Cut & Fill Calculations: Why Technology is a Game Changer for Dirt Moving Companies

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Guide to Drone Series: How We Choose the Right Tool

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By Andrew Maximow, Chief Drone Officer.

At Firmatek, we believe in using the right tool for the right job. Utilizing the best technology available helps ensure that we can equip our clients with the business intelligence that they need to improve their operations. In order to deliver on that objective, Firmatek evaluates our client’s site needs and develops an action plan. A one-size-fits-all solution in our industry isn’t practical, so we work with our clients to determine the best tool for precise and efficient data collection.

We frequently get asked about the drones or UAVs that we use.  What is the best drone? Why do you use such-and-such vendor?  The answers to those common questions vary. It depends on the particular customer problem we are trying to solve, the insights, the technical deliverables, and several other key factors.  Those other factors include the type of data being collected, data accuracy, and other aspects such as environmental conditions, mobility, simplicity, etc.  Oh, and of course, the cost!  Part of my responsibility as CDO is to utilize technology that delivers high quality results for our clients in a mutually beneficial way for Firmatek.

There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all drone that has all of the desired characteristics of an ideal payload, flight time, ease of use, and affordability. Each user, even within the same industry, has his or her own needs and preferences. This presents a complex problem that is compounded by the speed of innovation.  There are a handful of dominant players but there is no shortage of product development by established players and startups— especially in the data acquisition, navigation, software and analytics space.  Consider this, there’s a new software/app/portal product announcement roughly every 4-6 weeks. Based on a recent count, there are no less than 30 LiDAR sensor vendors.  Granted, much of the innovation is driven by the self-driving car industry, but relevant to UAVs.  So, how does Firmatek navigate this complexity and make sound technology and product decisions?  How do we work with vendors and pick the right UAV for the right job?  I’ll break it down in this blog post and others to follow.

First of all, Firmatek is not a drone company.  We’re not an OEM, nor are we a systems integrator. We are not tied down to a specific technology or product.  We are a services company that provides insights based on analytics derived from a variety of data collection tools, including UAVs.  Our services-led, technology-enabled approach allows us to be hardware agnostic, constantly evaluating a plethora of commercially available, off the shelf (COTS) HW/SW platforms. We prefer simplicity and therefore lean towards COTS products with clear product road-maps that tend to support innovation and avoid obsolescence.

Let’s cut through the complexity by explaining how our services-led, technology-enabled approach simplifies the UAV evaluation and product selection process.

If we consider the commercial UAV space as four primary markets, we can quickly narrow down the platforms & products supporting Firmatek’s primary industries of mining/aggregates, landfill, and construction. The four primary markets are:

1) Reality Capture, 3D Mapping

2) Public Safety

3) Inspection

4) Professional Video/Photo, Cinematography

For the markets that Firmatek serves, we need the UAVs that excel in the Reality Capture/3D Mapping market. Insights, deliverables, and measurements in this market need to be geospatially accurate, demanding a particular type of payload and camera spec, positioning system, and autonomy (more on these criteria in a future blog post). There are very few UAVs that do Reality Capture/3D Mapping well because of these requirements.

While these requirements are constant across all types of work that we perform, there are differences based on the type of work. We have a few different business models and types of work that we perform at Firmatek: production-oriented, special projects, and R&D.

The majority of our work is based on frequently recurring mapping projects. These production-oriented projects require a high volume of consistent and repeatable data collection.  For this type of work, we enable some of our clients to fly/collect their own data and upload to Firmatek. This allows them to utilize a robust UAV system that is easy to use, purpose built, and autonomous with minimal configuration while still being inexpensive to operate. It also provides our clients with the flexibility they need.

By contrast, special projects and R&D require specialized UAVs. These special projects may be unique because of their size and scope or because of the type of sensor needed to accomplish the job.

Usually, the customer’s site size dictates the type of UAV. Based on roughly 2,500 projects performed last year, we can group them in categories of small (less than 200 acres), medium (200-500 acres) and large (more than 500 acres.)

As we examine the data, there is a correlation between production-oriented projects and small/medium sized sites. These types of projects, while still requiring high accuracy, are mostly flown by our clients. All factors considered, the logical choice is a small, inexpensive multi-rotor UAV that delivers repeatable, accurate results when combined with some form of ground control.

Medium and large projects often times have special technical requirements or challenging environmental constraints that dictate a fixed-wing UAV rather than the quadcopter we typically recommend for the smaller sites. One of the advantages of a these types of UAVs is that it can fly for longer, and therefore it does a better job and is more efficient covering these larger areas.

As you begin to consider your options think about asking yourself these questions:

  1. What type of information am I looking to get from a UAV?
  2. What are the requirements for achieving this information? What sensors? What level of accuracy?
  3. Will I be performing repetitive work or one-off projects?
  4. How large of an area will I need to fly?
  5. What is my skill level (or my pilot’s)? How complex do I want my solution to be?

Determining the right tool for the right job is dependent on a number of factors that are unique to your operation and your projects. When choosing a UAV platform, we consider the particular customer problem we are trying to solve, the insights needed, and the technical deliverables requested. Providing quality data efficiently has always been a priority for the Firmatek team. We are a services-led, technology enabled company, which enables us to evaluate many types of hardware and find the best one for the job at hand. We will continue to strive be a trusted advisor to our clients and thought leaders in our industry.

In a future blog post we’ll dive deeper into why we choose specific UAV products at Firmatek.

The Women of Firmatek and Their Industry Involvement

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As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we want to reflect on the purpose this designated recognition serves in our society. March is a month to appropriately honor and recognize the value that women create in the workplace and in our communities. At Firmatek, we see the importance in recognizing the role each employee plays in our continuing success, and this month, we want to highlight the women of Firmatek.

Firmatek provides a lot of services in male-dominated industries, such as Mining, Construction, and Technology. Despite the unique challenges that women face in male-dominated industries, many women are thriving in these fields.  The women of Firmatek are no exception.

While stats for our industry may not be great, for example less than 6 percent of FAA certified drone pilots are women and less than 10 percent of the construction industry is made up of women, there are a few organizations working to increase the number of women in our industries and celebrate our successes. Women Who Drone and International Women in Mining are two examples. For our part, we were excited to welcome four new women to our operations and sales teams recently. These women bring great experience and new perspectives to our team.

Here’s what they have to say about why they are excited to be a part of Firmatek and working in the industries we serve:

Kate Steger, Business Development Representative

“Working in a male-dominated industry, it is great to work with so many other hard-working women within the company. Firmatek does a great job allowing every one of our voices to be heard in order to help continuously improve our processes and overall structure. As we continue to expand our markets and expertise, I am proud to tell clients who I represent, what we’re doing, and where we are headed.”

 

Sarah Olivares, Geospatial Data Processor

“I look forward to coming into work every day because I know the value of what we are accomplishing as a team. It’s my first time working in this specific industry. Prior to this, I was in construction. It’s nice to see where our materials come from and how important it is to know how much is going in and out. Being a part of a company that efficiently aids in that knowledge process is personally satisfying.”

 

Ashely Arnold, Geospatial Field Technician

“What I love about getting to work for Firmatek is that it provides me with a sense of freedom that I have not gotten in any other job or opportunity.”

 

 

 

Erin Jean, Geospatial Field Technician

“I enjoy working at Firmatek because of the people. Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming. Working in this industry is great because every day is something new— whether it is being in a new place, facing new problems, or learning new technologies. Being a woman in this field proves difficult in many ways, so overcoming every obstacle becomes that much more rewarding.”

 

Kelli Kersey, Office Manager

“Working in this industry is amazing because of all the new techniques and new technology that has evolved since I started in this business 15 years ago. The people at Firmatek are so fun that you can’t help but love working here.”

 

By building communities within our companies and our  industries, we can get more women excited about careers in Mining, Engineering, Construction, and Drones.  Women in our industry can also become the role models and inspiration for the next generation. We can encourage them to follow their passions and jump into STEM careers, like mine planning and drone piloting. You can read about some of the inspirational women doing this today on Women and Drones.

We come from diverse backgrounds, and we play different roles in the company, but we all love the work we do and are excited to be a part of this industry. The women of Firmatek play an important part in the success of Firmatek, and we are glad that they have chosen to share their talents with us!

Main image by Guinn Partners.

 

Blog Series: What’s Your Why, Lauren Elmore

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By Lauren Elmore, President of Firmatek.

We all have something that drives us, as individuals and as companies. Knowing our why drives our decision-making and helps us live fulfilled lives. It helps us be our best selves. It helps us communicate to clients, to our families, and our communities, the reasons behind our actions. A purpose helps us make decisions about what to do and what not to do.

Many of you have probably seen Simon Sinek’s, Start with Why Ted Talk where he explains the Golden Circle. I love it because it is a really simple way to show why having a “why” is so important. While it is focused on companies and what drives decision making, the same is true for individuals. We need to be able to know and communicate our why, and ultimately our purpose.

We are at our best when we are living and working within that purpose.

At Firmatek, we are focusing on our purpose a lot this year. Why do we exist in this industry that is constantly getting flooded with new technology and new competition? Where is our place in it? What do we believe? We believe that our client’s ever-changing environments has a dramatic impact on their operational success and can make decision-making difficult. We are here to provide our clients with insights and confidence that will help them improve their operational efficiencies. We are here to support our clients so that they can make decisions that keep our world moving forward.

As we begin to focus on company purpose, it is also important to understand how each one of us fits into that. At Firmatek, I want to be focused on not just our company “why” but on how each one of us contributes to the organization and the company purpose by knowing our own unique why. I believe Firmatek, and all companies, are better off when each of us is living our why.

While some peoples’ why might be around our industry or technology, for most of us at Firmatek, it’s not. I strongly believe in the clients we serve and the technology we use to do it. We really couldn’t live without them and it is a joy to be able to serve them. But mining, solid waste, construction, and drones are not my unique purpose.

My purpose statement is a work in progress, and I think will continue to be reworked over the years. However, I’m confident in its core ideas. My purpose is to lead others into the arenas of life, and together build fulfilled lives. I’m passionate about building teams and organizations. It’s one of my favorite things to think about and create – how do we build this organization or this team? How can I provide the structures and environment to do that?

And this is what I get to do on a daily basis. It doesn’t specifically have anything to do with mining or mapping or data analysis or drones or really anything that Firmatek provides its clients. It does specifically relate to my role as President, my role in my family, and my role with other organizations that I engage with.

Each and every day, I have the opportunity to think about how we are building Firmatek and how we are creating an organization that is living its purpose, and hopefully where our people can find and live their own purpose.

Everyone has their own purpose that they need to find and fulfill. My passion is building organizations and partnerships where we can do that together. Where we can not only do business together, but also build fulfilled lives together.

So… What’s Your Why?

Use Technology to Avoid Common Stockpile Measuring Mistakes

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By Lauren Elmore. Published in Aggregates Manager.

Stockpile measurements are an integral part of running a successful aggregates business. Operating efficiency and profits depend on stockpile measurements, yet many aggregates operations are guilty of making numerous common mistakes.

Leaders in the aggregates industry know their business, but they don’t generally know the ins and outs of the technology used to measure it. Gathering data can be extremely complex, and a skilled professional can find and address issues in order to deliver the best results possible. To keep everything moving forward in an organization, working with a service company is one of the most effective solutions for gathering and processing data into a usable form.

Stockpile measurements aren’t 100 percent perfect, but operators should focus on making accuracy one of their top priorities. With a more refined picture of stockpiles, an operator can base decisions on sound data instead of deceptive estimates, improving efficiency and boosting profit margins. To solve some of the most common measurement problems, keep the following strategies in mind.

1. Choose the right technology for your needs.

To manage resources, an operator has to measure them accurately. Depending on the types of technologies used, operations are often left with incomplete data sets. They may not be able to measure the entire pile, which means they need to make assumptions that will affect decisions down the road.

The best way to obtain accurate measurements is to use the right mix of technology. For most sites, a drone or a mix of terrestrial LIDAR and drones will be a good mix. However, if the operator has a very large site (more than 5,000 acres), aircraft-based LIDAR or photogrammetry may be a good option to collect accurate data.

2. Measure consistently.

Infrequent measurements that are only made once or twice per year can also contribute to errors in inventory, and these mistakes will impact operations and sales.

In the aggregates industry, quarries and yards are dynamic environments. Huge machines are capable of moving thousands of tons of material in a single day. Over the course of weeks and months, entire landscapes can change, rendering previous measurements obsolete.

Quarterly or monthly measurements are a good starting point for most operations. Some operations that move a lot of material may need to measure as frequently as weekly in order to obtain a strong understanding of the material they have on the ground.

3. Make adjustments instead of corrections.

Many operations simply correct numbers when they find an inconsistency in measurements. While updating the books to reflect reality is a necessary step, it also fails to take into account the source of the problem.

Instead, adjustments must be made to determine why numbers are off so that the inconsistency doesn’t continue to manifest itself. Density numbers are a frequent source of error — if the density is off by even a tenth of a ton per cubic yard, the inventory measurement may be woefully inaccurate.

Data is revolutionizing our world, and the aggregates industry is no different. Innovative measurement techniques have led to improvements in safety, accuracy, and affordability, encouraging industry leaders to view consistent stockpile measurements as an investment instead of a cost. Accurate measurements give organizations the confidence to make good decisions, ultimately leading to better business outcomes.


Getting Up to Speed on our New Drone Tech

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By Dallas VanZanten, Operations Manager.

At Firmatek, we strive to remain on the forefront of innovation and technology. If you’ve read any of our previous blogs, you know we talk a lot about providing insights to our clients. We are constantly researching and testing new tech that we think is beneficial to our services. We want to equip our clients with the business intelligence they need to improve their operation. Making sure that we have the best technology available – the right tool for the right job – helps us ensure that we can do that. Providing the best in precise and efficient data collection continues to be a top priority for the Firmatek team.

With this in mind, we recently had a field technician training day where we introduced our team to two new members of our drone family. During our All Company Meeting last month, our field team got together for basic training on the DJI P4P RTK with Base Station and the FireFly6 Pro drone.

To take proper care of our drones, we’ve teamed up with GO Professional Cases.

DJI’s Phantom 4 Pro with RTK is a drone that we are deploying both internally and to our clients this year. The upgrade to the P4P gives our team and our clients the same easy to fly system that we have come to love from DJI, and in addition gives us a much more robust system. The addition of RTK will save both our team and our clients significant amounts of time in the field, because with the RTK system, there is no need to establish ground control points. Overall, this new drone will simplify data collection for our team and our clients. The ease of use and the increased accuracy without the need for ground control makes this platform a great option for many of our mining clients.

“The DJI P4P RTK (or P4R for short) platform is major upgrade to the Phantom 4 Pro UAV system that Firmatek has been using successfully, in conjunction with ground control for accurate 3D mapping applications. The P4R is fully integrated with a DJI base station that operates in RTK mode, virtually eliminating the need for manual ground control. When the base is placed over a known control point, the images are automatically geo-referenced in real time. The P4R works in VRS and PPK modes as well,” said Andrew Maximow, Chief Drone Officer.

Along with the DJI P4P RTK training, we also showcased our FireFly 6 Pro. It’s a Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) drone that also uses RTK for precise mapping. With a VTOL drone, you get the convenience of a vertical take-off, like a standard quadcopter, and the efficiency of a fixed wing drone. The combination of these features makes the FireFly 6 a great platform for many of our large mapping projects.

Our field techs weighed in on the effectiveness of the FireFLY and here’s what they had to say:

“The FireFLY is a remarkably speedy drone. It’s VTOL capabilities allow us to map large areas with the speed and efficiency of a fixed wing, while allowing us to take off and land from areas that previously would not be possible,” said Isaac Chantos, Geospatial Field Technician.

“The FireFLY’s modular payload system allows us to not only obtain imagery, but scan with a variety of sensors,” said Justin Real, Geospatial Field Technician.

Introducing new technology into our fleet comes with the necessity to understand and update work flows, learn new processes, and create new Standard Operating Procedures. We know that while there are a lot of similarities, each piece of equipment has its own quirks. That’s one of the reasons we took some time to get everyone on the team an introduction to the new equipment.

Training is an important part of setting up our team and our clients for success. It is critical for our team to have the skills to succeed. If we just give them the tool, but don’t give them knowledge to use it, we are not going to be successful. In addition, training gives our team the opportunity to gain skills and grow as professionals. We give them the knowledge to raise the bar.

At Firmatek, we believe in using the right tool for the job.  Training our team to utilize new technology not only gives them the tools they need to succeed, but also allows them to better serve our clients.

We are a services-led and tech-enabled company. We need to give our team and our clients the best technology, and we need to be prepared to deploy it successfully. Training days like these allow our team to familiarize themselves with the technology, understand what each piece of technology is best suited for, and prepare to serve and support our clients. We are already deploying this new technology both internally and to clients and look forward to continuing to add new tools to our toolbox in 2019.

Photo credit: Guinn Partners.

Drone Case Partnership with GPC Custom Cases.

FireFLY6 Pro drone from BirdsEyeView Aerobotics.

DJI Phantom 4 with RTK

The Solution is Sky High

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By Mark S. Kuhar. Published in Rock Products.

ROGERS GROUP EMBRACES TECHNOLOGICAL EFFICIENCY WITH FIRMATEK’S ENTERPRISE DRONE SOLUTIONS.

Rogers Group Inc. is the seventh largest producer of crushed stone in the United States, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Headquartered in Nashville, Rogers Group has quarry operations across the Midwest and Southern states.

Rogers Group began using San Antonio-headquartered Firmatek for annual inventory measurements in 2017, and it has since rolled out an Enterprise Drone Solutions Program in partnership with the company.

Firmatek’s technology has given Rogers Group a solution to many inventory management problems, thus allowing the company to focus its time and effort in other areas of its operations. The approach to adapting new technology has also improved the company’s culture of innovation.

Traditional Measurement

Prior to working with Firmatek in 2017, Rogers Group managed its inventory with annual flyovers in combination with proper belt scale and loadout scale calibrations. While that may have kept them in the ballpark, most day-to-day decisions were based off of visual inspections. While this was a valid approach years ago, technology now enables companies like Rogers Group to get accurate inventory numbers on a much more frequent basis.

The goal is to have the products that customers need, when they need them. However, with old technology and infrequent measurements, it is a guessing game. Newer technology can provide a cost-effective way to have better business intelligence on which to base decisions.

Inventory numbers are critical to being an effective supplier of aggregates, as with all commodities. It is important for those making decisions to have an accurate inventory number on which they can base their decisions. Key decisions like, what products to produce and what the balance of products should be in a market area, are critical to maintaining relationships and preferred supplier status in the marketplace.

Rogers Group Out in Front

While many companies in the industry have been exploring drone solutions for inventory measurement and management, Rogers Group is among the first to successfully implement an enterprise-wide program.

Rogers Group partnered with Firmatek to tackle this program. Internally, Rogers Group has committed to improving their technological efficiencies. Their initial focus was in the inventory management sector.

“Rogers Group has always utilized an aerial solution for inventory, but not the management piece,” said Jared Nix, , director of corporate quality control for Rogers Group. “We needed the capability to acquire real-time measurement at the frequency that works best for us. Drones have given us that option.”

Firmatek worked with Rogers Group to develop an enterprise program that worked for them. The two worked together to develop custom forms, emails and approval processes to meet all of Rogers Groups internal requirements and create an easy and efficient process in order to promote adoption.

At Rogers Group, you need approval from the strategic market area vice president and the director of corporate quality. Rogers Group also has a Risk Management department that gets a form from Firmatek so that they can track the drones and manage their risk easily. That’s the administrative side. There is also an onboarding and training process. Firmatek worked with another provider to run a two-day training session to get a number of pilots up and running quickly.

“Drones fit in our strategy by being another tool for our toolbox of continuous process improvement,” Nix said. “Technology, especially in our industry, has and continues to rapidly evolve over the years. We do our best to stay on the cutting edge and I feel that drone use helps maintain that innovative culture.”

Rogers Group currently has about 15 pilots utilizing 11 drones across the company. Once they have their FAA Part 107 license, Firmatek ships them a drone and they start flying when it is convenient.

Rogers Group requests everything from inventory measurements to ortho photos to pit progressions. Instead of one measurement a year, they are measuring monthly. These frequent measurements help keep the inventory numbers accurate throughout the year and enable them to make more informed business decisions.

“We follow all FAA regulations regarding airspace and flight safety,” Nix said. “We also respect our neighbor’ privacy and confine the flight parameters to our own property. However, we have also provided the drone service to the community during fundraisers and other community outreach activities.”

Why Firmatek

There are a number of drone providers offering products and services to the aggregates industry. Rogers Group chose Firmatek because Firmatek’s innovative, forward-thinking approach to technology complimented its own ideas.

In addition, “It’s simple, fast, accurate, accommodating and most importantly exhaustive,” Nix said. “Firmatek refuses to consider a project deliverable complete until we are completely satisfied with the end product.”

The company has a unique history. Founded in 1988, Firmatek pioneered the use of lasers to measure stockpiles. Since then, it has continued to bring new technology into the aggregate mining industry, revolutionizing the way data is captured and analysis and insights are provided to the industry. In addition to introducing laser measurement to the industry, the company also pioneered mobile LiDAR as a tool to capture data. 

With that history of innovation, Firmatek continues that legacy today. They are a national leader in drone solutions for the aggregate mining industry, providing enterprise drone solutions to the largest producers in the country. Firmatek also recently launched their software development department, showing their continued commitment to offering the industry better tools and ways to visualize their data and gain insights and business intelligence from the data.

New Technology

Rogers Group recognizes the importance of embracing technology in this industry, and the company is committed to improving its use and commitment to technological efficiency. The company knows that technology will continue to impact its work, and will see that impact growing exponentially.

The aggregate industry is constantly evolving, demanding more from technology. For example, the workforce is changing, demanding industry-wide innovation, and the speed of information availability is increasing, demanding more from technology.

Rogers Group is excited about the new opportunities that drone technology brings to their organization regarding mine planning, construction and even training. Firmatek is working with Rogers Group to continue to develop new applications and ways to incorporate drones into their operations.

“Firmatek is a service organization, and we enjoy partnering with clients to find solutions,” said Lauren Elmore, president of Firmatek. “In fact, in September we worked with two clients, including Rogers Group, doing on-site presentations and working sessions to continue to develop new solutions and educate the organizations about the technology and how to use it effectively.”

So what does the future hold?

“The sky is the limit, pun intended,” Nix said. “One of the strongest appeals to me for drone use is its untapped potential. I am constantly being asked by folks within Rogers Group, ‘can we use the drone for this, or for that?’”

And almost every time the “this” is a new concept and the answer ends up being, “yes.”

What Growth in the Drone Industry Means for Firmatek for 2019

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By Andrew Maximow, Chief Drone Officer.

What does “growth in the drone industry” mean to Firmatek in 2019?

The challenge for measuring growth in the drone industry, like many nascent technologies, is identifying what to measure and how to quantify.  This is especially true in the commercial/enterprise sector where the only available metrics are the number of Part-107 licenses being issued and to some degree, the number of drones being shipped.  If the rate of new Part-107 licenses being issued is declining, does that mean that overall growth in the drone industry is declining? At Firmatek, we don’t believe that is the case.

While the consumer drone market is mature and possibly saturated, we believe that mass adoption for commercial/enterprise applications is still ahead of us. In 2019, there will be a gradual transition from early adopters to an early majority, at least in the industries that we support.  While we experienced a major increase in Part-107 licenses, pilots, and drones in 2018, the key observation was a greater utilization of those pilots and drones in terms of frequency and demand for incremental value-added deliverables. The drones that were deployed were used more often and more creatively to collect different types of data.  The consensus among our clients is, “You can’t manage it if you can’t measure it.” Thereby driving the demand for data analysis from an annual/quarterly auditing requirement to a monthly and weekly inventory management best practice. The regular use of drones for 3D mapping prompted the question, “What else can I use my drone for?” This unlocks a plethora of additional use-cases including site planning, change detection, equipment monitoring, and underground inspection, just to name a few. In 2019, we see this trend catching on with the early majority of customers driving the demand for more data analysis. This in turn will drive additional demand for pilots and drones.

How does Firmatek plan to facilitate pent up demand and drive growth in the drone industry?  

Our plan is 3-fold:

1) Services-led, technology-enabled approach.  

 Drone technology in the commercial/enterprise sector is still in the nascent stage with new innovation in drone hardware, software, systems, and analytics being developed and introduced at a rapid pace. Early adopters and the early majority of clients will need guidance and help to implement these technologies in a meaningful way that helps solve real-world business problems.

2) Put the tools in the hands of our clients.  

It is becoming easier and easier to fly missions and collect data with basic drones.  Enabling clients to plan missions, fly, and collect data empowers them to fly where ever, when ever, and as often as they like.  This drives frequency and the demand for more data analytics.

3) Drive incremental value-added services.  

Drone manufacturers are responding to the needs of commercial/enterprise clients with new types of sensors, integrated RTK/PPK platforms, and new way of analyzing data. During 2019, Firmatek will be actively working on testing new drones, new sensors, and software in addition to the deliverables generated by 3D mapping requirements.

Firmatek will continue as a trusted advisor to its clients with service as a priority and technology as an enabler towards providing insights and building business intelligence.  If we do that well and guide our clients through the complexities of the technology, the growth will come.

Case Study: Integrating Geospatial Data, LiDAR, Drones,GPS & CAD for Landfills

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by Caleb Cass PE, Director of Engineering.

With the recent innovations brought about in drone technology, procuring and using digital geospatial data is quickly becoming a necessary and valuable commodity. This paper will look into the geospatial data that is collected and produced for the operation, permitting, tracking, and planning of solid waste sites. This includes technologies such as laser (Lidar) scanning, drone photogrammetry and Lidar, GPS surveying, and digital design les produced in programs like AutoCAD and Microstation. All of these digital data types are important for managing landfill operations and planning activities. However, there is still confusion surrounding digital data and how it can be used. Asset owners, consultants, and service providers all seek clarity about different types of digital data and how they can be used in conjunction with each other and integrated to provide useful information, track metrics and produce deliverables.

Readers will gain a basic understanding of geospatial concepts related to landfills, including coordinate systems and the importance of survey control. They will also learn the differences and similarities between data formats and for what they are effectively used for. Finally, we will go over the need for and process of combining data from various vendors and different technologies to produce actionable results.

Click here to download the full case study by Caleb Cass PE, Firmatek Director of Engineering.