Posts tagged "drones in agriculture"

Montreal, Canada, June 12th, 2018 – SimActive Inc., a world-leading developer of photogrammetry software, is proud to announce use of its software for precision agriculture in Brazil by Portal Produtos Agropecuários Ltda (Portal).  Drone data is transformed into useful and pertinent information for farmers with Correlator3D, leading to optimized yields and reduced costs for the agricultural season.

The identification of the presence and damage caused by centipedes was one such example. When plant samples from the field were collected to identify the source of the growing anomaly, Portal was able to fly and generate mosaics to spot the problem within 24 hours using Correlator3D and their drones.  

“Correlator3D is agile, reliable, and efficient in processing the high-resolution UAV data we collect, generating high quality mosaics every time”, said Valdir Rago, Agronomic Engineer at Portal. “We tested other commercial UAV data processing apps and found that Correlator3D was the best at delivering the results we need. The friendly interface, also accessible in Portuguese, along with round the clock support from SimActive’s partner in Brazil, ENGESAT, put them in a different league.”

About Portal Produtos Agropecuários Ltda

Portal Produtos Agropecuários Ltda develops projects in northern Brazil to serve farmers with aerial mapping over agricultural areas, together with high level technical and agronomic assistance, to enable decision making in day to day crop management.  For more information, visit


Founded in 1997, Brazil-based Engesat is a multi-faceted geospatial solution provider with an expertise in imagery geoprocessing. Engesat serves customers throughout Latin America with native language customer service and technical support. For more information, visit

About SimActive

SimActive is the developer of Correlator3D™ software, a patented end-to-end photogrammetry solution for the generation of high-quality geospatial data from satellite and aerial imagery, including UAVs. Correlator3D™ performs aerial triangulation (AT) and produces dense digital surface models (DSM), digital terrain models (DTM), point clouds, orthomosaics and vectorized 3D features. Powered by GPU technology and multi-core CPUs, Correlator3D™ ensures matchless processing speed to support rapid production of large datasets. SimActive has been selling Correlator3D™ to leading mapping firms and government organizations around the world, offering cutting-edge photogrammetry software backed by exceptional customer support. For more information, visit

To give you fast and accurate maps while in the field, with a simple yet powerful interface fully dedicated to agriculture. One product for all of your drone-based agricultural workflows.

“Our solution fits the needs of the agriculture industry and we believe Pix4Dfields will become a staple tool, just like a meter is for a construction site worker”, Christoph Strecha, Pix4D CEO

Agriculture is one of—if not the biggest industry in the world. There is no wonder why. Humans heavily depend on food as fuel to keep us going. The progress in this industry has gone beyond what we could have imagined, combining drones, sensors, machine learning, mathematical algorithms, and advanced analytics.

When we decided to create a product for agriculture, we wanted to go beyond the research and development and create a product that understands agriculture. So in July 2017, we opened a new office in Berlin fully dedicated to do exactly that: Understand the agriculture industry, listen to our users, and create a product that caters to all the main agricultural practices.

That’s why we are happy to announce Pix4Dfields

Equipped with a new fast processing that provides accurate and instant results and an easy-to-use interface with tools tailored to agricultural workflows, our users will be set to cover everything from simple to complex scenarios.

Essentially, the idea behind Pix4Dfields comes from two observations:
the need to produce accurate, repeatable measurements of crop health and the need to produce results efficiently and rapidly in the field, while performing more detailed analysis in the office. Both of these factors are essential to support decision making of the farmer, agronomist or the breeder.

Pix4Dfields is currently available as a closed beta, which we are opening to select users to test it and give us feedback. The product will evolve in a fast pace with new and updated features being added with every new iteration.

Pix4Dfields is currently available for macOS only, next iterations will include Windows support as well.

Néstor is an agricultural engineer and graduate of the Agronomy College at Argentina’s National University of Rosario. Today, as a professor and researcher at the same institution, he develops functions in land management, applied remote sensing and GIS. His main interests include the application of geotechnologies, such as mapping drones, in the monitoring of natural resources and agro-ecosystems, site-specific management (spanning pasture & various crops), and precision agriculture.

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Parrot Bluegrass is the first Parrot quadcopter specifically designed for agriculture, and is the latest Business Solution from Parrot joining and complementing the Parrot Professional range. This includes the Parrot Disco-Pro AG & Parrot Bebop Pro-3D Modeling, which launched earlier this year, and more recently – Parrot Bebop-Pro Thermal.

2017 has been a significant and busy year for Parrot, with the launch of the company’s Parrot Professional range in Q2 2017. The new solutions combine Parrot’s consumer and commercial technologies and provide access to drone intelligence for small business and independent users. Just last month (September), Parrot also announced the global launch of two new additions to its consumer range – Parrot Mambo FPV and Parrot Bebop 2 Power.

With the launch of Parrot Bluegrass, Parrot is once again affirming its commitment to innovating new solutions that benefit businesses with UAVs, sensors and software that embeds a new level of precision data, and can be plugged into existing industry workflows. Parrot Business Solutions is changing the way a large number of industries work and helps to improve ROI, efficiency and productivity.

Parrot Bluegrass is a multipurpose quadcopter designed for agriculture professionals, and helps farmers improve their ROI, using its two embedded cameras; video camera and multispectral sensor. With its front Full HD video camera, this solution lets users visually monitor the farm’s infrastructure, land and herds. It also enables farmers to get a full overview and detect problem areas in all types of crop fields quickly and efficiently, thanks to its multispectral sensor designed for Precision Agriculture, Parrot Sequoia, and the easy to use processing cloud platform – AIRINOV FIRST+.

Parrot Bluegrass can automatically cover up to 30 hectares at 70 m / 230 ft. flight altitude per battery use. It can also fly at low altitudes, optimising crops that may require precise mapping.

Parrot Bluegrass is a user friendly integrated solution especially designed for farmers. It is easy to set up, easy to fly with its Pix4Dcapture autonomous flight capability, easy to process data with AIRINOV FIRST+, and easy to maintain and repair.

Parrot Bluegrass Agricultural Solution includes:

  • A powerful and easy to handle quadcopter equipped with a full HD front camera and embedded Parrot Sequoia advanced multispectral sensor.
  • Flight planning mobile application with Pix4Dcapture
  • Data processing with AIRINOV FIRST+ cloud platform
  • A long range remote control Parrot Skycontroller 2

Parrot Bluegrass: The quadcopter designed for agriculture

  • Precision Agriculture

Parrot Bluegrass is a robust quadcopter weighing just 1.9 kg. It is fully-equipped with a powerful, on-board computing system, as well as embedding the Parrot Sequoia – an advanced multispectral sensor for Precision Agricultural solutions facilitating crop analysis.

  • Autonomous flight and mapping

Parrot Bluegrass includes Pix4Dcapture, the world’s first planning app that enables farmers to precisely define the specific plot they want to map.

The user adapts the flight parameters according to the precision needed and the type of crops.

The entire flight, from take-off to landing[1], is automated by the quadcopter and the images captured by its frontal Full HD 14MP camera are streamed live on the screen of a connected tablet.

  • Manual observation flight

As a multipurpose tool, Parrot Bluegrass can also be piloted manually using the included Parrot Skycontroller 2 Wi-Fi remote control, which provides a 2km range, with the capability to statically hover and inspect.

The solution lets farmers observe their crops from new heights and capture video footage of their land, infrastructure or livestock thanks to the drone’s HD frontal camera. Users can also inspect areas that are invisible at eye-level, identify suffering parcels or potential issues that are often missed on the ground.

Parrot Sequoia, a miniaturized multispectral solution made for drones

Parrot Sequoia embedded in Parrot Bluegrass provides a complete and accurate multispectral imagery solution for drones that captures images of crops in both visible and invisible spectrums

The solution consists of:

  • A multispectral sensor with GPS, that automatically records images of crops in four distinct spectral bands: green (500nm Bandwidth 40nm), red (660nm Bandwidth 40nm), red-Edge (735nm Bandwidth 10nm) and near Infrared (790nm Bandwidth 40nm).
  • A sensor equipped with a RGB camera (16 MP)
  • An internal 64GB memory to store captured images
  • A luminosity sensor (‘sunshine’ sensor) that detects lighting conditions and automatically calibrates collected data with the multispectral sensor data during the computer processing phase.

AIRINOV FIRST+, the mapping and analysing platform for multispectral images

AIRINOV FIRST+ online platform enables users to process and analyse the data and images captured by Parrot Sequoia.

In just a few hours, the farmer receives a turnkey report composed of orthomosaic NDVI maps (absolute and adjusted) and zoning (simple and detailed). This provides a precise view of the biomass (density of vegetation) and relative health of the crops, helping professionals to determine which areas need specific attention. Professionals can use these insights to understand which areas require the most maintenance and track the effects and evolution of the farm with high precision.

With Parrot Bluegrass, farmers and agriculture cooperatives keep the control of the data captured by the quadcopter and the analysis of these data is directly delivered to them, with no intermediary.

Who is the Parrot Bluegrass designed for?

Parrot Bluegrass is a multi-purpose business solution to help agriculture and horticulture professionals, farmers and independents make informed decisions.

With the embedded Parrot Sequoia advanced multispectral sensor enables Precision Agriculture mapping and data analysis of crops, combined with Parrot Bluegrass’s ability to fly at low altitude gives optimization for fruit crops.

Its front camera, together with the possibility to do static flights, facilitate the observation of livestock or specific areas of land or terrain.

Parrot Bluegrass will be available in November 2017 at drone resellers, farming outlets, agricultural technology specialists and

MAP: £4.500ex VAT

Parrot Bluegrass pack content:

  • 1 Parrot Bluegrass quadcopter
  • 1 Parrot Sequoia
  • 1 Parrot Skycontroller 2
  • 1 Backpack
  • 3 Batteries Lithium Polymer (25min per battery)
  • 2 Chargers
  • 1 Year license to AIRINOV FIRST+
  • 1 Month access to Pix4Dag

[1]Please check local regulations before flying.

Image credits: Bas Czerwinski/AFP/Getty Images

The world has been experiencing the growth of smartphone popularity, a technology which has changed our lives drastically during the last ten years. Probably in the near future human beings will be ousted by robots and Artificial Intelligence. But the next decade will definitely be a decade of drones.

Both large companies and ordinary users will be able to afford to buy drones due to extensive manufacturing. Powerful batteries will increase the time UAVs can spend in the air. Drones are expected to become independent, and turn into life-changing sky robots. What will be their application?

Courier Drone

Image credits:

It comes without saying, one of the primary functions of drones is delivering goods. And Amazon is undoubtedly a pioneer in this industry. Rest assured, sooner or later other delivery companies will follow this example; they will use drones to bring products and small items to their customers’ homes.

Look up. Now you can see just few drones in the sky. But in a decade people will have to launch a drone managing system to avoid crashes. Actually, a draft project of such system is already is the works by Amazon. The idea is to divide aerial space into two zones (so called “corridors”). The lower one (below 60m) will be used by drones of moderate speed covering short distances while drones traveling for long distances will be able to fly in the higher one (60m+). These devices shouldn’t exceed the limit of 120m height to avoid crashes with planes. And of course, navigation systems should be improved for the same reason.


Think of two devices a journalist uses. Let me guess – did you think about a camera and a voice recorder? Probably a smartphone? But in a year or two you won’t be able to imagine a journalist without a drone. Lots of investigative reports are already using drones for aerial shooting. It’s no wonder Missouri University has introduced a drone course on its journalism faculty.

Nowadays only big news agencies use drones to report on natural catastrophes, wars or riots but who knows, maybe tomorrow even boring local events won’t do without drones.

Aerial shooting is a big advantage, but there is one more thing journalists appreciate above all. Drones are quick, and there are no traffic jams in the sky so they will get to the needed place faster than a car with a shooting team in a big city.

Medical drone

Image credits: Bas Czerwinski/AFP/Getty Images

And again, imagine a big city during rush hour, with ambulances in traffic jams… Drones are essential to save lives. And this drone, Ambulance Drone, has been already built in the Netherlands. One can find the necessary set of medical devices aboard, including a defibrillator in case of cardiac arrest. The only thing you need is to dial a number. But the drone just carries medical equipment, so there still needs to be human on the scene to provide first aid according to a doctor’s instructions given by phone. The drone is equipped with a microphone, speaker and camera.

Agricultural Drone

Humanity has finally gotten its chance to turn deserts into blossoming gardens and fields. Tackling the problem of irrigation now is easier than ever before due to agricultural drones. Both delivering water and irrigation can be done with the use of UAVs controlled via mobile app. No time to go to your field and check if the crop is ok? Again, drones are here at your service to do the job instead. Moreover, this device conducts soil analysis or scanning crops for pests and infections. Mapping software for agricultural drones will be able to collect data about fertilizers’ effect on plants and predict poor outcomes.


You don’t need to be a fortune-teller to predict the behavior of an average tourist. Every person wants to take pics of the major attractions or use these attractions as a background for selfies. No matter how long your monopod is you are still not able to capture the whole scenery. Selfie-drones are gradually entering everyday life; you can see them flying above places of interest. Don’t want to spend money on buying one? Rent it!

The pace of mobile software development is so fast that soon it’ll be enough merely to open an app, make an order and a drone will come to you in no time to make a great photo. This app is supposed to choose the best angle for a shot too, so you don’t need to worry over such trifles.

Sounds impossible? Swiss ski resort Verbier is among the first to adopt this novelty. Despite takeoff and landing still being controlled by a pilot, this drone follows a person who rented it to make videos and pictures. And in 2 hours you get your media materials!

However, mind that the resort banned using personal drones in light of security considerations.

Drone! Heel!

Image credits: Design Boom Magazine

We are addicted to our smartphones, and they have become a part of our lives as they give us lots of conveniences. Communication, photos, videos, games, books… The list of options is immense. Soon drones will become smart as well, giving us a chance to take selfies from a height or find the way home in new place, be it a city or a forest. Wanna check a road for traffic jams? Send your drone ahead your car and get the info in no time.

Drones as wearables? Why not? Have a look at Nixie resembling a wristwatch. Wear your drone or simply pack it into the car trunk, and it will be able to keep you company any time you need it.

But let’s put our jokes and predictions aside; here is a proof that drones are entering our routine – regulations. Want to fly a drone? Then you need to pass an exam and get a certificate. Authorities have even passed special laws to control drone usage. No cakewalk!

By Julia Kravchenko

Partner at Qubit Labs, tech-savvy blogger interested in IT.

ARDEN HILLS, Minn. – Land O’Lakes, Inc. is calling on innovators from the tech industry to enter the Land O’Lakes Prize: Drone Challenge, a crowdsourcing competition designed to develop proposed solutions that enable scalable, autonomous drone usage in precision agriculture. A prize of $140,000 will be awarded to a grand prize winner who is found to meet all the requirements of the challenge, and two $5,000 prizes are available to two runners up. Winners will retain intellectual property rights to the solutions they develop to help farmers use drone technology more effectively.

In connection with HeroX, which democratizes the innovation model of XPRIZE through a platform and process that can lead to breakthrough innovation, Land O’Lakes, a Fortune-200 farm-to-fork cooperative, hopes to surface valuable, user-friendly drone solutions that will enable farmers to make better decisions for their crops as they work to produce more food to feed more people. Today’s drone solutions require a great deal of time and effort in the data collection and processing workflow, which greatly decreases the desire and ability of farmers to tap into the potential benefits.

“We’re offering the Land O’Lakes Prize to accelerate the development of drones for the ag industry. We believe with a few more years of work and the direction we’re providing, backed by insights from our network of 300,000 farmers, we can create a marketplace for drones that ultimately creates better solutions for the farming community,” said Mike Macrie, chief information officer for Land O’Lakes.

As a farmer-owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes offers its member-owners a rich Ag Tech portfolio through its Geosys and WinField® United businesses, including tools like R7® by WinField. Combining this world class imagery and existing precision agriculture tools with an automated, scalable drone solution has the potential to provide even more valuable decision making data to farmers.

“Drones don’t offer a good return on investment for farmers today,” said Mike Vande Logt, EVP and COO for WinField United. “A farmer has to get to the field, launch the drone, take the pictures, pack up, download the data, stitch the images together, then figure out what the images are telling him…it’s time consuming and the applications are difficult to use.”

Innovators have until Aug. 1, 2017 to enter. The new drone hardware and software solutions being sought will solve critical issues for farmers. They will limit the need for human involvement in field data collection, decrease the time needed to access crop imagery and improve the ability for a farmer to make decisions based on field health data. Eligibility and complete guidelines are available here:

Working with judges from the University of Minnesota and WinField United ag tech experts, Land O’Lakes will invite finalists to attend a live demonstration event at an FAA approved test location. Performance at this live demonstration event will support the determination of prize winners.

About Land O’Lakes, Inc.  
Land O’Lakes, Inc., one of America’s premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods. With 2015 annual sales of $13 billion, Land O’Lakes is one of the nation’s largest cooperatives, ranking 215 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 95 years of operation, Land O’Lakes today operates some of the most respected brands in agribusiness and food production including LAND O LAKES® Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition, WinField United and Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN®. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land O’Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, Minn.


About HeroX
Founded in 2013, HeroX exists at the intersection of crowdsourcing, competition and collaboration. The HeroX crowdsourcing platform brings together global communities of problem solvers to deliver breakthrough solutions to social, economic, and strategic challenges.

It is well accepted that drones are going to be a big part of agriculture from here on out. There are many options on the market for farmers looking to make use of drone technology to monitor crop health. Foremost among these is Skycision, creators of a software program to allow drones to collect multispectral imagery of farm fields. I had a chance to talk with Brendan Carroll, founder of Skycision, to learn more about what exactly it is they offer, and what makes them leaders of their, ahem, field.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background. How did you get into drones?

My background was as an IT Advisory Consultant for a Big 4 Firm, Ernst & Young,  where I worked over a number of large corporate accounts, and I eventually transitioned into a career working for a large Investment Bank in New York, Credit Suisse. Amidst my work in the Financial Services industry, I had gone back to school for my Masters at Carnegie Mellon, the #1 ranked Information Systems program in the country.

My degree at CMU had strong core competencies in Data Analytics, and in my final semester I took a course in Entrepreneurship for High Growth companies taught by a local VC. At the time, there was a lot of buzz in the air about the capability for Amazon to leverage drones in delivery capacity. Intrigued, I began exploring drone delivery for pharmaceutical products to rural customers that did not have access to amenities so many enjoy in the city, and quickly became completely absorbed with the potential of drones for commercial applications in the enterprise.

The idea was ahead of its time and was a logistics nightmare at that point in time. However, in the customer discovery process, many of the people we spoke with were farmers. We realized they had bigger problems that included losing crop yield to undetected threats, environmental regulations that were strictly enforced, and antiquated software systems. I knew the application for drones in rural America was not within pharmaceutical delivery, but within aerial monitoring for the agriculture industry.

The pivot commenced, the genesis of Skycision was had, and we’ve been working at helping our farmers ever since.


What is Skycision? How does it work?

Skycision provides a service to farmers that helps them turn any off-the-shelf DJI drone into a field scout’s favorite tool in detecting areas of crop stress.

We’ve created a mobile flight planning application that creates flight plans for our farmers’ fields. Depending on the type of sensor and altitude the drone is flying at, the camera is told when and where to take photographs by the application, so the farmer doesn’t have to do any work. Those photos are uploaded to our web platform, calibrated, and stitched into one georeferenced map showing farmers a bird’s eye view of their fields, as well as identifying areas of crop stress.

What problem in the drone/agriculture industry are you a solution for? What advantages do you offer compared to other competitors?

In the U.S. today, farmers average a loss of approximately 6% of their crops annually due to undetected threats such as pest, disease, molds, blight, water stress, and the list goes on. The average farming outfit will spend close to 1,000 hours / year scouting their fields, and if done by foot and truck, cover less than 5% of their total acreage. The areas where samples are generalized, are the areas most susceptible to these threats.

Skycision provides a monitoring solution that leverages aerial multispectral imagery in completely covering a farmer’s field in detecting areas of early crop stress. Costs of scouting are reduced, yields are enhanced since threats can be identified and mitigated more comprehensively, and ultimately, the grower’s bottom line is enhanced.

Traditionally, imagery up until recently has been captured by satellite, and in some cases, by plane. The quality of these platforms compared to a drone are highly inferior. The drone provides the quality of resolution necessary for a grower to see his crops down to the leaf level. This is used by different growers in a number of capacities from spotting irrigation leaks to enabling services like ours to provide crop counts. These vital statistics help dictate growing efficacy on a per acre basis and help to extract the total value of an imaging investment on the part of the grower.

Unfortunately for our competitors still manufacturing drones, the industry is consolidating. DJI has pretty much commoditized their platform and are offering it at such an affordable cost point that any farmer can adopt. Our integration with DJI allows us to ensure the best hardware and support to any grower on the market, as well as premium analytics capabilities with our services. Further, our radical focus on the quality of true multispectral imagery has allowed us to extract more agricultural insights from our imagery than any other company that has tried to integrate with DJI. It has put us in a position to be the most accessible and premium aerial analytics solution on the market for our growers, and we’re enthused about the work we have done, and are planning to do.


What has the process of development been like for you, obstacles and successes?

At Skycision, we’re radically focused on customer success. Instead of working to scale a 20/80 solution as quickly as we can, we’ve gone the extra mile in making sure the process is seamless for every customer we work with. Agriculture is not a one size fits all business and you really have to make sure that an aerial monitoring solution is not just a mapping solution to find product market fit with our customers.

Every major success we’ve had on the development side has come from an obstacle that we overcame, and there have been a number of them. One perfect example is the capability for drones to cover vineyards that are growing on steep hills. No other company doing aerial monitoring has drones that can fly some of the steep 30 degree inclines in the Napa Valley where some of the most premium wines in the world are grown.

Another area where the commercial drone industry falls short, is the calibration of their imagery. Stress detection is done by measuring the reflectance of different light spectra and their interaction with one another. Well, on a really bright day you can imagine the values of light reflectance are radically different than on a very cloudy day. On the bright day, the crops look as if they are thriving, on the cloudy day, they look as if they are all dead. This is a constant complaint from farmers about other providers, and a solution we have offered that has been strongly received.

What equipment are you using? Why did you decide to go with that option?

As mentioned earlier, we’re leveraging DJI’s suite of drones with an off-the-shelf 3rd party multispectral camera. We do a custom integration to ensure the sensor and the drone work with each other seamlessly to preserve the highest standards of data integrity.


What is your vision for Skycision over the next 1-2 years? How do you plan to keep reaching forward?

Skycision’s highly scalable business model will enable us to continue to rapidly acquire market share while scaling at an international level. In the process, we anticipate taking on a number of strategic partnerships with key players in our core market segments.

With that said, we’ve been talking about drones, the problems faced by our growers, and how our solution addresses their needs, but there is an even larger macro picture.

See, as a population, we face massive issues with Climate Change and Global Food Security. 2005, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016 have all been the hottest year on record. Increases in heat have a direct impact on the progression of crop phenology, as well as increases in breakouts of pests and disease, meaning that crop loss has a direct correlation to Climate Change. Further, we’re adding 2B people to the population by 2050 and we have to increase our food production by 70% to feed it. We either have to change the way we farm, or find a way to do it better. Skycision is inserting itself at the global stage to figure out how we can find a way to do it better, especially in economically under privileged 3rd world countries.


How do you envision your company helping to promote and develop the drone industry?

While Skycision is a major player in the drone industry, our focus is on what can be done with aerial data collected by the drone. This means our largest consideration has to be accessibility to our client base. Those politicians making the regulations on commercial drone usage have to know the stories of our growers and what they face on a seasonal basis, and how critical services like ours can be in helping them to enhance their bottom line.

Further, companies like ours have to be radical evangelists of regulations that advance commercial drone usage when they are reasonable for the industry. At the end of the day, we hope to be the voice of the 2.1M farmers that dot the US landscape when the US considers regulations for the global agriculture industry. In the future, we hope to be an influencer as later adopting countries roll out their national and local drone regulations.


Anything else you would like to add?

If anyone reading this post would like to get in touch with us for anything from adopting as a customer, brainstorming strategic partnerships, seeking job opportunities, aligning academic research, or even potential investment, please feel free to fill out the form on our website: and I’ll be sure to get in touch to discuss opportunities in greater depth.

In part 1 of this mini-series we went over why it makes sense in agriculture to import images directly to Pix4Dag Desktop. We concluded that when you’re in the field without a good network connection, importing images to desktop takes nearly no time in comparison to the hours you might spend uploading images to the cloud.

In Part 2, we talk about the next step: real processing in the field. The main question people ask is this: How much time does it take to get results?

In order to test this, we used an agriculture dataset that covers 45 acres (18 hectares), which falls exactly in the average for European field size. This is the kind of field where processing on the spot matters the most, as its smaller size means what you learn on the NDVI map can be applied right away. Larger fields may involve a little more in the way of logistics.

The dataset has 388 Sequoia multispectral images (red, green, red-edge and near infrared). For the sake of the experiment, we processed on 3 different computers: a processing desktop, a good laptop, and an average laptop. We wanted to make sure that everyone finds a time that’s relatable for them.

As you can see below, the computer used to process matters, but even using a laptop that covers our minimum requirements already gives you an NDVI map in less than 30 minutes from drone landing.

“For scouting operations, it’s really helpful if I can go scout right after a flight. It allows me to plan the scouting accordingly, focusing where it matters.” — Nathan Stein, Pix4D power user

For Nathan, remote sensing data has a shelf life — it needs to be delivered as soon as possible. One of the things he tells other growers about drones is that while the drone, camera, etc of course are important, what you really need to understand is the ability of drones to fly precisely at a moment of stress or a problem. Fast processing enables quick reactions, faster treatment, less damage, and more profit.

In Perspective

Simply uploading images to the cloud so you can start processing can take 2–3 hours in many rural areas, compared to the “instant” import time for desktop. The average cloud processing time we’ve seen for a dataset around the size of our example was 17 min. Indeed similar to what we see on desktop processing, the only “drawback” the upload time.

With the onset of cloud-based apps and map processing, some assume being in the cloud is the fastest way to get results. However, you need to consider your access to a good connection, queue time, processing time, etc.

Pix4Dag desktop processing is unlimited, you can process as many images and as many datasets as you want.

Desktop is essential because it offers processing in the field anytime, when a poor connection renders even cloud uploading painful. However, the cloud has tremendous value where it makes sense in agriculture. It’s a powerful ag ally when it comes to sharing, and that’s why we also have Pix4Dag Cloud, the perfect platform to ensure everyone is informed, and indispensable when you do not have your own processing hardware.

. . . . . .

For the Part 3 in this series, we’ll touch on all the analysis option Pix4Dag offers. Stay tuned.

New to drone mapping or Pix4D? Get a free trial of Pix4Dag HERE. 🌿

The marketplace for drones is exploding with growth. According to PriceWaterCoopers House, the commercial and hobbyist drone market will expand to over $127 billion by 2020 – an absolutely staggering figure when the current market valuation – $2 billion – is taken into account. What can possibly account for a predicted 6000% growth spike?

Simple. Drones are going to change the world. And we’ve got a list of 6 ways drones and related technologies will shape your future – and the future of our planet.


As drones become more popular – both among hobbyists and professionals – the cost of developing, designing, and manufacturing them is on the decline.

This is due mainly to streamlined production processes, standardized manufacturers, and an economy of scale leading to higher quality, less expensive drone components – these savings are then passed on to the consumer, meaning a quality, inexpensive product that soon may be affordable to just about everybody.

It’s not just consumers, though – many businesses are now looking to drones to change the game, given their low cost. With the FAA beginning a commercial drone pilot program in 2016, it seems that the low cost and incredible versatility of drones are going to lead to a very diverse, exciting world for commercial drone pilots.


More and more, drones are being used to go places where people and other aircraft can’t – due to high costs, dangers to human life or expensive equipment, or small areas that aren’t conducive to other methods of exploration.

Because of this, drones are being used in novel and intriguing ways – such as to take samples and capture footage of live volcanoes where no human or aircraft could dare to tread.

Other unique drones used for these sorts of purposes include the AquaMAV – a winged drone modeled after seabirds that can both take to the skies and plunge to icy depths – and return in one piece. This drone, developed by a team at Imperial College in London, is a prototype designed to test the feasibility of using aquatic drones to gather water samples from hard-to-reach areas, or from hazardous sites like oil or chemical spills that would otherwise be off-limits or too costly to reach.

Drones are also being used to survey the sites of natural disasters, using video capture technology, in order to quickly get a better idea of conditions on the ground, and allow first responders to gather appropriate information to dispatch as quickly, efficiently, and effectively as possible.

Drones are also being used in humanitarian missions by the UN, to keep an eye on rebel fighters in war-torn regions of the globe, such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in Rwanda. These eyes-in-the-sky serve as a powerful reminder that UN Peacekeepers are watching, and provide safe and cost-effective monitoring of the situations on the ground.


Recently, a pilot program in Massachusetts launched, incorporating an $18,000 investment in top-of-the-line drones. These drones are mainly being used to help identify, reconstruct, and clear the sites of traffic accidents, and help get a bird’s-eye view of the scene without the requirement of an expensive helicopter.

The utilization of these drones is still fairly basic, but law enforcement officers around the nation express interest in the use of drones for monitoring, suspect tracking and engagement, and emergency/disaster response tools.

The information gathering ability of drones, combined with their low cost and high maneuverability and small size, could make them indispensable to the law-enforcement agencies of the future.


Drones are being viewed with increasing interest by farmers interested in high-tech solutions to age-old problems – such as getting an idea about what areas of their crops are struggling and dispensing necessary solutions such as fertilizer and pesticides. According to the MIT Technology review, drones have a high potential to be game changers in the farming community, especially as cheap automation and lower drone prices make these tools more available both in the US and worldwide.

Using fleets of drones with high-resolution cameras flying above their fields, farmers can get an economically efficient idea of how their crops are doing, at a much higher resolution than satellite photos – and a much lower cost than standard aerial photography, which can run at $1000/hour at the low end, and be obstructed by clouds.

There are three main benefits to this – first, seeing crops from the air can reveal problems that are immediately apparent to a farmer’s trained eye – poor irrigation, fungal or pest attacks, and other common issues that crop up when farming.

Second, these aerial cameras can capture images not only from the standard spectrum but with infrared cameras and other tools, allowing a clearer picture of crops and their health than can be achieved with the naked eye.

Third, drones can be automated to scan crops weekly, daily, or even hourly – providing farmers with great, real-time information about their crops that was previously impossible to gather.

And while most applications of drones as actual plant fertilizers or pesticide sprayers are mostly in test stages right now, farm kids of the future may get used to seeing dozens of tiny drones spraying their crops hourly or daily, buzzing around the farm in automated groups and returning to shelters and hutches to recharge until the next rotation.


Most are probably familiar with Amazon’s pilot drone delivery service which was, unfortunately, mostly quashed by the FAA’s new drone piloting guidelines. But while automated last-mile delivery may be a bit far off for the average consumer in the US, it’s being used in many extreme environments around the world – to great success.

In Switzerland, for example, drones are being used to deliver packages to hard-to-reach areas by the Swiss Postal service. Isolated Swiss villages and hamlets up in the mountains are often quite hard to reach via traditional methods, and these drones could help augment standard delivery services in the most remote areas, or when rush delivery is required – such as with medical supplies or other urgent information or packages.

And speaking of medical supplies – Malawi has begun, in partnership with UNICEF a trial program slated for early 2016 that will be used to help fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic that affects so many children in the country.

By using drones as a method by which to deliver the blood of newborn and young children to testing centers, the Malawian government hopes to decrease the time it takes to analyze blood samples and discover the HIV/AIDS virus – a process which can take up to several weeks when the samples are delivered by truck or motorbike.

It is urgent and important that these children get treatment as soon as possible, and the Malawian government has already completed several test trials of 10km deliveries of medical supplies to a local hospital.

In addition, these drones can be used to image natural disasters, such as droughts and flooding that are common in the region.

Further trials and the beginning of the program in earnest will begin in early 2017, and the success of this project is sure to lead to many more like it in the poorest, most needy nations on our planet.


As the FAA passed the first regulations for commercial drone pilots last year, nearly 30,000 drone pilots have been certified as commercially licensed pilots, and the sector is slated to grow to close to 100,000 jobs over the next few years. Since almost all commercial drones will require a pilot within line-of-sight due to the regulations passed, this market will only grow.

Chiefly, these jobs are predicted to be imaging jobs – land surveying, cinematography, extreme sports and outdoor imagery, and other such applications are likely to keep growing as drones drop in price and increase in video quality and fidelity, but as time goes on, we’re also likely to see these drones used in industrial applications, such as surveying factories and other large projects.

As drones continue to advance, it gets harder to predict what, exactly, commercial drone pilots will be expected to do, but if the investment of some top universities like UMA and a multitude of online certification schools are any indicator, drone pilots are certainly going to be in high demand.


This is certainly not the extent of the influence drones will have on the planet – indeed, it’s hard to predict how this technology will change the world, given its mass availability and customization to nearly any task that would previously have required a massive investment in an airplane or helicopter.

So no matter how drones change the world, you’ll want to keep an eye on this industry and keep learning about drones, their capabilities, and the ways in which they can be used to further the advancement of governments, businesses – and even mankind.

Guest Post by Admir Tulic

Tulic is a hobby dronist who runs 2 IG drone community pages and a website ( on drones.