By Brandon Blackburn, CEO and Co-Founder of Waypoint Global Strategies.
As the commercial UAS industry continues to evolve in the US, the number of platforms available seems to grow by the day. Everyone from aviation industry heavy hitters like Lockheed and Boeing to garage-based engineering hobbyists are looking to profit.
But whether you purchase a DIY kit off the shelf or procure a six-figure mega drone from an industry leader, no UAV will meet its full potential without a sound data collection plan in place.
As end users plan their unmanned aircraft programs the first question they should be asking is not “which model should I get?” but rather”what data do I want to collect?”
The Waypoint Global Strategies team makes this the foundation of its work as they help clients utilize UAS for everything from inspecting maritime assets in the Indian Ocean to tracking poaching networks in Africa. Having a comprehensive data collection plan in place ensures that UAS capabilities are fully maximized. And just as all UAVs are not created equal, neither are collection plans.
During a case study involving protecting rhinos from poachers in Africa, Waypoint’s Director of Applied Innovation Tom Snitch (who is also a professor at the University of Maryland’s Institute of Advanced Computer Studies) recognized having an unmanned aircraft airborne simply capturing images was not enough.
With this in mind, Snitch developed a collection plan that applied a mathematical forecasting model to the information collected from UAS flights that identifies the areas where the rhinos would be present during the most likely poaching times.
Doing so is estimated to decrease poaching by up to seventy percent in the African plains, a success that could not be achieved without having a sound plan in place.
The advantages of unmanned aircraft are numerous, and in many cases obvious. However, even with the benefits of lower operating costs, quicker response time, and low flying profiles, UAS will be ineffective without proper data collection.
As drones are becoming eyes in the sky, a successful collection plan will make sure the vision is clear.
Waypoint Global Strategies, Inc., is a strategy and technology firm delivering consulting, training, and analytics for clients in commercial industries and law enforcement currently using or seeking to integrate UAS into their daily operations. Waypoint Global Strategies is headquartered in Maitland, FL and has offices in Washington, DC. To request more information visit wayopintgs.com, call 1-844-200-0155, or e-mail directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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