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Question on selecting a survey drone

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posted on Nov, 10 2015 @ 07:21 PM
I thought this was the most appropriate forum for my question.

Long story short, My company recently gave me a grant to find a way to make an aspect of work here safer and more productive. After consideration i decided i would implement a drone into our daily duties. Im asking if anyone here has any knowledge or input on specific survey drones or drones that can be used as such in the company of a software program like Pix4D or Agisoft.
Now, i know i can buy an actual survey drone for $75,000 that will do pretty much what i want. But i also know the price of that drone is hugely being inflated because of the field of work im in.

I fly drones in my spare time. Ive even built a few frankenstein types out of parts from other drones. So why dont i just build one and get paid to do it?

Because i Need a drone that can be replaced relatively fast. less than or around $2000, so if it gets smashed, its no big deal to have another sent out that day. I also need it to have at least a 12 mega pixel camera or better. Has to be able to accept GPS coordinates or control points. Able to be used with either its own flight path app or something advanced like Mission Planner that allows me to enter my own perameters.
I need it to allow me to take a picture per second and save to SD card.

Sounds pretty simple right? Well i thought so to until i started searching the internet and came across hundreds of different name brands.
So im asking if you guys know of a good model that can provide what i outlined above Fairly cheap.

Ive been looking at the phantom 3, but i know nothing about the company. The only reputable company i know of is blade.
Any suggestions is greatly appreciated!

Also any recommendations on a night vision camera that can be used as well for flying under ground.

Thanks alot !

posted on Nov, 10 2015 @ 07:47 PM
Never knew mining was so cool!

So you are trying to buy a drone and mod it under a $2k budget with what's outlined above? 12MP, Nav, etc?

Do you need better drones in the workplace or just scratching a personal itch? Is that the most practical way to improve the workplace?

If it's flying underground, I'd bet it be cool to have retractable propellers and tracks to move on ground through tight unflyable places.

I'm also assuming even if it crashes you'd want to recover it or crash and burn? Just leave the gear.
edit on 10-11-2015 by Rosinitiate because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 10 2015 @ 07:52 PM
a reply to: Macenroe82

I put a video of the Phantom 3 for those interested , seems to fit all your criteria . Looks light enough that wind might be an issue though .

posted on Nov, 10 2015 @ 08:33 PM
a reply to: Rosinitiate
Im trying to find something that will do pretty much what i outlined out of the box. I have the software lined up. Im either going to go with Pix4D or Agisoft. I was told from another company that agisoft is more user friendly. Does most of the photo stitching itself. From the drone having a base point or control point, the software reads the drones internals for the height and flight distance and some other factors to basically spit out aerial trig.
Both programs state that the better the photo resolution, the more detailed information it will give me. inhad a company come to the mine Today to show me exactly what the software does. They took the drone up to 150 meters, had a predetermined flight path mapped out in mission planner. MP used bing imagery to set way points for the flight path.
Once the survey was done we went to my office and dumped the data into their lap top.
From their we calculated the volume of ore on our live stock pile.with the info from the stitched pictures in Agisoft. That was previously unheard of, because our live stock pile is under the crusher conveyor. So if anyone ever wanted to find out how much crushed tonnes were there, they would have to stop production. So by me just having this test survey done today was a great feat so to speak.
The accuracy of it is amazing, down to +/- 8%. where as a survey done by a rover GPS , has close to a 30% +/- because humans always miss or leave something out. And when the survey is not a symetrical pile, its even less.
I also inquired about a night vision drone for going underground with. .. Maybe even a low light camera would do.
Right now we use a CMS unit. Which is a Cavity Monitoring Survey. Its a rod with a laser scanner that has a 360 view. It traces out the entire cavity by adjusting the laser by 3%. Its a very costly procedure. With the scanner itself having a dollar value of $100,000. If a chunk of lose comes down on it, the costs involved become stupid lol. So i want to replace the CMS with a low cost drone to go into the unsupported stopes. Even standing by the opening to the stope, your putting your life on the line.
Last year my friend Pascal, got killed by falling rock in the stope he was operating his scoop in here.

I think if i could have seen how the stability of the stope was, i could have prevented his death by shutting the stope down.
So now my focus is on finding a way to make sure my guys get home to their Families after each shift.

posted on Nov, 10 2015 @ 08:38 PM
a reply to: hutch622

Ya that was one of my concerns. Maybe I will contact them in the morning seeing if they can give me some specs on capabilities in weather.
Maybe someone in ATS has experience with the phantom. Or can recommend something better.

posted on Nov, 10 2015 @ 08:39 PM
a reply to: Rosinitiate

Oh also, ya if it crashes on surface i will collect the debris. But if its unsalvageable then ill just get another.

posted on Nov, 10 2015 @ 08:41 PM
a reply to: Macenroe82

We have just purchased a phantom 3 for surveys for work: university geology.

It suits our needs perfectly.

I don't operate it, so I don't know much about it, but the boffins who do rate it highly.

posted on Nov, 10 2015 @ 08:55 PM
a reply to: aorAki

That is some positive news!
Thank you

posted on Nov, 10 2015 @ 09:01 PM
a reply to: Macenroe82

Without looking through the video again i am guessing this has a 6 axis gyro which should offset the wind somewhat . I fly variable pitch helicopters ( mainly blade ) and the bigger the more stable , however that being said i have an Optim 300cp with a six axis gyro and it is really stable . However there are limits . I am guessing if you plan on using this inside of a mine there will be an upper limit on size . You might want to keep in mind that drones are most likely line of sight for controlling and i am pretty sure GPS wont work underground .

posted on Nov, 10 2015 @ 09:14 PM
a reply to: hutch622

Correct, i wont need the GPS on the drone to work while under ground. my plan is to have the surveyor take a position shot of the drone with a total station. That way the pictures it takes can be geo-referenced from the coordinate the total station would provide. Then the software will do its magic and provide the rest of the coordinates based on the control point. Then i can export the data as points, enter it into a module of autocad that i use called A-Mine and look at the data in 3d, as well as update the 3dd and tope layer in the mine plan.

posted on Nov, 11 2015 @ 04:26 AM

originally posted by: Macenroe82
a reply to: Rosinitiate

Oh also, ya if it crashes on surface i will collect the debris. But if its unsalvageable then ill just get another.

If you are reliant upon 3rd party software and the differences are negligible, I always go with the company with better tech support and engages in weekly, bi-weekly or monthly analysis of the uploaded data (especially if it's the 3rd party softwares reporting being used). The fact the rep came in and walked you through everything is great and if it suits your needs even better, but what happens after you purchase the software, will they still be around when you need them? What are their goals in the next 5 years? How longs the contract, is there a contract?

sojnds like you needn't take it further than the mapping software and the phantom3 until it gets its feet wet.

It would be cool if you could upload a video of a survey and show how it improves efficiency. Inquiring minds and all that.

posted on Nov, 11 2015 @ 05:58 AM
a reply to: Rosinitiate

For the Agisoft professional edition, they want $3500
a snip from the website:
"PhotoScan license is NOT time-limited. PhotoScan license includes 12 month of e-mail based technical support and entitles the licensee to free updates of the software up to the version 1.9.x "

They also offer on site training which is what i will go with. Have them come here for 3 days, walk me through the functions and while i take notes.
As for my job, our mine is one of the largest producers of Platinum and palladium in the world. We have recently had our mine life upgraded to 25 more years from a new mining method. That is of course dependant on the market. Weve had a large spike in demand from companies that got caught in the emissions scandal ie - Volkswagon, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi.
As long as the world needs catalytic converters we will be doing just fine lol.

I have some sample data that we took of the live ore stock pile. Its in a nice PDF its 39 MB. Its a break down of what we took with the drone, the area it focused on, the volumes, height, location. If you have a way i can send it to you, then your more than welcome to put some eye balls on it.

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