Sumac Geomatics leads over 250 drone operators through the principles of dependable surveying and mapping practices

In September, a team from Sumac Geomatics was invited to lead a workshop on surveying and mapping to a diverse range of professionals at Interdrone 2017 in Las Vegas.  Attended by over 250 conference delegates, Sumac’s presenters outlined considerations at each stage of a surveying or mapping project that ensure that a service provider’s deliverable can be relied upon.

Survey and mapping overview; Products and procedures

Presenting the workshop were Sumac’s business development consultant, Will Tompkinson of Insightful Dimensions, together with our own UAV Services Manager, Adam Bozcek.  The first part of the workshop provided an overview of the types of sensors used on UAV survey and mapping projects, and the types of mapping products that can be delivered.  We also led discussion on the types of qualifications and skillsets required to produce dependable survey or mapping related products.

Ever since commercial UAV operations became viable, there has been considerable discussion at UAV events regarding regulations related to flying UAVs themselves.  Understandably, given the ease at which UAVs can capture aerial photographs, together with intuitive software to georeference photographs or generate standard products such as digital elevation models, UAV operators have been keen to start offering mapping services.  However, due to these advancements in mapping technologies, it can be easy to overlook the skills and experiences required to deliver data that can be relied on by the end client.  Having operated UAV mapping services for over 5 years, Sumac team has developed protocols that cover the skillsets of its team members, the procedures collecting the UAV survey and mapping data in the field, and the quality assurance processes that underpin the production of client deliverables back in the office.  It is these experiences that we wanted to convey to the Interdrone audience.

Detailed technical examples

During the second half of our presentation, Adam provided a step-by-step account of how Sumac minimises error at every stage of the mapping process.  This included reviewing how decisions made at each stage can influence quality of the product delivered to the client.  Adam’s presentation did not just show abstract examples on presentation slides, the discussion was backed-up by real examples, using real data, presented live within AgiSoft’s Photoscan software.  Adam illustrated how decisions such as “how to define the base of a stock pile” can have a big impact on results provided to a client.  This is the reason why within our production procedures at Sumac, we use automation where appropriate, but do not substitute the skills of our team when key decisions need to be made on how best to process data.

During the day, Adam was inundated with questions from UAV practitioners wanting to find out more; with many commending his transparency and openness when describing Sumac’s experiences and how we best achieve our results.

How can Sumac Geomatics help you?

Sumac is one of the most experienced UAV survey and mapping operators in Canada, if not North America.  We learned the hard-way about how best to undertake successful UAV operations since the early days of using these technologies in a commercial context.  We also benefit from experience built over the past 20 years of providing Province-wide aerial interpretation and data processing services for the manned aerial photography industry.  Aside from providing a full list of services to clients in Canada, for anyone in North America or further afield, we provide advisory services on how best to start a UAV survey and mapping program.  In addition, with all our data processing undertaken in-house on a high capacity infrastructure we can also provide trusted data processing services to UAV operators to generate survey and mapping products that clients can rely upon.