Coal Age

OCT-NOV 2017

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28 October/November 2017 stockpiles continued from a trouble ticketing perspective, we are back in front of our customers literally within hours," Mathew said. The typical customer trials a subscrip- tion and then purchases additional ones afterward. "In most cases, what our cus- tomers are saying is, I love the experience, I want to double, triple the amount of us- age of Kespry subscription-based prod- ucts in the hands of our users," Mathew said. Oldcastle Materials is one such com- pany that started with a few subscriptions and ultimately ended up purchasing doz- ens, he said. Future plans for the offering target en- abling near-time continual auditing. "We know that getting accurate survey-grade quality information on what a mine to- pology site plan looks like within several hours of the data being collected is a big game changer," Mathew said. "We wanted to go after serving that market in terms of what they needed right now, but we totally agree that more near-time capability will be necessary in the future." DroneView Technologies Like others in the space, DroneView Tech- nologies specializes in turnkey packag- es. Each package, however, is unique to the customer and based on their specific needs, Michael Singer, CEO, said. "We bring together all of the component pieces coupled with subject matter expertise — not only drone expertise but also photo- grammetric processing and review capa- bility, survey expertise, AutoCAD and Civil 3-D expertise, and reporting and technol- ogy expertise," he said. "It is the combi- nation, availability and orchestration of these skills and resources that gets clients ultimately what they want." The company operates as a technolo- gy-enabled services provider and consul- tancy, Singer said. It begins each relation- ship by assessing the customer's existing operations and processes. "Before you get to a drone, the question we like to fo- cus on is what problem are you trying to solve, how they have solved that problem in the past, and is a drone the right tool to solve that problem," Singer said. "If we determine that a drone is the right tool, the question becomes what kind of equip- ment, what type of sensors would you fly to achieve whatever desired result." At that stage, DroneView determines if it will be doing "all the work on their be- half, which we do for many," Singer said. "The question then becomes what role, if any, do they want to play in this process, from defining what they want to achieve to delivering the final product." Sometimes the customer is equipped, trained and set to handle a particular phase of the workflow. "Others really just want the deliverable and want someone to do it on their behalf," Singer said. "Some- where in between, we've had what we call the 'hybrid model,' which is a combina- tion of the client and DroneView each per- forming some of the project tasks in order to achieve the desired result." That arrangement is often the case when DroneView is called in to consult a potential customer that has hit a road- block. "We've worked with companies that have possibly bought a drone but don't know how to get the highest and best val- ue from that, so we offer specialized train- ing," Singer said. "We offer solutions that help them achieve results." To that end, the company has preferred drone platforms it suggests, but those sug- gestions hinge on the expectations and ca- pabilities of the customer. "Depending on the size of the site and a few other factors, but predominately the size and the fre- quency, we'll have a point of view on what is the equipment platform that fits their environment best," Singer said. DroneView offers a cloud-based data and image processing and reporting plat- form. Or, depending on the circumstanc- es, it utilizes other available offerings, such as Pix4D, GlobalMapper, Agisoft and Vir- tual Surveyor. "We have some clients that use some third-party component resourc- es, and some that upload their images to our proprietary cloud platform for us to process on their behalf and deliver back the results, topography mapping, stock- pile volumetrics and the like," Singer said. "There have been instances where some- one used a third-party to develop some of those components and we do the finishing from there for quality assurance, quality checks, and then deliver from that the ulti- mate reporting of volumes and surfaces." If the customer seeks to incremental- ly take on more of the drone work, Singer said, the company offers the requisite spe- cialized training. Many of its staffers have more than 15 years of experience in the aerial mapping/geospatial services sec- tor, and draw on the lessons learned from hundreds of completed projects across 20 states, he said. "We counsel customers so that they benefit from learning from our current expertise." Thus, the training offered is often cen- tered on setting the customer on the path toward ownership of the components of the process, usually starting with local image acquisition, Singer said. "What we have found works best is to work through the first project start to finish using a third DroneView Technologies advises on which drones will provide the best results based on site specifics. Above, an image captured by a recommended drone. (Photo: DronevView Technologies)

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