If you’re about to enter the drone mapping business you will soon learn that buying a drone is just the beginning. The second part of the equation is data processing and sharing it in a convenient way with your client. And if you don’t do it full-time, it can be really costly.
Pix4D offer starts from $260 a month and DroneDeploy from $99 a month (DroneDeploy offers a free version but it’s very limited). It’s not a lot but enough to make you think twice about doing a commercial project with your semi-casual UAV.
Now there is a solution. As of today, PrecisionHawk offers its PrecisionMapper platform for free. It can be used to stitch together an orthophoto map from aerial data in both 2D and 3D, will now be free for up to 60 aerial surveys per year and a free data storage. In addition, users can add ground control points and access free analysis tools including volume calculations, 3D models, contour caps and multiple crop health indices, including NDVI. All these features will let you easily perform casual drone engagements without any additional cost and using it, is really easy and straight forward (we reviewed the PrecisionMapper software a couple of months ago).
With that move, PrecisionHawk is looking to activate thousands of potential prosumer drone owners. Free software might be indeed a game changer and a way to stimulate the market and make drone mapping services widely accessible. Cool!