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Why Location Intelligence and Drones Go Hand-in-Hand

May 20, 2019
Data Visualization, Location Intelligence
By: Ishveena Singh

The FAA is convinced that the use of industrial drones could triple between 2019 and 2023. Clearly, the commercial drone market is growing much faster than anybody could have anticipated.

In its just-released Aerospace Forecast for 2019-2039, the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration had to rewrite its predictions for the commercial drone industry. While the officials expected the sector to grow by a solid 44% in 2018, the actual growth amounted to an even more impressive 170%.

Drone Surveying | Location Intelligence and Drones

Who is Using Drones?

Drone delivery programs receive the majority of the media limelight because they are directly linked to the consumer segment. However, the sectors where the adoption of drones has grown substantially in the last few years include mining, precision agriculture, telecommunications, utilities, oil and gas, property & casualty insurance, and even public safety.

Surveying and inspection activities are arguably the biggest application areas for drone technology. Any industry that requires precise location data points or imagery for its services can use drones to make their workflows much more time- and cost-efficient.

For example, measuring stockpile volume is a critical requirement for any mining site. But, the manual method of stockpile measurement is expensive, time-consuming, and unsafe for the surveyor on the ground. Using drones, however, enables mining sites to capture volumetric data on stockpiles and survey their operations safely, quickly, and conveniently from the air.

Similarly, for the insurance industry, using commercial drones translates into better risk management through improved data collection. Overall operational costs also go down due to increased efficiency and effectiveness in the handling of claims.

When Allstate, one of the largest insurance providers in the United States, started using drones for home inspection activities, it was able to bring down the time it takes to issue a repair estimate after a customer reports damage from 11 days to 4.5 days. This reduction in time enables the company to serve its policyholders faster and address more claims in the amount of time it would normally take to process a single one.

How Location Intelligence Supplements the Use of Drones

As valuable data collection devices, drones are increasingly being seen as a replacement for static Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. The georeferenced imagery and 3D point clouds acquired by these unmanned aerial systems have proven to create a significant impact on multiple industry verticals.

But as is the case with any big data, the photogrammetry and mapping data collected by drones needs to be transferred, curated, analyzed, visualized, stored, and shared in a manner which provides actionable information to the user.

This is where a location intelligence platform comes into the picture, offering several ways to make drone data more accessible, useful, and valuable. By enabling native integration of drone and non-drone data within one common cloud-hosted platform, a robust location intelligence application helps to analyze and visualize aerial datasets in a manner that fully unlocks their potential.

Using Location Intelligence to Contextualize Drone Data

Not every user is trained in geographical information system (GIS) technologies or knows how to operate complex (and expensive) image processing software packages. This is why our map-based real estate application, LandVision™, is designed to cater to different levels of technical proficiencies without compromising on the output. Suitable for non-GIS and technical business users alike, LandVision enables unparalleled access to on-demand, map-ready data and imagery for a wide range of business processes.

Data visualization tools acquire new information from thousands of data sources, which allows them to provide custom data layers for more complex applications. These applications empower businesses to easily consume drone-collected data in the form of rich, interactive reports that can be shared across departments readily.  

With drones operating under stringent government regulations because of safety and privacy risks, a location intelligence platform also acts as a supplementary policy adherence mechanism. Apart from ensuring the security and reliability of data, strong location intelligence platforms provide for full access control, i.e., who sees what and when.

What Makes the DMP Location Intelligence Platform Different

The intersection of IoT and location intelligence is organic. While drones are generating massive amounts of data, this data is only actionable and valuable upon analysis. We empower our customers outside of the GIS department to visualize their drone-acquired data alongside the property and location data available in LandVision out of the box. By spatially visualizing this big data, LandVision helps our customers convert data into institutional knowledge that can be used to create more efficient operations and make more confident business decisions.

Inside the GIS department, our location technology and data solutions can also help contextualize drone-collected data. The same nationwide parcel database, SmartParcels®, and additional map-ready content that are available in LandVision can be streamed into Esri ArcGIS and other third-party applications using SpatialStream®, our comprehensive suite of web services and APIs. Using SpatialStream ensures that as records are updated in our database, our customers receive the latest content within their applications. For larger data projects, such as complex planning models or the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, SmartParcels is also available via onsite delivery.

Schedule a free demo today to receive an in-depth walkthrough of LandVision from one of our account executives. You can also contact us for additional information on our location intelligence platform!

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