How do I get mapping clients?

By | December 20, 2022

Today's show is about understanding the nuances of getting into drone mapping and the efforts required to be a successful drone pilot in the mapping world.

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Drone Mapping Guide –

00:47 5 New upcoming Drone U courses
01:36 Today's show is about mapping services and maintaining the fine balance in providing mapping services
02:31 Paul discusses about the nuances of mapping including barriers to entry, quality of services and learning involved
06:10 Today's question is on transitioning from real estate photography to mapping services
09:42 Applying a mindset change to getting into the drone mapping world
11:30 A step by step approach to getting into mapping services and understanding the nuances of drone mapping
17:46 Three things that pilots who want to get into mapping, need to keep in mind
20:44 How much and what all does Drone U's mapping courses cover for pilots getting into mapping?

You're listening to the ask drone you Podcast you ask we answer your drone Questions whether you're here to turn Your passion into profit when you simply Fly for Fun we're a community of Learners and teachers who aspire to Achieve greatness we are Hey everyone and welcome to another Interesting episode of ask a drone you Thank you very much for joining us as Always and as always my name is Paul My name is Rob grateful to be here with You thankful that you are listening in And uh hoping that we bring some value Ask for your questions yes Definitely also thank you to all of our New members and want to give a quick Update on courses we've got five new Don't crash courses that have been Filmed are in editing and we'll go to Members shortly Um that also includes the m30t the Wingtra the new mavic and my favorite Social media drone the Mini 3 Pro I love That little thing I really do I wish it Had like attitude mode and all the Normal stuff but I really do love that Drone yeah that's never happening yeah Literally dji's like you want that I'm sorry Not gonna happen like oh you want that You'll have to pay 10 times more and We'll only still give you half the Features

And you'll still buy it yes so why Wouldn't they do that Oh I hope you enjoyed that DJI so anyway We got a good show today talking about Uh mapping opportunities here Rob and This guy moving away from Real Estate Into mapping stuff and you know we've We've hit a particular topic like this Uh very many times and I feel like I Actually have something eloquent to say Regarding the fine balance of moving Into mapping and knowing enough to map And not get yourself in trouble or look Dumb or lose a client or all of that No I think that's exactly what he's Looking for yeah well I mean before we Hit the question I think that this macro Point is actually rather important and It kind of also Um goes to a very sensitive topic like Censorship I feel like these two Um these two particular ideological Stances are very analogous meaning one When do you break in to mapping when is It safe quote unquote what you know how Much do you need to really learn because With mapping because it is a technical Deliverables there are clear guidelines On Measurements of those deliverables Quality of those deliverables accuracy Of said deliverables And in all honesty Um there are a lot of departments uh

Engineering surveying and whatnot that Are literally trying to shut down drone Pilots ability to offer these Services Now there's two sides that issue on one Side I slightly understand because it's A very technical thing and they're Trying to make sure that people are Properly trained but on the other side If you completely like censoring censor Someone they have no ability to learn How to do it the right way they have no Ability to figure it out to provide the Right deliverables and so if you don't Allow that conversation you don't allow The opportunity for Learning and and Provide clear directives to that then How can you ever expect someone to learn How to do it the right way and so if You're a drone pilot out there and You're thinking about getting into Mapping do know it's very technical do Know it is possible and honestly I don't Want to shoot down anyone inspiration or Motivation to go out there and do it I Just want you to be cautious because It's always important like we talked About in the last couple shows about Disclaimers on accuracy not working for Surveyors or excuse not claiming to be a Surveyor excuse me But also I think that we should really Push people to explore mapping because At the end of the day the workflow is Very simple it's about knowing the

Nuances of how the workflow Formula comes together to create Accuracies to create uh you know good Quality measurements Etc and so for this Particular individual who's like hey I Went out and did a mapping job and I Used you know drone deploy and this and And all that and he said he took our Class but we we've taught on drone Deploys acquisition but never on YouTube So I appreciate uh the shout out for us But That said when it comes to deliverables That have particular technical Parameters look go out there and do the Missions that's the best way to learn is Practice but also be cognizant of what You don't know that you don't know Meaning How could this map be inaccurate how Could this map not be correct I think It's a fine balance just like censorship That we've got to propel people to Explore but we've also got to lead them Down a path that says here's how to Learn it the right way so that you can Keep getting these mapping jobs as this Caller says are lucrative it is a fine Balance it's one of those things that You got to go out there you got to do it But you also have to be willing to learn And you have to be willing to accept That there are things that you don't Know and those things could also inhibit

Your growth as a career as an operator As a business so that's why I think it's Just so important to be open to learning Be self-aware and understand that there Are things that you are going to learn Over time that will contradict what you Learned in the beginning because when it Comes to mapping it's a very very Technical thing And uh I think you should go out there And you should learn as much as you can But also be cognizant of the sources in Which you're learning we're seeing so Many people popping up uh across a Variety of platforms that Um might be misleading people and so I Think it's important to just know your Source be open to learn go out there and Practice because I think that's going to Be the best teacher Um out there so right on let's listen to The question Hi guys I've been working as a Professional real estate drone Photographer for about seven years I've Shot literally thousands of real estate Listings in 2018 I did my first mapping Mission in Banfield BC I started by Watching drone News YouTube tutorials as Well as others and then I practiced a Few times and submitted my best practice Mission to apply for the job it was a Pretty basic job the mission was to make A map of the title Flats at low tide in

Preparation for a proposed LNG terminal On Vancouver Island I use drone to play out for flying the Mission and Maps made easy to process The mission I was paid about twenty five hundred Dollars the most lucrative single job I've ever done but I realize now I was Mostly faking it and didn't feel Confident to continue seeking that kind Of work due to my lack of overall Knowledge in the mapping space Since then I have returned to the Low-hanging fruit of real estate Photography I'm very fortunate to get regular Contract work from two of the top real Estate photography companies on Vancouver Island And in 2021 I made about thirty one Thousand dollars working very part time I've become rather bored with shooting Real estate and want to dive into Mapping although I now shoot with a Mavic 2 Pro I still have a phantom 4 Pro Which I understand is still a valid Mapping machine Due to its mechanical shutter my Question is how can I best use my time And experience to get a foothold in this Space How do I find customers and what is the Best strategy for practice I'm prepared to invest in training and

To buy the latest mavic 3 rtk but I need To know that return on investment is at Least a possibility thanks you guys are The best resource Thank you Tim Um great question lots of good detail in There as well you know it's interesting Because of in your intro Paul you talk About just being cognizant of Knowing or not knowing what you don't Know right Black's one and I think that For some folks there could be too much Of that oh I think for for people who Are analytical or like the super smart Overthinkers a hundred percent yeah yeah And you shouldn't be fearful of that Either right and it's interesting Tim Because it sounds like I I think of like Let's just take two avatars of people And you've got let's just call it Extremes and I'm not putting you on Either extreme but just for for Um a picture you've got somebody who Doesn't know Jack but they don't give a Crap that They Don't Know Jack and They're just gonna go do it and fake it Till they make it right And maybe the customers they're doing it For don't even they don't know how to Judge and so they get away with it and Then there's the person over and those Clients do exist absolutely and that's Probably the majority right well I don't Know I don't want to speculate on that

But anyways and then you've got the Other extreme of the person that just Aims aims aims aims aims and never Shoots And if I had to and this is not a Critique please don't take it as that Tim but I would put you obviously sort Of on this side of the on the maybe Aiming a little bit too much but at the Same time it is very Um it's a good thing to make sure that You know your stuff but it's interesting Because like you're asking about how do I go get these clients what should I be Doing it sounds like you're already Doing I mean you've got a great client Yeah so there's part of me that I'd like To know more about what you're already Doing do more of it but I know Paul you Can obviously speak to more of the Technical stuff that he's wondering About what can he do to get better et Cetera et cetera well you know something That you bring up that I think should Click with a lot of people who are Listening to this show wanting to get Into Um Uh who are wanting to get into the Technical realm of mapping Maybe something that would motivate you Is thinking about the guys out there who Are just so full of crap but they go out There and they sell this out of

Themselves they have this innate ability To sell themselves in this confidence And whether it's backed up by reality or Not is really not important because at The end of the day they're the ones Getting the jobs and so you got to use That as inspiration motivation okay if There's going to be some confident numb Numb skull out there who's gonna go out Sell me but at the end of the day I Could easily create a better data Product and explain how it's more Accurate Etc et cetera Um then that should motivate you to go Out there and go do it you know yeah and It's you mentioned that you started with Some YouTube tutorials from drone you And we don't have YouTube Because it's a very very technical thing And it's yeah yeah but maybe I don't Know if you meant that you had gone Through our class in membership I don't Want to speculate there either I will Just say the comprehensive mapping class There's no nothing like it and if you Have not done that or frankly even if You have do it again because everything Is in there everything is in terms of Certainly the technical side I know There's it's not all inclusive at this Point in terms of for example depth into Drone deploy for example but You're going to come out of that feeling A lot more confident I assure you a

Hundred percent and out of after coming Out of that class you'll watch a lot of These YouTube videos and you'll know the Rules of photogrammetry and you'll know That most of these people are talking Out of their buttholes so Um I hate to say it but a formula is a Formula Um that said when it comes to answering His question when it comes to what Should you be doing there's a couple of Points you asked what should I do Specifically two is the dollarized value Worth it to make an investment and then Three How do you go out and get the clients so Let's take this in steps okay so number One how do you go out and do it you just Go out and do it period end of story You've got to think about a variety of Different subjects that you want to get Good at do you want to get it good at Bare Earth maps you're in Vancouver you Have a lot of trees so I think it's in Your best interest to go out and look at Particular areas that you can go map and Play with the various levels of overlap Because in all honesty when you have Trees as tall as you do you're going to Learn the importance of like almost an 80 80 85 85 overlap to be able to see The ground through the trees you'll also Learn that there are certain examples Where photogrammetry really doesn't work

With the trees and that you might need Lidar Um then I think you need to look at you Know 3D modeling and mapping you know 3D Data getting good facade data I feel Like this is something that is not well Explained on the internet but you know I Love the idea you're getting double Grids and all that that but mix up your Acquisition plan do a double grid do a Quad grid especially in your neck of the Woods where you've got the woods you Might find that a quad grid will be very Very useful and helpful for you in Acquiring data because at the end of the Day you can only map what you can see so I think it's a good idea we know that The number uh the top three deliverables Are an ortho Mosaic a point cloud and a DTM So I think you should be working on Geo-referencing data sets too if you Take three subjects right a church you Want to do 3D stuff you do orbits you do Double grids you do quad grids process All that data look at the density of Points between all the different Subjects look at the holes you know look At how your elevation of your camera is Going to affect the amount of data that You have with the wall going into the Soffit at the end of the day you can Only map what you can see but you can Also try these different acquisition

Plans And then you can take let's say three Acquisition plans and turn it now into Six different projects because you can Say let's geo-reference one and not Geo-reference the other let's Geo-reference one not geo-reference the Other Um You know on your second point or I guess I mentioned it as number three but we're Moving it up to number two is it worth The investment Um is a mavic 3 Enterprise rtk Worthy investment no it's not just it's It's not as I don't think so especially If you already have a phantom 4 Pro 100 And that was kind of the variable that I Was thinking about too it's like look You can't even do third-party apps Lychee says it's going to take them a Year to work with the mavic 3. Um you can't do orbits you can't do Point of interest you can't do all this Stuff the rtk is extremely limited on What vrs is you can work with frankly All this Dilly dallying the DJI is is Doing is just further providing ample Opportunity for other domestic Manufacturers to come in and crush it And you know a lot of people are like Yeah skydio is coming up it's like they Are coming up but you know who I see Coming up faster and more is honestly

Free fly free fly systems and Watts Innovations and there's another Manufacturer that we just learned about That I think is might supersede all Three we'll see I mean it's unbelievable What they're doing so Um at the end of the day can you make The money though to go out and spend Money on a drone absolutely I've Actually found that 3D modeling pays the Best Um rates for doing jobs because one it's Non-technical So it's really based on how lifelike you Can make a particular object look and Because it's so difficult to make it Look lifelike because half the time You've got to edit photos to make it Look lifelike half the time you've got To run data through three different Processors to see which lifelike model Is going to look the best you know that Is going to pay the most money I mean Like some of the best money we I ever Made in mapping was doing 3D models was Working for like people like Netflix and Doing 3D models no geo-referencing Required ladies and gentlemen so yeah You might want to go to Um the page on our site that is what is Drone mapping and if you just Google it It'll show up yeah and I would also Sorry no I was gonna say there's within There you're going to see a section that

Talks about applications of mapping and I think that's helpful that's exactly What I was going to say because if this Guy watched our drone you mapping Comprehensive course he'd know that we Are not big proponents of cloud-based Processing because you cannot control The data it is that simple and people Like drone to play play little gimmicky Games to make your data look really nice But not actually provide good data but If you just said that it's a 3D model That's making money that's fine right I Wouldn't use three no I would not use Drone to play for a 3D model but I might Use optelos for a 3D model because Optelos has done what I feel like no Other Um cloud-based software has done which Is like hey we've taken a hundred Thousand data sets and we have figured Out exactly what you need to do to make The best 3D models and and we're going To use that formula to process now if You're not familiar with optelos they're Just running Bentley in the background But it's a more affordable means of Getting to access Bentley's context Capture and so if you think about that Yeah that's the one outlier and I really Feel like we need a mind map because It's like you do you need really fast High accurate Ortho mosaics okay then do They need to be geo-reference okay then

I would go with this route you know There's so many trees it's a cart Model A classification regression tree Um because like if I need the fastest Orthomosaic no internet non-deo Reference okay bx40 react but oh I need A geo-reference orthomosaic I have Internet and I need it done really Really fast Okay I'd probably use x you know so um It really really depends and back to This your macro point of you know you're Afraid to go after these lucrative jobs Because you don't know what you don't Know well here are three things that Most new drone mappers don't know that They don't know one you may be using a a Mapping software and it says your Accuracy is one inch yeah gfy one inch Let's put it in a global mapper or Arcgis or qgis and have a true data set To compare against just like in real Estate we have our comparables that's Going to tell you what your true offset Is on our mapping class exercise number Five it literally showcases a perfect uh Like scale constraint you would think It's right everything's perfect it's in The right place no no you throw that in Global mapper and you realize it's six Feet off to the South so yeah and easily Six feet yeah okay uh rule number two Most people don't understand it's not What you shoot it's how you shoot it

Okay you may think oh I ran a double Grid everything is fine well in this Particular instance when he's right near The water way if it's a low elevation Angle to the sun he's going to have high Reflectivity lots of holes in his Maps His dtms are not going to be right and So know what you don't know about image Capture I have found that some of the Best mappers were photographers first Because they understand how to get good Images and make light look flat in order To capture the absolute best Photogrammetric data possible okay so I Would say another thing that you don't Know that you don't know is you can only Map what you can see and it's not what You can see it's what the Drone can see So number one point was about Geo-referencing you might think Everything is good but you don't know Until you don't know number two is it's All about how you collect the data Meaning the way that you take the photos The acquisition pattern which Acquisition patterns you're using Collectively still junk in junk out yeah 100 and then I would say that last point That I just made about how how you take Photos and then it's also understanding The bird and the software because if you Don't understand the bird that you're Using what what three uh what other Parameters are available how to negate

For particular issues like for example Has anyone ever talked about that drone Deploy doesn't actually have a Calibration for the Phantom sensor but Pix4d mapper does and then on the Phantom 4 rtk it's built into the Drone And it's not built into the Phantom but I would never buy the rtk Drone because You can't do certain things that the Phantom can do so you got to know your Aircraft you've got to know the shutter You've got to know what three uh what Third party applications are available To control that drone you need to know How to collect the data how to negate For the most common issues which is Homogeneous areas reflectivity Etc and Then see this goes deep fast I know and I'm afraid that he's just getting Overwhelmed so my question is how much Of everything that you're discussing Here will our comprehensive mapping Class and then we've also got some Advanced content in there as well how Much of all of this that you're talking About will it cover 100 and it'll do it In order and it'll make you'll have Exercises as well that go along with it So you like feel the learning you retain It all right this podcast's over Tim You've got you've got your marching Orders you yeah and also you know in Regards to that mavic 3 Enterprise uh We're about to do a show on that I would

Really really really if you're if you're A drone mapper I think we need to send a message to DJI And don't buy that drone because you're Seeing emails and marketing stuff from Like lychee saying we have to reprogram Everything uh like we we can't just use The normal SDK we've literally got to Reprogram everything and it might be a Year before you can even use lychee Which has been around since as long as Drone U has to be able to utilize a Drone I am really not a fan of what DJI Is doing and people like skydio freefly Systems are taking advantage of these Really Um dumb moves and it's funny because you Know both skydio and DJI have said that They're like apple well history lesson Ladies and gentlemen what did Apple Learn really really hard last year that No one talked about oh yeah the fact That this 2015 at MacBook Pro here Everything about this MacBook Pro having You know the SD card slot the mag safe You know power you know just all the Ports that you would use on a regular Basis oh yeah they brought it all back When people stop buying their laptops Because all it had was USBC on it okay There is a critical mass Point here Ladies and gentlemen where if you cause Too much Um pain where people are like fine I'll

Start using another product if enough People do that then the manufacturer Says crap we better bring these things Back just like apple did so DJI maybe Learn from Apple and bring everything Back that you used to have because it Might be In your wake of an environment Um politically speaking you might be Hurting yourself in the long run and I Only say that because I really like Flying DJI stuff but I really don't like These games so yeah Anywho I hope that helps Tim Um I would like you to be discour I mean Encouraged Freudian don't be discouraged No no don't be discouraged at all you Are clearly are capable you did it Sounds like deliver on the one drop that You got so There you go you've already done it um Just build on that and go take the Comprehensive mapping class and you said You're ready to invest in your education So perhaps coming out of that maybe you Do an in-person mapping class goes even Deeper Um which we got a schedule for 2023. oh Good point figure that out but uh I just Remembered one last thing about the what Pilots don't know that they don't know About mapping I think the third thing is Is you might have the best GPS equipment In the world but if you don't know how

To accurately Um connect your geo-referencing to your Data set it doesn't matter how good your GPS is because it's all human error at That point so that said I think Tim just Needs to go out and look at different Types of mapping jobs different Deliverables write out a list of the Different things he needs to go map and Just go do it just go do it okay Um on top of that Um I think it's important to you know Take different types of data sets Geo-referenced non-geo reference and Lastly think about different Environments right down by the water you Know surrounded by trees big open space Try them all because there's going to be Different acquisition strategies based Off of where you are flying but let's Take a second and let's say good job for At least going out there and trying it And I and you know I have in the past Been on this show and been like don't Just go out and do mapping you can do it Okay and that's not what I'm saying at All I'm saying in order to do this and Do it well it you have to be open to Learning I recommend learning first Otherwise the learning curve is Astronomically long and you can hurt Yourself in the process it can cost you Money if you do it wrong but that Shouldn't stop you from going out there

And doing it so oftentimes doing these Practice missions and not having a Client might actually be the best Strategy so Yeah sorry I just I want to keep going On that one but there's no point because I'm just rambling I'm just rambling yeah We love the question Tim thank you very Much great question ask for Your question we'd like to remind you That if you've got something in your Mind so do probably hundreds or Thousands of other people that are not Willing to call it in so be the one that Does we'd love to hear from you this show is for you but We need your questions yeah and just to Prove that this show is for you if you Remember in 2016 and 2017 we told all Drone Pilots out there that states Cannot control airspace there's a Federal memorandum saying you cannot Create a registration you cannot create A DMV of drones you cannot do this it's Under Federal Regulation we saw North Carolina Completely go against that and then we Saw Washington do it last year and just Last week guess what Michigan proved us Right and they struck down all state Drone law because what it's controlled By the feds on that bombshell that's Gonna do it for us today we're here to Help help you ask drone you