Sundance Media Group at InterDrone 2019

Drop by our booth #805 and say hello while you are at InterDrone 2019!

We will have our AVOC on display along with products from Autel Drones, Digital Aerolus, DT Research, QYSEA FiFish, FoxFury, Pix4D, UASideKick, and Venom.  We will also have our friends from Westwind Unmanned in the booth with us, so please do stop in and get a tour!

 

SMG Pre-Conference Workshops:

Cinematography Intensive with Douglas Spotted Eagle

 

Join Sundance Media Group (Booth 802 with our A.V.O.C) atInterDrone 2019 – September 3 – 6th, Las Vegas, NV

Save $100 on your conference pass with this discount code:

 

By | September 3rd, 2019|0 Comments

Night sUAS (Drone) CSI Demonstration – RENO

FoxFurySundance Media GroupPix4D, and public safety personnel have created a demonstration workflow for aerial capture of virtually any type of night forensic scene. This team will setup a mock crime scene investigation, by creating a homicide scene in the North parking lot at Peppermill Resort. The purpose of this free demonstration is to showcase how drones (UAVs / sUAS) are used to capture forensic evidence at the scene, in the dark, and use the data captured to create a map in 2D and 3D for law enforcement use.

FoxFury CRI Lighting Solutions will be used to illuminate the surrounding area to aid with photo and video capture of the crime scene. The SMG team will pilot an Autel Evo and a Yuneec H520 to capture color-correct aerial images to be processed in Pix4Dmapper LIVE onsite into a 2D map. The SMG team will share how the placement and level of lighting are key components to the workflow as well as using Ground Control Points to assist in accuracy for the post-production process in Pix4D.

 

This workflow is relevant for virtually any type of night scene capture.

 

Cameras are permitted. Please; no photography during drone flights.

With special thanks to the City of Reno for their support in presenting this demonstration and to the Peppermill Resort for hosting our demonstration.

 

 

 

By | August 13th, 2019|0 Comments

Pix4D Public Safety Workshop – Idaho Falls

Description

Kickstart your public safety workflow by learning about Pix4D’s recommended best practices when capturing and processing aerial and terrestrial images. This is a technical workshop organized in partnership with Pix4D for public safety professionals using drones to document vehicular collisions. The workshop will introduce you to creating accurate reconstructions and improving final results.

By registering for this workshop you are eligible to receive a 50% discount on the Pix4D Certification Exam.

Each day will start at 8:30am and finish by 5:00pm.

Level

Audience: Law enforcement or public safety professionals who are beginning to leverage drones and digital imaging for mapping and 3D modeling work.

Content: We will cover topics of basic to intermediate level and explain how to get the best results using the available processing options in Pix4Dmapper.

Workshop Content

Day 1 – Fundamental Concepts and General Processing Workflow w/GCPs

Lecture

  • The Theory and Science of Photogrammetry
  • Aerial Mapping RGB Image Acquisition: Best Practices
  • Georeferencing, Project Accuracy, and Ground Control: Best Practices
    • Acceptable – Image Geotags
    • Good- Scale Constraints
    • Better- Total Station, Local Coordinate systems
    • Best – Differential GPS/GNSS
  • Hardware specification recommendations
  • Project/scene accuracy verification

Lab Exercises

  • Creating a New Project in Pix4Dmapper Pro
  • Step 1: Initial Processing, Image Geotags only
    • Creating a Processing Area
    • Project measurement check
    • Reoptimizing the Project
    • Step 2: Point Cloud and Mesh
    • Working in the rayCloud
    • Classifying the Point Cloud
    • Using the Point Cloud Editor
    • Volume Calculations
    • Generating a 3D Mesh
  • Step 3: DSM, and Orthomosaic
    • Working in the Mosaic Editor
    • Generating an Orthomosaic, DSM and DTM
    • Contours and Outputs

Day 2 – Advanced Processing Techniques & Quality Report Review

Lecture

  • Review of Exercise 1 workflow/process
  • Review of a project quality report
  • Review of Pix4D processing options
  • Image acquisition of vertical structures: Best Practices
  • Terrestrial & mapping indoors: Best Practices
  • Pix4Dcapture

Lab Exercises

  • 3D Reconstruction of Vertical Structures
    • Applying Scale and Orientation Constraints
    • Making linear, area & volume measurements
    • Advanced Point Cloud Editing
    • Masking Images using Image Annotation
    • Applying the Clipping Box
    • Generating Video Animations
  • Merging Oblique and Nadir Imagery with Manual Tie Points

Day 3 – Instructor guided scene capture and project processing

Mission Planning

  • Scene Location scouting/size up (Secure location selected & provided by requesting Agency)
  • Establish project Georeferencing plan, leveraging available agency hardware.
    • Acceptable – Image Geotags
    • Good- Scale Constraints
    • Better- Total Station, Arbitrary/Local Coordinate system
    • Best – Differential GPS/GNSS with defined coordinate system
  • Review potential scene challenges & suggested workarounds
  • Image Acquisition of aerial & terrestrial data
    • Aerial Images
    • Terrestrial Images
    • Terrestrial video
  • Mapping Indoors: Best Practices (Optional in place of outdoor data collection)

Project Processing

  • Step 1, Automatic Tie Points & initial quality report generation
  • Applying georeferencing or Scale and Orientation Constraints
  • Merging Aerial and Terrestrial data
    • Establish Manual Tie Points across projects to be merged
    • Project Reoptimization
    • Create Merged Project
    • Review initial results
  • Point Cloud Editing
    • Clipping Box
    • Image Annotation
    • Point Cloud Classification
  • Pix4Dmapper outputs
    • Dense Point Cloud
    • 3D Mesh
    • Digital Surface Model
    • Orthomosaic
    • Contour Lines
    • Vector data extraction

FAQs

Q: What is a Pix4D User Workshop?
A: A Pix4D User Workshop is geared towards those who are getting started with Pix4D. We will address best practices for data acquisition, basic processing options, and workflows.

If you consider yourself an advanced user and you are interested in learning more about Pix4D software, please consider requesting a quote for a personal training.

Q: Should I bring my laptop?
A: Yes, Please ensure that you bring a laptop computer with the latest version of Pix4Dmapper installed to the User Workshop so that you may follow along during the hands-on exercises. Computers will not be provided on the day of the workshop.

We recommend that your computer is equipped with Windows, has at least 16 GB of RAM, 20 GB of free hard drive space, and a GPU that supports OpenGL 3.2. We also suggest that you bring a computer mouse to facilitate 3D navigation in the software. Computers running Mac OS are not supported at this time.

Q: Should I bring my drone?
A: Please DO NOT bring your drone to the workshop. This is a workshop about software. Under no circumstances will drones be permitted to fly during the workshop. DO NOT fly your drone at or around the workshop venue.

Q: Do I need a Pix4D software license to attend the workshop?
A: It is not necessary that you own a Pix4D software license to attend the workshop. If you do not own a license, you will be provided with a temporary one for the duration of the workshop.

Q: Is food provided at the Pix4D User Workshop?
A: Lunch, coffee/tea, snacks, and water will be provided onsite during the workshop.

Q: Can I attend the workshop remotely by WebEx, phone, or conference call?
A: The workshop must be attended in person and is not available for remote attendance.

Q: Are discounts available for educational institutions or non-profit organizations?
A: Educational discounts are available, please contact the Pix4D training team at training@pix4d.com for more information.

Q: What is the refund policy?
A: Orders may not be changed, modified, converted, or refunded once an order has been confirmed.

Q: How can I contact the workshop organizer if I have other questions?
A: Click “Contact” below, and send us an email. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

*By registering to the workshop, you accept the General Terms and Conditions of Sale of Pix4D and submit your information to the workshop organizer, who will use it to communicate with you regarding this event.

By | June 11th, 2019|0 Comments

Night (Drone) CSI Demonstration/training with FoxFury & Pix4D – Idaho Falls

This FREE EVENT is brought to you by:                                

FoxFury and Sundance Media Group will demonstrate how to achieve a forensic scene capture in the dark, with a drone, capable of 2D and 3D mapping and modelling.

These same techniques may be applied to virtually any type of night scene capture.

The team will set up a crime scene and will fly the scene with both night-vision and standard RGB cameras to demonstrate the viability of wide-variety of non-specialized cameras in dark crime scene capture environments.

Once the scene has been photographed by the drone, the team will process the data captured with Pix4D software live on-site, for rapid verification of image capture and area integrity.

Please register so that we are best able to accommodate the attendees on site.

Cameras are permitted. Please; no photography during drone flights.

By | June 10th, 2019|0 Comments

Idaho UAS Symposium – Boise, ID

Sundance Media Group is excited to be a small part of the coming UAS Symposium in Boise, ID.

Idaho UAS Situational Awareness Workshop being hosted by the Idaho Transportation Department and Idaho Office of Emergency Management.

SMG will be participating in round-table discussions and Douglas Spotted Eagle will moderate a discussion focused on Private Sector UAS Operational Concepts and Uses.

The SMG A.V.O.C will also be onsite for walk thrus and Douglas and James Spear will be on hand for equipment demonstrations.

 

Please contact us if you’d like a personal walk through of the AVOC while we’re in the area – we’ll be driving from Boise, ID to Idaho Falls June 6th!

 

Many thanks to our sponsors for helping to make this possible:

      

By | June 5th, 2019|0 Comments

Utah Dept. of Transportation – AASHTO Event

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is holding its Spring Meeting May 20 thru May 23rd.

Sundance Media Group will be showcasing drone technology as a new piece of their workflow on May 20th.  JOIN US in Park City to see the AVOC put to work with an Autel Evo, a Yuneec H520, FoxFury lights, and Pix4Dmapper software to bring it all together!

Details on registration:

http://aashtospringmeeting.org/

By | May 20th, 2019|0 Comments

Government Expo – The National Drone Show 2018

Join Douglas Spotted Eagle at the for a full day sUAS Workshop

DC Post|Production Conference

A three-day training event, the DC Post | Production Conference is designed for professionals in TV, video, film, motion graphics and new media who wish to maximize their creativity and efficiency and improve their technical skills. Sessions are geared toward intermediate to advanced professionals and are presented theater-style with ample time for Q&A. The conference runs three full days in four parallel tracks.Gi

By | November 28th, 2018|0 Comments

Update? Calibrate!

Software and firmware run the world of UAS, and some developer/manufacturers offer/require frequent updates. Updates are a component of the maintenance process for any UAS and should be manually checked at minimum, every 30 days. We recommend that any old software/firmware versions be archived if possible, in the event of problems encountered with a new update. Rolling back software is a good option (when possible).  In addition to archiving old software/firmware versions (when possible), it is required by the FAA that any maintenance be logged. This includes logging any software/firmware updates to the aircraft system.

For many UAS pilots/operators, the process ends at the update. In fact, many updates occur in-field with automated software updates being required by some manufacturer/developers, so the pilot uses WiFi or cellular connection to update the aircraft, controller, software, or battery, just before flying the next mission. There have been many instances where the next action with the aircraft is to begin the planned mission.

This is a mistake.

Any time software or firmware on the aircraft, tablet, battery, IMU, or other component of the aircraft is implemented, it is recommended that the aircraft be re-calibrated. This step is frequently put aside in interests of time, and can result in disaster.

The issue this pilot had could have been avoided had the aircraft and system been recalibrated prior to flight. The aircraft is a total loss due to compass error.

Software/Firmware updates are not always reliable and in some cases, result in safety issues. Recalibration is an important step in mitigating risk due to unknown factors generated via the software/firmware update process.  Compass, accelerometer, etc all must be recalibrated. It is also a good idea to let the aircraft sit for a few minutes after powering up, to acquire all satellites prior to flight after a recalibration.

Take 5 to avoid issues. Calibrate after every software/firmware update, and log the calibration along with the notice of update/firmware changelog.  Your flights will be more safe and confident.

 

By | November 27th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Update? Calibrate!

UNDERSTANDING TURBULENCE for sUAS

UNDERSTANDING TURBULENCE for sUAS

 

Image result for drone crash, buildingAs sUAV/drones become more and more popular, it seems that more and more of them are striking the sides of buildings, trees, or poles without the pilot understanding why.
“It was flying fine and all of a sudden it zipped up and into the side of the building.” “Everything was great until the drone had a mind of its own and flew straight to the ground.”
“The drone was flying over the trees and all of a sudden it spun around and dropped into the trees.”

Reading forum conversations around the internet suggests this is a common, yet unfortunate and avoidable experience.

First, let’s establish that flying in GPS mode may be ineffective when very close to a building. Signal may be lost, and this could explain a few of the building strikes.

However, far and away more likely in most instances the UAV was caught in a “rotor.” These are also known as up/down drafts, lee waves, or cross-winds, depending on which aviation discipline one adheres to. Needless to say, these phenomenon do exist, and play havoc with any sort of aerial activity whether it’s wingsuiting, parasailing, skydiving, model aircraft flight, swooping, small aircraft, and particularly light-weight multirotors.

Image result for wind turbulence map
THESE “WAVES” ARE INDICATORS FOR MANNED AVIATION AND CONSTRUCTION CREWS, YET THE PRINCIPLE IS
ONLY A MATTER OF SCALE.

Even when a manufacturer provides a statement of stability in “X” winds, this should not fool a pilot into thinking that the sUAS is turbulence-resistant. Given enough turbulence or infrequency of a wave, the UAV will become unstable.

It’s always better to be down here wishing we were up there, instead of being up there wishing we were down here.

The first rule is to set wind limits. Small quad-craft should stay on the ground at windspeeds of greater than 12mph/5.5 meters per second. Hexcopters should consider grounding themselves at 22mph/10meters per second. Of course, this figure may vary depending on your organizations policy and procedures manual, insurance requirements, or payload on the sUAS.

This video provides some demonstration of the cycle of the wave and how a gyro and accelerometer might cope with the cycles. Notice how all the aircraft are “cycling” in an attempt to maintain altitude and position, even as the waves of the wind rotate?

Truly, knowing about them is half the battle. Staying away from them is the rest of it. Failing the former, being able to manage the craft in turbulence is the next-best step.

A building blocks the wind on one side (windward side) and on the opposite side (leeward side) the wind will pay all sorts of havoc with any flying object. Winds will extend in distance up to four times the height of the obstacle, and two times the actual height.

Understanding Turbulence 2

40×4=160 feet. Therefore, for 160’ beyond the obstacle at ground level, your multirotor is at risk for catching either a down draft or an updraft.

Huh?

OK, say there is a building that is 40 feet in height, and you have a medium wind blowing. Gusting or steady, it makes no difference.

40×4=160 feet. Therefore, for 160’ beyond the obstacle at ground level, your multirotor is at risk for catching either a down draft or an updraft. Either way, the airframe/hull is not in clean air. In extremely high velocities (high winds) the ratio of obstacle/distance may be as great as 15X (of course, a UAS would likely not fly in these winds)!

In terms of height, depending on wind velocity, the UAV may have to climb as high as 80’ to find clean air above an obstacle. yet at 80′ AGL, the winds are likely entirely different as well, depending on the weather and other obstacles in the area.

The air goes over the obstacle and is “pulled” to the ground (downdraft), where it then “bounces” upward (updraft) and tries to resume its level flow.

These phenomena are entirely independent of  sinks,thermal rises, dust devils, and the like.

This also occurs in natural/unbuilt up areas. Trees, canyons, ridges, rock-lines; any large object will incur rotors. Avoid them. It’s virtually impossible to determine exactly where the down draft vs. the updraft may be occurring, and the location of these dirty winds will change with swind velocity.

Understanding-Turbulence-3

FLYING IN URBAN ENVIRONMENTS

When wind flows between buildings, the mass of the air/gas is compressed. This results in an increase in velocity. Think of squeezing hard on a tube of toothpaste, compressing the contents through the tiny hole in the end of the tube. This increases the speed/velocity at which the toothpaste squeezes out. The same thing occurs with moving air between buildings or other solid objects.

Depending on the wind speed, the increase may require as much as 4-10 times the distance before the winds return to “normal” velocity seen before the gap or corner.

Image result for Wind
IMAGE COURTESY OF RHEOLOGIC

Ground winds and winds “aloft” (true winds aloft are beyond the reach of most UAS operations) are rarely equal. Winds at 50′ are rarely the same as winds at ground level in an urban or suburban environment.  Even small berms in the ground can cause jarring turbulence (as shown above) that settle in the low areas. These urban “microclimates” can be very problematic for light weight UAS in required-precision environments.

Turbulence

Here is a more complex example of winds blowing at 22mph in an urban environment.

Complex Winds.JPG

complex winds 2

Compression of the flow due to building dynamics push the wind into more than 40mph in some areas. While the overall winds, and reported winds in the area suggest that the windspeed is perfectly acceptable for most commercial aircraft, turbulence and accelerated velocities within tight areas are far beyond the risk limits of most small UAS’.

Flying from warm sands to flying over water on a hot summer day may also create challenges to smooth and level flight.

DUST DEVILS

Dust devils are summertime phenomena that can be very dangerous to humans anywhere a UAS may be flying. If they happen in a city, there is usually ample evidence of their existence, as debris flies high in the “funnel.” These nasty actors can show up anywhere there is hot asphalt, sand, dirt, and if that mass of rapidly moving air connects with a cool surface, they can turn violent very quickly, slinging a sUAS far from its intended flight path.
Image result for dust devil Image result for dust devil

DUST DEVILS IN THE NEVADA DESERT CAN BE FRIGHTENING, ESPECIALLY WHEN TWO OR THREE COMBINE INTO ONE VORTEX.

If by chance a dust devil is seen climbing in the distance, prepare to bring the aircraft home and land. If the dust devil is anywhere near the vehicle, climb in altitude while moving in any direction away from the dust devil. They are usually very short-lived.

Image result for dust devilIMAGE COURTESY WASHINGTON POST

How do we avoid getting caught in turbulent air? The long answer is “experience.” Flying in these challenging spaces teaches us to find the lee, based on the behavior of the UAS, which will always be slightly latent to the wind.
The short answer is to study environments. Look at the wind indicators that might normally be missed.  Learn to read the environment; it’s not hard once one begins to look for the details around buildings, trees, brush, monuments, chimneys, and other ground obstacles.

Two standard practices that may save pilots from troubles;

  • Always use a windmeter/anemometer, and check the winds frequently in midday flights.
  • Have a corporate or personal policy of a hard-deck/stop speed.  This eliminates wishy-washy/should I/shouldn’t I decisions in the field.  Our cap for teaching students with a Hexcopter/Yuneec Typhoon H is 16mph. If a gust crosses 16, we immediately stop, and wait it out to determine the wind trendline.

Another practice (although not standard) is to put a 5′ stream of crepe’ paper on a stick at eye level or so. This WDI, or Wind Direction Indicator, will immediately demonstrate changes in windspeed or direction, both clues that the weather may be rapidly shifting.

Determine distances from obstacles as accurately as possible prior to flight in order to best understand where the rotors will occur.  Doing so goes a long way to maintaining control and safety when the drone is in flight. With a bit of experience, one rarely needs to worry about obstacle turbulence.

Happy flights!
~dse

PUBLISHED BY DSE:

I’ve been a successful sales manager, musician, film/video professional, instructional designer, and skydiver. Picked up a few pieces of gold, brass, titanium, and tin along the way. This blog is where I spill my guts about how I’m feeling at any given moment, and maybe a blurb or two about what’s happening in the sales, video, or skydiving worlds.
By | December 31st, 2015|sUAS Regulation, sUAS Safety, Technology, Training|Comments Off on UNDERSTANDING TURBULENCE for sUAS