Mapping the Pier
Drones are useful tools for many researchers, architects, emergency responders, and are adaptable to many different environments. The aerial imagery is generating insights to help us manage and collaborate on projects worldwide.
Today I started out with a simple mission: to map Crystal Pier and participate in the #12daysofmaps on twitter. I downloaded DroneDeploy on my iPad. From there I created a flight plan to survey the pier in the DroneDeploy App for iOS. Then I linked to AirMap.io so that I would have flight information at my fingertips. After checking the status of my equipment at home I packed up and headed to Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach.
Social innovation drives the quest for our mission at Alimosphere. We are here to establish a culture around the use of drones in around the world by preserving our wildlife and wildlands through research, education, and outreach. With a key message to reduce human-wildlife disturbance while focusing on using the technology for many new applications we know that mapping is one way we can make this happen.
On a side note regarding human-wildlife disturbance and mention the opportunities that are provided to us for free when we view wildlife from a pier. A pier has many advantages for reducing wildlife disturbances - one happens to be land-based whale-watching. Piers provide an amazing advantage for viewing birds, whales, dolphins, fishes (even sharks on occasion) without contributing to carbon emissions or creating noise pollution in the water. Go stand on a pier and look out to the horizon or under your feet. During the day or at night you can see a completely new species swimming around the pier
Once I got the pier my drone and equipment were ready to go. I made sure the blades were secure to the rotors, connected the battery, turned on the controller and launched DroneDeploy. The survey area came up on the iPad and I checked the preflight checklist. Once I had "green" checks I was ready to fly.
The drone rotors fired up and went straight up to the designated altitude of 150 feet. The approximate time for the flight over the 5.51 acres was 4:32 minutes. The drone flew to the start point and announced it was taking photographs. It completed the five passes for this particular survey and returned home. The Santa Ana winds are starting to come blow, so the survey took a bit longer returning at 5:45 mintues. Overall the transitions were smooth and the imagery is perfect.
The goal of this flight was to capture the christmas tree at the end of the pier. I was able to accomplish this simple task while using my drone autonomously. The application beyond for fun also shows that we can look at pier infrastrastructure before and after storm events to ensure integrity.
I suggest when doing infrastructure surveys on piers, it would be best to fly during low tide as to get the best images of the structure and reduce the amount of water variation.