeploy App Market and let us know what you think.

  1. Collected by our partner The Sequel Group, who does amazing work for clients with both drones and Fulcrum. 

About the author

Coleman is a geographer and President of Fulcrum, working every day with our customers to bring better data management capability to their operations.

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