Drone pilot freelance

Has anyone done drone piloting / geographic services as a freelance? If so any advice on cracking the market? I'm a GIS and photogrammetry wiz but have no qualifications in the field. I was going to reach out to farmers and other people who may need cheap detailed contour plans, with a drone I can do for a fraction of the cost as a surveyor with his shitty ground tools. My original thoughts are :
- faceplant marketplace for the boomers
- craigslist/gumtree for the boomers
- pamphlets into rural mailboxes with a nice description of my services for the boomers
- sketchfab account to showcase my work.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  1. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    bomp

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      thanks cunt. I feel kinda optimistic about the fact that this thread is getting little interest, I see surveyors doing what they do the old fashioned way and it boggles my mind given that I learned and was practicing photogrammetry in 2015. People still aren't just doing it with drones, I can get like 5cm data over 15 acres processed in 3 days, the thickness of every branch of every tree. The only other thing I think i'll need is a remote CPU and GPU server to process point clouds, meshes and aerial photography. I already quit my job because you don't get paid for honest work anymore, I need some of those sweet boomer bux. We'll probably be telling our children "Just start a business and give a good firm hand shake of your potential clients" once the wealth has transferred so much they are literally UBI slaves. If you have any questions about workflow (metashape > cloud compare > autocad/archicad/QGIS) I'd be happy to share what I know (which isn't a lot but enough to deliver high accuracy contour maps to farmers so they can check erosion, plan excavation, get an understanding of their catchment, etc.)

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        could you please share a little more about workflow? architecture anon here

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          This is my workflow, I won't go into too much because this is my thing. Its mainly learning the software, but once you get that you're golden.
          > Buy a drone with GPS tracking photos (important or the pointcloud software will not know what the fuck is going on)
          > Get an autopilot app
          > Photoscan entire property
          > Learn metashape to develop point cloud
          > Use metashape / meshlab / blender to develop mesh
          > Clean mesh/pointcloud using any of the above & cloud compare
          > Cut into contours using cloud compare
          > Overlay BIM objects (massing, trees etc.) using desired cad software (IF REQUIRED)
          > Create aerial photography stitch using photoshop
          > Overlay map onto aerial photo using photoshop
          > W'ALLAH! Detailed contour maps with photo underlay made in about 3 days meanwhile a surveyor would still be out there looking through is tripod.

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Thank you anon. I'm currently doing my masters in architecture and I realised that I fell for the do what you love meme. It's an alright gig but the reward/work ratio is awful.

            From an architectural surveying standpoint, I'm not sure if this can adequately replace proper surveyors but it would drastically reduce their scope to just figuring out the location of services. Anything above ground could be handled via drone. Thoughts?

            • 2 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              [log in to view media]

              Man I had a fucking nice reply to you but the fucking LULZ spam filter kept fucking me over. If the Jannies actually did their job (I hear they get paid well) and stopped relying on the fucking spam filter we'd be able to talk. Instead I'll just tell you that point clouds are fucking great in architecture as you just trace over in 3d, and that these clouds were taken ages away and you could get much more detail if you were intentionally scanning a building. These are just caught because they were next tto the copse i was scanning.

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                Oh and architecture is a shitshow and you should reconsider your career path NOW.
                Verification not needed

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                Ah hah, interesting. What software are you panning around in? I agree with the point clouds, you can just snap your lines and shit to said point clouds.

                Architecture is fucked man, I need the balls to admit that I'm wrong though. It would be damning to my entire identity.

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                metashape (not a cad program) but you might be aware it looks the same in archicad/revit.

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                Thanks for your input anon. Will be interesting to hear back in a couple months from now. I'll keep trucking on with whatever I'm doing.

  2. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Why shouldn't they just buy their own drone and do it themselves/have one of their employees run it?

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Not every single homeowner/landlord wants to buy, learn to use, and use a drone for a 1 time job.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Thanks but I'd ad that flying the $400 drone is the easy part. Turning the photos/data into contour maps is what I have expertise in. The computer does most of the work, but if you don't know how to use each program you just don't know, I do and can do it in a few days. I'm confident I can do it as a service, I'm pretty confident that it would be useful, I'm not at all confident I can get it to people, as I, like a lot of people here, don't have a lot to do with other human beings.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        If it's a 1 time job then OP will have to go increasingly further the longer he does this to find new people who want the service. At some point the cost/time of getting to a new guy is going to eat into the profits so much it's no longer worth the effort.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      You tell me? Maybe I'm privileged with my knowledge its actually pretty easy but I haven't heard of farmers or anyone in land management really using photogrammetry. I think they reach out to surveyors and pay an arm or a leg because that's what you do. In USA huge scale farming probably means its better to employ someone but here in AUS that's not really how farming works. We have heaps of family owned medium size farms which just contract work out rather than employ everyone in a business. There are also a lot of regulations regarding tree clearing, paying to locate trees with a surveyor across 10s of acres would cost a fuckton. I'd accept 400 a day and knock it out in about 3 days.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      because thats just how people are. most of the time you'll find people who will be very willing to pay you for what you consider something incredibly easy because they value their time more than buying a drone and learning whatever anon said he does. also most people are afraid of fucking it up and are retrograde conservatives who are terrified of learning something new

      https://i.imgur.com/x8nTguJ.jpg

      Has anyone done drone piloting / geographic services as a freelance? If so any advice on cracking the market? I'm a GIS and photogrammetry wiz but have no qualifications in the field. I was going to reach out to farmers and other people who may need cheap detailed contour plans, with a drone I can do for a fraction of the cost as a surveyor with his shitty ground tools. My original thoughts are :
      - faceplant marketplace for the boomers
      - craigslist/gumtree for the boomers
      - pamphlets into rural mailboxes with a nice description of my services for the boomers
      - sketchfab account to showcase my work.
      Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

      dont expect to become rich on it but you can absolutely do it. ask other guys who already do this how much they charge and adjust it.

      it doesnt cost you much to post ads and maybe to promote them

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        [log in to view media]

        Thanks anon, there is literally no one doing it. That's part of the conundrum of cracking the boomer market. I take photos of the sky, turn them into 3d models and then make terrain maps. That's essentially what I'm looking to do.

        Does anyone freelance anything for older landowner types? What do you, just go to the pub and firm handshake cocks or what? I was thinking of taking my laptop to the pub and working there like people do with coffee shops, hoping someone gives a shit when they see pic related over my shoulder.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          first of all, i dont understand why people would need other than for legal reasons(in which case theres a whole degree you need to be doing, or cert), and maybe with the purpose of estimating harvest.

          in any case just look up marketing and seo online. i would start by making a very short wordpress website explaining what you do then absolutely hammer google and facebook ads. also post on boomer apps like facebook marketplace and whatever is popular in your cunt(i assume ebay or craigslist). link your website in said ads and you should be good.

          if you want to be very hardcore and want to make this your full time job then print out contact cards and hand them out at agricultural conferences and symposiums. hang around truck dealers and leave them in people's mailbox.

          although doing it online is easier and will net more results.

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Thanks agricultural fares is a fucking great idea. Or even just set up a stall at the town markets I can just have a wall of printed maps, my computer handy and show people what I do while they go through bric'n'brac. I can even do a different town each weekend markets
            This is the advice I'm looking for thanks a lot.

            • 2 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              no problem and good luck.
              also got a question for you? a friend of mine who is into drones and photography said he wanted to do somethnig similar but that he needed a big expensive drone with a lidar sensor. i assume you dont own one and are using a computer program to convert footage into 3d maps from a lower definition camera.

              btw i just remembered, he said that its kinda of like an industry standard that you should be using a lidar capable drone for such things

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                Look I can get 250mm contours with a $400 drone using photogrammetry. Lidar would be my goal but I'm looking for a weekend hussle I don't want to get to deep, especially not yet. If anything I'd like to buy a better camera drone and stick with photogrammetry for now. Lidar is for mining big boys and pros. I'm just a weekend casual.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Because there are ever increasing rules, laws, and regulations about when and how they can be used. Some realtor can buy their own, fly it, then get a fine from the FAA for $100k.

  3. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    the topic of self-bumping your own thread is the cause of much debate and controversy these days. Does it work and should you do it? Those are the main questions people get heated over.

  4. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    [log in to view media]

    what is the cheapest way to kill a drone?

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      High powered water gun

  5. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >GIS
    >Photogrammetry
    How hard is this stuff to learn?
    I'm interested in using it to design water catchment earthworks in an arid/mountainous environment.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      [log in to view media]

      ME TOO! The software is fucky but there are yt tutorials for everything and see workflow above. I would suggest doing what I did and just research and iron out a workflow by practicing on your weekends.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        In addition to farmers, you could do the flying and photography for real estate developers and sellers as well. You would probably do alright just cold-calling enough people too.

  6. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    You could look for wineyards. They are often interested in showing drone images to their customers.

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