Introducing: The New and Improved Aerial Dashboard

Updated 6/11th, 2019:

Stockpile Reports released a major update on Friday, June 7th, giving you the power to schedule all of your aerial inventory flights for a whole year across your entire company with one click. Here are just a few features we added to the aerial dashboard:

  • Streamlined Flight Scheduling
  • Clear Checkmark Based Full-Service Flight Monitoring
  • Simplified Self-Service Flight Monitoring

Check out a sneak peek of the new, powerful flight scheduling and monitoring features:


Streamlined Flight Scheduling

Request a Full Service Flight Scheduler

You can schedule flights for all your sites, across your entire company, all at once with a single click. Choose the sites, desired date, and frequency then click submit and you’re done! 


Clearer Full-Service Flight Monitoring

Flight Monitoring Dashboard

Scheduled flight statuses are easier to monitor with a checklist style interface. You will be able to check on the status of any full-service flight in seconds.


Simplified Self-Service Flight Monitoring

Self Service Flight Monitoring

You will always be up to date on the status of flights you and your team perform. 


Still not convinced that Stockpile Reports’ new aerial dashboard will simplify your inventory management? Check out our short video showing you the difference between flying sites yourself vs scheduling full-service flights through the Stockpile Reports Aerial Dashboard.

To learn more about how Stockpile Reports can simplify your stockpile inventory management plan, contact us and we will match you with an inventory management specialist who will custom tailor a demo for your organization.

3 Reasons DOTs Should Measure Stockpile Inventory with an iPhone

Statewide Departments of Transportation have a unique challenge when it comes to measuring stockpiles. Unlike aggregates or ready-mix producers who have all of their stockpiles in a few locations, DOTs have hundreds of stockpiles scattered around thousands of miles of highway. On top of the geographic challenge, the stockpiles are often located close to busy highways where car and truck traffic pose extra safety risks to surveyors.

Despite the unique challenges that DOTs face, transportation departments are required to keep an accurate and up to date inventory of their stockpile inventory. Fortunately, advancing technology plays a large role in aiding states governments with tracking stockpile inventory.

The most popular tool for measuring stockpile inventory in the past couple of years has been the drone. However, we have three compelling reasons why an iPhone is the best choice for measuring DOT stockpiles.

Reason #1: Easy to Deploy

One of the biggest advantages to using an iPhone as a stockpile measurement tool is the fact that you most likely already have one at each site. Your IT department will have no issues buying and deploying an iPhone on the occasion that you don’t already have one available.

All you need to measure a stockpile is an iPhone, 2 safety cones, and a tape measure.

Unlike drones, most people already know how to operate an iPhone. The learning curve for training is minimal. More importantly, your employees will not have to get certified by the FAA to fly a drone because they’ll be doing the same measurements with an iPhone alone.

LEARN MORE: Why Companies Need to Part 107 Certify Their Drone Pilots

The need to have your pilots FAA certified means that you will have a limited number of employees who can fly a drone to measure stockpiles. This can be burdensome when a crew of pilots has to drive hundreds of miles between stockpile yards. This problem is easily solved by deploying an iPhone to each site where employees are already stationed.

Reason #2: You Can Measure Anywhere

An commonly overlooked fact when building an enterprise drone program is that there are many places a drone can’t be legally flown. For example, you can’t fly a drone within 5 miles of a towered airport without permission from air traffic authorities. Also, a drone can’t be flown over moving vehicles. This could cause issues for DOTs measuring stockpiles on the side of a busy highway. Measuring stockpiles with an iPhone skips the hassle of determining where you can and can’t fly the drone. Regardless of your location, you are safe to measure with an iPhone.

READ: No Drone, No Problem with Stockpile Reports

iPhones also can measure stockpiles in poor weather. In fact, Stockpile Reports perfected the iPhone measurement system in the rainy Pacific Northwest. This may be a crucial factor in the winter time when the weather calls for rain and wind. Drones can only fly in light winds and no rain.

Rain and wind is no challenge for the iPhone

Reason #3: iPhones Can Measure Indoor Piles

Indoor piles have traditionally been a big issue for drone measurements. Flying indoors with a drone is risky and often leads to poor outcomes. Surveyors attempting to measure indoors with traditional survey equipment also run into large headaches without the aid of GPS. Measuring stockpiles with an iPhone voids all of these issues.

Salt piles need to be stored under roofs to protect the material from water. iPhone measurement is your only option in these circumstances.

The iPhone is a perfect solution for indoor stockpiles. A typical measurement with the iPhone takes 5 minutes or less. The iPhone can also measure stockpiles with walls around material which is essential for salt sheds. During the winter, DOTs using our service typically measure their covered salt stockpiles on a weekly basis to ensure they don’t run out during a storm event. Even if you could measure covered stockpiles with a drone, getting a drone pilot out to every salt stockpile on a weekly basis would be impossible.

Conclusion

While drones are one of the more popular solutions for stockpile measurement, drones are a great tool for many applications, but not all. There are many circumstances where an iPhone measurement tool makes more logistical sense.

iPhones may not be perceived as accurate, but the TxDOT performed a study on our iPhone measurement service and determined that we were +/- 2% of a lidar scan measurement. This is an incredible outcome and we believe that the iPhone can be a valid and valuable tool for stockpile inventory measurement.

For more information, please contact us and we’d be happy to walk you through our iPhone measurement app for stockpiles.

Why Companies Needs to Part 107 Certify Their Drone Pilots

The first step of creating a drone program at any company is ensuring each pilot has the proper certifications. Clients often ask us if getting certified is necessary since their locations are located far away from airports and urban centers. It is the law to be certified to fly a drone commercially. However, even if it weren’t, we strongly urge clients to become certified for one reason: RISK. In the following article, we are going to explain why commercially certifying your drone pilots is not only the law but also it is necessary to mitigate the exposure to major legal and financial risk.


Skip the FAA Part 107 Certification Process and Have Stockpile Reports Fly For You

Stockpile Reports believes inventory management should be automated across the whole company enabling the workforce to focus on other high-value tasks. We have a network of drone and fixed wings pilots who will measure your inventory without any employees lifting a finger.

If you want to skip the process of building an enterprise drone program at your company, use our pilots instead. Our pilots are experienced, commercially FAA-certified, and insured. To learn more, go here.


What is the Part 107 Commercial Drone Certification?

Any pilot flying a drone for commercial purposes must take a Part 107 certification test from the FAA. According to the FAA’s “Know Before You Fly” website, any commercial drone use in connection with a business needs to be Part 107 certified, including:

  • Selling photos or videos taken from a drone
  • Using a drone to provide contract services, such as industrial equipment or factory inspection
  • Using a drone to provide professional services, such as security or telecommunications
  • Using a drone to monitor the progress of work your company is performing

In other words, if your drone is improving your business, you have to be certified.

The FAA Part 107 website provides all the information you need to know to get started with the process. https://www.faa.gov/uas/commercial_operators/

Besides the Law, Why Should I Get Certified?

Building material companies spend significant time and effort to mitigate risk in their business. Safety programs are implemented and strictly followed to ensure the risk of injury is minimized. Likewise, they also invest in inventory management technology to ensure financial risk is kept at a minimum. The same energy spent on injury and financial risk systems must to be applied to enterprise drone programs. This is where commercial drone pilot certification and insurance comes into play.

Drones used for mapping quarries are small and typically do not weigh more than a few pounds. However, these drones have the potential to cause a large amount of damage to persons and property. In the event that your drone crashes into a vehicle, structure, or a person, your company will need to be protected by insurance to minimize the financial and legal risk.

Obtaining liability insurance for your pilots’ drone operations is inexpensive and an easy process. Options range from short term insurance covering a single flight to long term insurance (think vehicle insurance for your car). Once you have determined which insurance choice best fits your need, the drone pilot will need to provide proof of Part 107 drone certification from the FAA. This is why your pilots need to be certified prior to starting an enterprise drone program.

How to Become a Part 107 Commercially Certified Drone Pilot

The Part 107 drone certification process is similar to obtaining a driver’s license. The pilot will need to pass a 60 question multiple choice test (70% or higher is passing). Self-motivated pilots can study for the test using inexpensive guides for purchase. For pilots who are short on time or needs a more hands-on approach, an online module-based training program or an instructor-led in-person class would be the best option. Online training costs between $250-$500 and instructor-led classes cost around $800 plus travel expenses.

The FAA has excellent information detailing the complete process for obtaining certification: Become a Drone Pilot FAA Website.

Don’t Take The Risk

Those truck drivers are licensed and insured, you should be too!

You would never allow a truck driver to operate on your site without their CDL and insurance. The same goes for drone pilots. At the end of the day, if something goes wrong with a drone flight, your company will be protected by the drone certification in insurance.

If your company is interested in establishing an enterprise drone program, it’s important to consider the financial and legal commitments and associated risks. Stockpile Reports can act as your enterprise drone program, freeing up time, money, and resources to focus on high-value tasks. If you are ready to chat with us, contact us today!

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