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Logistics and Possibilities of Drone Arboriculture

Chicago Region Trees Initiative April 3, 2017 Morton Arboretum Lisle IL

Dan Staley

on 9 July 2017

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Transcript of Logistics and Possibilities of Drone Arboriculture

Drones and History
Aircraft Types
Sensor Types
Sensor Types
Big Picture
Operator Input
Almost everything today can be automated
Takeoff, landing, route planning, many smaller inputs
(take an image every 3 seconds, shutter speed, return
when battery is x%, circle object, follow me)
Key Limitations
Batteries, batteries, batteries, batteries
Rotor-wing: ~23 minutes Fixed-wing: ~40-90 minutes
(Wind, weather)
Visual Sensors
Current standard: 4K, 1080p, 60 frames per second (fps)
Still images ~3-8 mb, video ~500 kb/second
Logistics and Possibilities of Drone Arboriculture
Dan Staley, Arbor Drone, LLC
Legal restrictions: airports, private property, cities with
their own laws (No Drone Zones)
(More later)
Technology is not a limitation
(Says everyone in the industry: speed of bonkers)
Thermal - InfraRed Sensors
Current standard: 320-640 pixels
Still images ~2 mb
Main uses:
Human search and rescue
Livestock, wildlife/game poaching, security
Building energy, photovoltaic panels
Plant Health Care:
Plant water stress - turf, some woody
Some indications of tree cavities
Thermal - InfraRed Sensors
Multispectral Sensors
Current UAV standard (at 100 m/335 ft above
ground level (AGL):
Resolution ~4-5 cm (1.5 in) ground sample
distance (GSD)
Image ~8 mb per image, GPS tagged to ~20 cm,
4-7 bands per pixel
Multispectral Sensors
Each sensor is "tuned" to receive only specific
wavelengths of light in a narrow "band"
Each sensor is different (~6 main manufacturers)
Most sensors tuned to collect a band in blue, green,
red, and near-InfraRed (NIR)
Others may collect extra bands in the NIR or a red,
blue for a particular Vegetation Index (VI)
Multispectral Sensors
Hype Cycle
Logistics and Possibilities of Drone Arboriculture
Chicago Region Trees Initiative
April 3, 2017 9:00 - 10:15
Dan Staley
All presentations on Prezi.com (search 'Dan Staley')
Staley, D.C. 2016. Making a Business Decision for Drones: What you need to know.
Arborist News
. 25:5 pp. 22-25.

Staley, D.C. 2016. Drone Arboriculture: The business case for your operation?
Ontario Arborist.
October 2016 pp. 10-13.

Staley, D.C. 2016. Remote Sensing and Assessment of Urban Forests with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. C
ity Trees.
53:1 pp 18-22.

Staley, D.C. 2016. Drones and Arboriculture: Legal requirements and private property rights.
Tree Care Industry Magazine
. 27:10 pp. 48-50.

Staley, D.C. 2016. Drone Arboriculture: Is it right for your operation?
Ontario Arborist.
June/July 2016 pp 14-19.

Staley, D.C. 2016. Drones and Tree Care: Right for your operation?
Tree Care Industry Magazine
. 27:7 pp 24-29.

Staley, D.C. 2016. How to Market to the Tree Care Industry and Landscape Industry.
sUAS News Special Supplement
(August 2016).

Staley, D.C. 2016. Drones and Tree Care Operations.
Tree Services Magazine
. 12:4 pp 18-23.

Staley, D.C. 2016. UVM and UAVs: A new way forward.
Transmission and Distribution World Magazine.
April 2016 pg. 17.

Staley, D.C. 2016. Drones and the future of Utility Vegetation Management.
Utility Arborist Newsline
. March-April 2016 pp. 31-32.

Staley, D.C. 2015. Drones & Tree Care: Who is using them, how, and why?
Tree Care Industry Magazine.
26:12 pp. 8-14.

Hammrich, T. and Staley, D. 2013. Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Arboriculture: Toward new heights. T
ree Care Industry
24:11 pp. 26-31.

UAS and Arboriculture
Staley, D.C. 2013. Urban Forests and Solar Power Generation - Partners in urban heat island mitigation.
International Journal of Low Carbon Technologies
8:3 9 pp.

Staley, D.C. 2009. Increasing Green Infrastructure in Compact Develop
ments: Strategies for providing ecologically beneficial greenery in modern urban built
environments. IN: Proceedings of The Second International Conference on Countermeasures to Urban Heat Islands (SICCUHI)
, Berkeley CA, USA.

Staley, D.C. 2014. Your Next Opportunity: Solar-friendly tree care.
Tree Care Industry Magazine
25:7 pp. 22-23.

Staley, D.C. 2014. Solar Rights and Tree Rights are Compatible.
Renewable, Alternative and Distributed Energy Resources Newsletter.
2:2 pp. 13-15. American Bar
Ass'n, Washington, D.C.

DuVivier, K.K. and Staley, D.C. 2013. Managing the Dark Side of Trees.
Solar Today
27:5 pp. 27-31.

Staley D.C. 2012. Solar-Smart Arboriculture in the New Energy Economy.
Arborist News
20:3 4 pp.

Arboriculture and Urban Heat Island, Rooftop Solar Power, Urban Design
Additional Resources
3. Have a good idea about what is happening with the
current and upcoming laws and privacy concerns.
Bass diffusion model modified by Staley
Norma Jeane Dougherty
Coincidence or ??
Capt. Ronald Reagan
Aircraft Types
Aircraft Types
Courtesy PrecisionHawk, Inc
ff and
anding (VTOL)
Sensor Types
Sensor Types
By far the most common sensor
Standard on any decent aircraft
Photography, videography, inspections,
surveying/mapping (anything visual)
Modern UAV Development
Computing power
Thermal-InfraRed (IR)
Detects heat and emissions/reflectance in
the IR spectrum
Thermal differences allow detection of mammals,
heat in photovoltaic panels, inspection of buildings,
wind turbines
Turf stress detectable, some indication of cavities in
trees (FLIR company does analysis)
Detects light in several discrete wavelengths chosen
for a purpose
Agriculture: Vegetation Indices (VIs) - NDVI
Needs third-party data processing and analysis
Collects all spectral bands in each pixel
Between specific wavelengths (400 - 1550 nm,
400-2350 nm, etc.)
Many uses - vegetation, mining, pollution,
Tremendous amount of data - third party needed
Still very expensive and specialty aircraft needed
Image field of view (FOV) ~145 ft wide at
335 feet AGL
Hyperspectral Sensors
Sensor collects all wavelengths of light between a set
range of wavelengths in each pixel
Hyperspectral Sensors
Used to detect plant species, assess plant health,
Cost and data amounts limit current usage - will change
Flown with LiDAR for precise measurements and
detection (utility and pipeline corridors, cities)
2. Thorough overview on the current and near-future
capabilities of drones/Unmanned Aerial Systems.
Multispectral Sensors
Anyone Can Fly With Practice
LiDAR Sensors
Current LiDAR sends pulses of laser light (RADAR)
Solid State LiDAR in late development stage now for
autonomous cars and trucks
Used in transmission-distribution vegetation
management, pipelines, urban areas
Other Whiz-bang
Urban spray operations - bug drops
Courtesy Dan Drooger
CCI Atomics
Satellite best ~50 cm/pixel, aircraft best
~20-30 cm/pixel GSD
Coming Soon
Telemetry for aircraft ID and Air Traffic Control
Technology to control drone "swarms"
Good object identification and collision avoidance
Legal Topics
Laws and Regulations
Laws and Regulations
Flying for income requires UAV pilot's license
FAA - 14 CFR Part 107 ("Part 107")
Practice under Part 101 (hobbyist)
Laws and Regulations
FAA has study guides, several free on the web
Test administered at participating FAA locations
$150 fee, ~60 questions on maps, airfield ops,
weather, airspace restrictions, procedures
No flying test (!)
Current pass rate ~87%
Several inexpensive test prep courses available
On-line bookstores have additional resources
Expect 15 - 25 hours of study time to pass
Current U.S. law: property ends at 83 ft.
Above Ground Level (AGL)
All operations should take concerns of property
owners into account
Laws and Regulations
Cities, counties, states may pass their own regs
All aircraft over .55 lbs must be registered
FAA regulates airspace
Cities, counties etc can limit where you take off
and land - No Drone Zone
All operations should take concerns of property
owners into account
All operations should take concerns of property
owners into account
Nikola Tesla drone patent, 1898
OQ-2 Radioplane, the first mass-produced U.S. UAV -
Photo: PFC David Conover
Legal Links:

FAA Civil Operations: https://www.faa.gov/uas/civil_operations/

Start with the basics: http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/

Excellent, deep privacy discussion if you are serious about this topic - Drones and Aerial Surveillance: http://www.gwlr.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/84-Geo.-Was.-L.-Rev.-354.pdf

Good outline of what you need to know about the Part 107 test prep:

Drone law blog answering lots of Part 107 test prep questions:

3DR study guides: https://3dr.com/faa/study-guides/

Example of not-for-free study guide: http://www.asa2fly.com/Prepware-Remote-Pilot-P3575.aspx
Getting Started
Part of your budget at the beginning is
buying training aircraft.
Crashing a $75.00 drone to learn how to fly
is much, much better than crashing a
$1500.00 drone to learn how to fly.
Drone Equipment Costs
I do not represent any manufacturer
These are costs for the leading manufacturers and models,
plus some others that get buzz
Shop hard before you buy. DJI lowered their prices the
same way, ~the same time for the past two years
Some older models on eBay or Craigslist are a good
alternative if you aren't 100% sure - technology is much
older, so be careful (especially optics!)
Take your time!
Starter Drones
Indoor flight
Get used to controller skills & aircraft
Apps for controller skills
You will crash into lampshades and plants
Drone, extra batteries, propellers:
~$75 - 100.00
Intermediate Drones
Flight in wind
You must learn what to do when in
No substitute
You will crash land, find that tree
Drone, extra batteries, propellers:
~$100 - 250.00
Intermediate Drones
Working Drone (
) Equipment Costs
Everyone has different preferences
DJI Drones
Phantom 4, Phantom 3 (Advanced, Pro),

Most Recent Company Rankings
Typhoon H, Q500
X-Star series
Extra batteries,
, case, filters, extra parts, accessories
$1250 - 2000.00
Insurance (varies by area and carrier)
Safety vests with drone outline and company logo
(advertising budget)
Other Additional Expenses
Insurance by flight or annual policy
Nice brochure for privacy door-knocking, curious
Drone operations sign
Staff Training Time
(10 hours?)
Visual Sensor Costs
(none - good drones have good cameras)
Filters are an excellent idea for good photos and video
~$25 - 50.00
Thermal-IR Sensor Costs
If you have a client that will pay, go for it. If you have to
hustle to pay for this equipment new, wait.
~$1500 - 3500.00+
Working Drone (
) Equipment Costs
Everyone has different preferences
DJI Drones
In my opinion, consider Craigslist first. eBay too hard to see fly, too many questionable drones that I saw.

Watch, see what is going on, take your time. Look for crash evidence, see if selling for upgrade. Get as many extra batteries, case, extra parts, accessories as you can. Take your time, when you understand the used drone market, go for it, quickly. FLY THE DRONE BEFORE YOU BUY
$650 - 1200.00
Multispectral Sensor Costs
If you have a client that will pay, go for it. If you have a chance to
invest some money in a good idea, maybe. If you have to
hustle...think hard. Must be able to

Parrot Sequoia
Micasense Red Edge
Call on agriculture buddies to look for used
sensors/time share
Hyperspectral Sensor Costs
Not ready for regular tree care - arboriculture -
consulting arborist-type applications
Your pilot staff is now more desirable
Your investment is license + hours training
Your return:
Fast response rate for flights
Safety trainings, inspections, bids, insurance,
disaster response, subcontracting, helping out
Your risk:
Staff hired away because of pilot skills
Time spent on flying is not time spent on revenue-
generating activities
No real way to calculate a real, hard ROI except
for speed of inspections and bids
Faster bids and inspections
Their equipment and insurance
Probably fly better than you
New network for leads
How many do you need for a guarantee of a flight?
New personalities to deal with
Likely faster to deal with ATC tower & permissions
in Class B - C airspace
Another sub to keep track of
My default is always that a pilot is a good idea, at
least for a while or as a backup.
Tradeoff is different for everybody - are you the
personality type who wants to fly, or to avoid risk?
Hourly rate should be ~$125-150 for a good pilot for
visual work and no post-flight data processing
Technology is moving faster than bonkers
Technology is making drones much safer and
more feature-rich while maintaining or
lowering price
Technology makes drones easier to fly
Technology no reason to delay any more
Sensors are improving rapidly
Sensor prices are plummeting
In a few years, thermal IR and
multispectral will be common
A couple filters can make your social media
and marketing imagery look ~professional
U.S.A. finally has commercial drone laws
Next step: BVLOS
Law cannot keep up with technology
Check locals for 'No Drone Zones'
Privacy laws may be changed by drones
Courtesy and privacy are outside the law
Laws and Regulations
FAA regulates airspace - key piece missing
Flight Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS)
BVLOS needed for agriculture, Utility Veg.
management, urban forest - scale flights
BVLOS possibly 2017, likely 2018 (all bets off)
Thank You!
Drones in Arboriculture:
The business case for purchase or pilot
Idaho Horticulture Expo
January 18, 2017 8:00 - 9:00
Dan Staley
All presentations on Prezi.com (search 'Dan Staley')
You CAN try to analyze these non-visual
data yourself, but why?
So another (significant) expense for data
analysis must be considered
Now, "analysis in a box" for agriculture
~inadequate for arboriculture
1. Help make a business decision on the use of drones
in your operation.
Arbor Drone, LLC
Due in large part to:
Courtesy Bill Emison RMUASP
Most commonly used in agriculture, environmental,
some materials fields
Courtesy Joris Voeten Roofscapes
Logistics and Possibilities of Drone Arboriculture
Chicago Region Trees Initiative
April 3, 2017 9:00 - 10:15
Dan Staley
Arbor Drone, LLC
Full transcript