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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Coming Soon: Site Scan Esri Edition

September 12th, 2018 by Susan Smith

3DR, the creators of Site Scan, announced recently it has entered into a partnership with Esri, to develop Site Scan Esri Edition, a customized version of its full end-to-end Site Scan product. Esri product manager for Drone2Map for ArcGIS and Full Motion Video Cody Benkelman spoke with GISCafe Voice about the upcoming development and the Site Scan Esri Edition.

“Site Scan Esri Edition is an app focused exclusively on providing flight planning,” said Benkelman. “something Esri does not provide, and our customers have been requesting.”

The Esri Site Scan Edition app is designed to be used with Esri’s Drone2Map for ArcGIS software for post processing in ArcGIS, and full drone project mission planning for transferring drone captured data into the Esri ArcGIS ecosystem. There is also drone processing capability within ArcGIS Pro called “orthomapping.” Users of Site Scan Esri Edition will also be able to process data in ArcGIS Pro through the orthomapping workflow.

Site Scan Esri Edition will allow you to do the flight planning and it will connect directly to ArcGIS Online, and can work well for the enterprise user as many organizations already have a lot of their own data available on ArcGIS Online.

“They’ll have their own field boundaries, site boundaries, vectors along power lines or other linear features, and much of that data will already be accessible on ArcGIS Online,” said Benkelman. “Site Scan Esri Edition will allow those users to connect directly to ArcGIS Online via the internet. They can drop ArcGIS Online layers directly into the flight planning process.”

Benkelman said that Site Scan Esri Edition is good for both enterprise users or those who are only using a drone once or twice a year. Through ArcGIS Online you have access to a vast amount of existing data, such as the USDA NAIP imagery, Landsat and Sentinel 2 imagery, FAA flight maps, weather data, worldwide terrain data, etc. Users can also access custom data layers from the user’s FedRAMP authorized ArcGIS Online organization account as base and reference data for their drone flight planning mission.

In contrast, “Many ArcGIS users worldwide are increasing their use of the Site Scan existing product as ArcGIS is the end destination for a lot of drone data, so even if they’re using different drone hardware or different flight planning applications, a lot of that data ends up in ArcGIS Online or behind an organization’s firewall as proprietary data.”

The Site Scan Esri Edition is excellent for experienced GIS users who have limited experience in remote sensing, surveying and mapping.

“We’re seeing an increased awareness of the importance of surveying and mapping expertise and the importance of accuracy and good ground control,” said Benkelman. “We’ve targeted Drone2Map software toward the less experienced user in terms of photogrammetry and mapping expertise, and at the same time, targeted that at the vast number of GIS users that are out there. If you’re doing five to 10 drone projects a year, and drones are just another tool in the toolbox, then those folks may not reach into ArcGIS Online and realize the depth of data that is there. On the other hand, we’re seeing customers who are doing literally hundreds of drone flights every month. And data management becomes a significant issue. We’ve got solutions within the ArcGIS platform for efficient data management for thousands or tens of thousands of separate drone projects. Those users who focus more on drone operations as part of their everyday business, are more likely to know there’s a vast amount of data in ArcGIS Online and then go to the extra effort of finding and understanding that data and using it in either their flight planning process or somewhere downstream after drone collection is completed.”

This first release of Site Scan Esri Edition is strictly 3DR software, so Esri has not done any software development to contribute to this first product. Benkelman said flight planning is largely separate from the analytical work such as feature extraction from drone imagery. Users bring in drone data – whether imagery, digital surface models or point clouds, into ArcGIS to do analysis or data exploitation, as well as data management and data sharing.

Benkelman said that as the product manager for Drone2Map as well as full motion video capabilities, he sees three components to drone work:

  1. Processing of still frame imagery to generate the orthomosaic and points clouds that you get in Drone2Map.
  2. “There are other drone applications where video is preferred. If you’re flying along a pipeline, or right-of-way, that is typically done with a single flight line with video,” said Benkelman. “We have some users using drones but they’re not using Drone2Map, they’re using our Full Motion Video tools.”
  3. Data management can become a headache, if not properly planned. A lot of organizations with thousands of drone projects and millions of images benefit from having a data management system set up by Esri for their drone operations, both still frame and video.

While Esri users can use any drone currently supported by Site Scan, including a variety of DJI drones, Site Scan also supports a custom version of the Yuneec H520 commercial drone, which was announced simultaneously with the Site Scan Esri Edition. This drone is based on the Dronecode PX4 platform and certified by the U.S. government. It will be made from foreign components and assembled in the U.S. It is designed as an open and secure drone option for use on U.S. government projects, providing drone data security specific for government operations.

Site Scan Esri Edition is expected to be available at the end of September.

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Categories: analytics, ArcGIS, ArcGIS Online, ArcPad, Big Data, cloud, data, disaster relief, drones, Esri, field GIS, flight paths, geospatial, GIS, government, handhelds, mapping, public safety, remote sensing, satellite imagery, survey

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