Drone U's Accident-Mapping Class
RotorDrone|January/ February 2019

ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH DRONE mapping may understand the long list of complex nuances of acquiring and processing 3D models using aerial photography.

Paul Aitken

Drone mapping may be complex, but accident-scene reconstruction using drone mapping adds an entirely new level of intricacy. With crash-scene reconstruction, accuracy must be exact when court decisions depend on the data. Drone U may have made learning easier by gamifying the drone training experience.

While pilots may make drone mapping flights look easy, data processing usually accounts for 80 percent of the time necessary to complete a drone map. It follows, then, that learning how to process aerial images to create drone maps accounts for a large majority of training pilots. This is where most training falls short. Typically, drone-training programs primarily focus on processing drone images to create maps without teaching students a practical acquisition strategy to acquire the data necessary to process these maps. To help solve this challenge, Drone U partnered with Pix4D to offer an accident-scene reconstruction class where drones were used to map plane and helicopter crashes. The training took place at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) training academy, and students had the unique opportunity to fly and map a Cessna plane crash and a helicopter crash. Students completed three practical missions that focus on unique aspects of drone mapping acquisition strategy.

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