What Our Customers Have Learned About Launching a Drone Inventory Platform

Drones are more affordable than ever. Drones costing $30,000 or more just 3 years ago are now available for $1,500. What does it really cost to fly a drone or start an in-house drone program? Wouldn’t it be great to know what you don’t know before you make the decision? Continue reading to gain valuable insight into the pros and cons of flying a drone.

Continue reading “What Our Customers Have Learned About Launching a Drone Inventory Platform”

2016: Stockpile Reports Predicts It Will Be The Year of the Drone

Did you know that the FAA predicted there would be at least 1 million drones gifted during 2015’s holiday season? Drones were the must-have toy for 2015. If you live near a park, parking lot or open space, chances are high that someone is probably flying, or trying to fly a new drone there right now.

Stockpile Reports predicts that 2016 will be The Year of the Drone for businesses. Stockpile measurement by UAV will assist site inventory for mining, aggregates and construction companies in 2016.

Recreational drones arrived in many sizes, from big to small, this Christmas. This is a micro drone quadcopter.
Recreational drones arrived in many sizes, from large to small, this Christmas. This is a micro drone quadcopter.

Soaring Sales

The demand for recreational drones made them the a very popular toy for 2015. They are easily available, come in multiple shapes and sizes, and are relatively inexpensive. For example, you can even buy one at Macy’s. Recreational drones use sophisticated technology, requiring little to no training to operate.

It is much easier to buy a drone than it is to fly it. Here are some of the steps new drone users need to take before flying their drone:

1. Read the guide

2. Charge the batteries for the drone and controller

3. Install the app if it is a camera drone

4. Get the app to work with the drone. You might need to install an update.

5. You may want to register the drone with the manufacturer

6. Register your drone with the FAA

The FAA recently required that drones weighing more than .55 pounds and less than 55 pounds must be registered. That includes adding the weight of a camera to it. The FAA points out if your drone weighs more than two sticks of butter, you should register it.

Images: Drones are rapidly becoming an accepted stockpile measurement tool for mining, aggregates and construction companies.
Drones are rapidly becoming an accepted stockpile measurement tool for mining, aggregates and construction companies.

Soaring Interest in Flying for Business Purposes

Stockpile Reports  has observed a huge industry interest in stockpile measurements via Unassisted Aerial Vehicles (also known as drones). We’ve had many questions from our clients, asking our advice about measuring stockpiles with a drone. It’s not uncommon for an aggregates, mining or construction company to have a drone on-site, piloted by an internal resource. Similar to recreational models, purchasers have the ability to purchase whatever drone configuration and model that works best for their locations and needs, while purchase prices continue to drop.

However, companies that wish to fly a drone for business use are required to register with the FAA, and get a Section 333 Exemption. Here is the most recent list provided by the FAA of authorizations granted.

UAVs can be considered as a low-cost alternative to manned aerial photogrammetry, and can be advantageous to use for inspection, surveillance, mapping, and 3D modeling. Stockpile Reports has been measuring stockpiles by drone since 2013, in countries where the practice is already accepted and regulated.

From Your Drone to the CFO

Are you completing site inventory measurements with a drone? You fly the drone, and we’ll provide the report results. Business can process drone imagery with a StockpileReports.com subscription at no extra cost. It is your choice: fly an eBee, Phantom, or other drone type. Upload the data, and we’ll circle the piles for you. It only takes minutes to tag your materials. Measurement results are ready for the CFO, auditors and managers in hours.

Our patented platform provides accurate measurements from airplanes, drones or iPhone images. Stockpile Reports is easy to use, provides quick results in hours, and reduces write-offs. We have more than 120 companies in 14 countries who have measured over 200 million tons of materials utilizing our measurement methods.

If you are also excited about technology and how it can benefit your business, please contact us. We’re happy to talk about our success stories via drone measurement, and our experiences utilizing UAVs around the world.

Yes, You Can Still Be More Productive in 2015!

Have you kept your 2015 resolutions? It isn’t too late. verticalmeasurements

A common theme that we heard from our clients this year, is that they want to increase their productivity.

We understand, because we do, too!

Stockpile Reports put into motion several strategies beginning before January 2015, to increase productivity in 2015.

A Redesigned Stockpiles App

This past year we released a redesigned Stockpiles App for the iPhone, with more tools that makes ground-based stockpile measuring faster and more intuitive for users.

The updated App, in turn, reduced the amount of questions from our clients. The new tools and ease of use gave clients and executives higher confidence in successfully completing a stockpile measurement, time after time after time. That enabled them to be even more productive while measuring piles, in smaller sites and also across a large enterprise.

For example, the Texas Department of Transportation measured thousands of stockpiles during the month of June as part of their annual inventory. The people who performed the measurements weren’t surveyors. They ranged from front-loaders to executives. They were not only very productive (one team measured 185 stockpiles in an hour) but they were also confident in the quality of their report results.

Aerial Offering Takes Off

Stockpile Reports also launched our aerial capability for the US in early 2015. Our aerial offering has become quite successful since then! Subscribers are receiving monthly measurements for the typical price of only one fly-over by other services. This gives them an opportunity to review how a site changes over time, and make future planning easier.

Clients receive the fastest results in the industry — online access to site and stockpile reports are available within hours after the flight. There is no action needed from clients other than tagging materials to the already outlined stockpiles online after the flight. Labor time from clients is reduced drastically— to as low as 20 minutes after an aerial flight.

Debunking Difficult Bunker Measurements

A big source of frustration for our customers was trying to figure out how to get the volume of material stored in their bunkers and bins.

We listened to them, and put our engineers and team members on many different sites across the US, examining various bunker configurations and materials, both indoors and outside.

Typical material stored in bunkers includes:

  • DOT Approved Salt and Sand
  • Recycling- Utilized in the Scrap Metal Industry
  • Aggregates such as Gravel
  • Landscaping/ Nursery Mulches
  • Animal Food
  • Granular Fertilizer- Urea, Ash
  • Livestock Manure Storage
  • Scrap Metal storage
  • Grain

We released another new capability in 2015: bunker and bin measurements using an iPhone. Bunkers containing bulk materials can be located indoors, or outside. Material to be measured may be bounded by 1, 2, or 3 walls in bay areas of varying widths at a typical site.

BYOD: Bring Your Own Drone

All of us saw the explosion of drone usage and interest in 2015. UAVs are now playing an increasing role in company’s strategy for providing rapid turn production and inventory measurements.

Our engineering team has been working closely with drones and remotely piloted vehicles for nearly a decade.  We have seen the ease of use and capabilities increase – while the size and price has dropped dramatically during that time.

Stockpile Reports has been supporting Australian clients by providing stockpile reporting from drone/UAV flights in Australia for 2 years now.

Our US clients can process drone imagery using our company. We are experienced at piloting and operating various models and are also available for consultations. This includes helping you with flight patterns and camera angles.

StockpileReports.com is the only solution to enable enterprise inventory measurements of thousands of geographically disparate stockpiles in hours.  Our support for phones, drones, and planes provides your company the ability to develop a Stockpile Measurement Strategy to meet your business goals and improve your productivity.

Connect with us today. 2016 is almost here. You still have time to achieve your 2015 goal to measure and manage your stockpile inventory more productively!

Thinking Big

Our customers like to think big. By that, we mean BIG.

Rock Products Sept 2015 magazine issue features the Top 100 Crushed Stone Producers. We do business with over 25% of the major producers on that list.

The contour lines from a washed sand stockpile recently measured by drone. The pile's tonnage total was over half a million tons: 585,165.
The contour lines from a washed sand stockpile recently measured by drone. The pile’s tonnage total was over half a million tons: 585,165.

Those clients aren’t satisfied with what is the ‘norm’. Business as usual isn’t providing the data needed fast enough, with report accuracy that the CFO can count on.

They looked for new measurement solutions and discovered us.

Stockpile Reports’ continued success is due to our accuracy, fast reporting and also for the flexibility it gives clients such as the Texas Department of Transportation. The TxDOT utilizes Stockpile Reports’ platform state-wide for measurements. The platform supports measurements using  iPhone, drone and plane data.

The demand for fast results and measurements in a myriad of configurations has certainly kept us on our toes! There are some BIG stockpiles out there, in many various configurations. Our team has literally viewed thousands of different stockpiles now, and unsurprisingly many present big challenges for measurement.

Some of those piles are too large to measure with an iPhone. Some are next to water. Some are in very busy environments with lots of truck traffic.

The reconstructed point cloud made from the drone's flight data.
The reconstructed point cloud made from the drone’s flight data.

And some clients not only want one site measured, they want their entire enterprise measured at once, across states. We’re talking thousands of piles. That’s big.

That’s a reason why we are excited that clients are beginning to utilize UAVs (drones) for measurement, and also why we offer site measurements by aerial. The average labor time for clients who utilize aerials for measurements is 20 minutes. That’s not big at all— but the time saved, and the reporting data resulting from using aerials IS big.

Here’s a stat that keeps getting bigger: so far, iPhone measurements have been performed by 967 unique users from 264 companies.

Do you want to think big, and try new methods of stockpile measurements for your company? Contact us. If you do, you’ll also discover another reason why our business is growing. We’re nice people, too.

What is in Your Future?

We love the summer months. Customers are busy and we are, too. Client measurement totals for a recent week illustrates this clearly: over 500 stockpile measurements were made using the iPhone, aerial and drone, at over 100 different sites!

Did you know that the Stockpile Reports system supports multiple measurement methods? Although we are proud of our patent-pending iPhone® App and how easy it is to use, no two sites, nor two stockpiles are alike. Different piles each have varying measurement and access challenges. Your business receives accurate volume and tonnage reports for sites using the method that works best for that location and pile placement.

That’s why we also offer aerial measurements by plane or drone for subscribers. Consider using regular aerial measurements once a month for an entire site, and the iPhone for spot-checking individual stockpiles.

Tracking your stockpile inventory from month to month isn’t impossible. Let us take the guesswork out of the process, and make the future a little more predictable.

Our system is the only way to measure 100% of your site’s stockpiles, with online results available for view in 24-hours via our web portal. This enables your business get the best of ground and air for stockpile measurements.

Did you know that beyond the point of measurement, the Stockpile Reports platform also supports online reconciliation? This provides the data to the CFO quickly and consistently. Here is a shortcut to more information about our custom reports.

If you are a Quarry Manager, an Operations Manager, a Construction Sales Managers or a CFO and want easy, accurate measurements please connect with us. The Stockpile Reports team is ready to help.

 

BYOD: Bring Your Own Drone

The Past

The technology might seem new, but the concept is not. chasThe earliest recorded use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for warfighting occurred on August 22, 1849, when the Austrians attacked the Italian city of Venice with unmanned balloons loaded with explosives.

Later on, balloons were flown in the U.S. Civil War in 1862, with both Confederate and Union forces using them for reconnaissance and bombing sorties.

Although balloons do not generally meet today’s definition of a UAV, the concept was strong enough that once winged aircraft had been invented, the effort to fly them unmanned for military purposes came quickly. The first pilotless aircraft were built during and shortly after World War I.

The Present

Did you know that you can process drone imagery using our company?

Our team has been working closely with drones and remotely piloted vehicles for nearly a decade.  We have seen the ease of use and capabilities increase – while the size and price has dropped dramatically over the past 10 years.

Stockpile Reports has been supporting Australian clients by providing uavblogstockpile reporting from drone/UAV flights in Australia for nearly 2 years. Our clients’ quarry sites are busy, and spread out geographically across the country. This limits the amount of stockpiles and locations that can be surveyed by more traditional methods in limited time periods. Clients use our iPhone Application for spot-measuring stockpiles, but is often impractical and sometimes dangerous to walk around a large site for monthly or quarterly stockpile measurements.

Many of our clients utilize planes for aerial stockpile measurements. However, factors including lower costs, longer-lasting and lighter-weight batteries, powerful processing, more accurate GPS, and updated FAA regulations, are increasing the desire for drone surveys from our American customers. They are buying many models, including the eBee, the Aibotix, DJI Phantom, and 3D Robotics IRIS.

Fly Your Drone

Stockpile Reports works closely with our customers, ensuring that the data gained from drones captures optimal imagery, generating excellent results. We are experienced at piloting and operating various models and are available for consultations. This includes helping you with flight patterns and camera angles.

After your flight, simply upload the data captured by your camera into our system for processing via computer.

Clients receive the fastest results in the industry — online access to site and stockpile reports from drone flights typically are available within hours after the data upload. You can easily download, view and share the resulting stockpile volumes of your site online!

StockpileReports.com is the only solution to enable enterprise inventory measurements of thousands of geographically disparate stockpiles in hours.  Our support for phones, drones, and planes provides your company the ability to develop a Stockpile Measurement Strategy to meet your business goals.

Drones will play an important role in your strategy for providing rapid turn production and inventory measurements. Contact us for more information—we’d be delighted to tell you more about recent site and stockpile measurements using UAVs.

Measuring Bunker Materials with an iPhone

Customers have collected over 15,000 stockpile measurements using an iPhone!Image of bunker measurement

That’s a lot of stockpile reports, especially considering that our company is new to the stockpile measurement industry. Our patent-pending application and platform is now being utilized by top aggregate producers, construction and mining companies around the globe.

Stockpile Reports continues to grow and develop new business applications based on our computing platform.

We provide stockpile measurements via imagery collected by aerial and drone photography. This is a great option for monthly, or quarterly site-wide inventory measurements.

Now, after months of development testing, we’re offering measurements of material that is stored in bunkers for customers. This capability was rolled out as part of our newly updated Stockpiles App.

Bunkers can be located either indoors, or outside. Material to be measured may be bounded by 1, 2, or 3 walls, in bay areas of varying widths.

Measurement report results are ready within 24-hours of data upload, and can be viewed directly from our iPhone App or online.

Read more about bunker measurements and reports, or contact us for more detail.