Everyone wants to figure out how to provide value with drones.
But here’s the thing: Most drone pilots are frustrated because they feel like the drone services market is “too saturated” and that it’s a “race to the bottom.”
Let me tell you why that’s not true for a certain type of drone pilot…
Successful drone business owners (like our Drone to $1K Podcast guests) got where they are today because they’ve been able to do 2 things:
- Provide a service that their customers couldn’t do on their own, and
- Learn valuable skills that very few people know how to do (which extend beyond just knowing how to fly their drone).
These 2 important aspects are the building blocks for success with a drone services business.
If you can do both of those things – which you can! – you can be successful, too.
If you don’t do these two things… well, here’s an example:
Let’s be honest, there are tons of drone pilots with a Part 107 license who are willing to throw their drone in the air and snap a few shots for dirt cheap…
But unless they have the aerial photography skills to capture amazing drone photos, they’re not building a strong foundation with the 2 building blocks for success.
They’re not providing a service that their customers can’t do on their own – anyone can throw a drone in the air and take a few amateur aerial photos – and they haven’t taken the time and effort to learn quality aerial photography skills.
Plus, because they don’t have those strong drone photography skills, they won’t be able to stand out from the crowd of other drone pilots.
And unfortunately for them, it will probably be a “race to the bottom” situation.
But with drone mapping and modeling, it’s a different story.
Drone mapping and modeling pros use both of the building blocks for success right away because:
- The majority of clients don’t want to invest time and effort into learning how to do drone mapping and modeling themselves, and
- Not many people know how to do drone mapping and modeling. And even if they do claim to know how to create aerial maps and models, they probably don’t do it well – which will make it super easy for you to stand out from your competition.
Because drone mapping and modeling is a skill that takes time to learn and perfect, it’s the perfect niche for drone pilots to break into.
In fact, Drone Analyst conducted a study that found that surveying and mapping is the #1 industry for drone pilots who are making over $100,000/year.
This all sounds great, right?
And it is. It’s an awesome opportunity for drone pilots.
You’re probably thinking about all the reasons why it wouldn’t work for you, right?
Maybe you would love to create maps and models for engineering and construction companies, but you don’t understand what’s important to them or what data you’d need to collect.
Maybe you want to land government contracts, but after looking at the requirements, you think it’s way out of your league.
Maybe you want to start telling people about your drone services (so you can start landing jobs and making money doing something you love), but you just don’t feel confident that you’ll be able to fully explain how drones can help them.
Or maybe you’re really interested in getting started with mapping, but you figure that you’ll probably need a bunch of fancy, expensive equipment.
If you’re thinking about any (or all) of these, you’re not alone. Many drone pilots have the same fears.
Let me tell you why you can easily overcome these questions and fears…
Learning how to create accurate drone maps and models will:
- Help you to immediately stand out from the crowd.
- Show your clients that the value they’ll get from the information and data you provide them with will outweigh the cost of hiring you.
- Give you the knowledge you need to understand any client’s needs AND to collect the data that will help them solve their problems.
- Allow you to gain experience in the field, which will give you the confidence to be able to talk to key decision-makers.
All of these things will help you to land important projects with construction and engineering companies, or even the government.
When it comes to the equipment you’ll need to have success with drone mapping, all you really need is:
- A drone with a decent camera (like a DJI Mavic 2 or a DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0) and
- Mapping and modeling software
And as you learn the fundamentals of drone mapping and modeling, you’ll be able to use free versions of mapping software – so you won’t break the bank when you’re first getting started.
Then, once you start landing jobs and making money, you can upgrade to more advanced, paid versions of the software so you can create even more accurate and detailed reports for your clients.
So, all you need to do to get started is get your drone and software, and then learn how to create maps and models that will be valuable and helpful to your clients.
The only problem is… to provide value to these clients who need your help, you need to know how to collect and process data THE RIGHT WAY.
Now, of course you could just go out and try it for yourself… but that’s probably not going to turn out very well.
Well, first of all (and most importantly), if you don’t know how to fly your drone safely, you could injure yourself or others.
Plus, the clients that need your help (like construction and engineering companies) usually have expensive infrastructure and equipment on their sites. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could damage these costly assets.
You don’t want to be in a situation where you could potentially injure people or damage property because you didn’t learn how to properly collect data.
You’ll also provide little to no value to your clients if you don’t first learn what data you’ll need, and how to actually collect it.
So how do you learn what data you need to collect, how to process it, and how to create detailed, comprehensive reports for clients?
How do you turn drone mapping and modeling into a full-time job that can support you and your family, or a part-time gig that can help you earn some extra money?
Well, let me tell you a story.
Hi, I’m Rut.
I moved from India to the United States in 2015. I had just dropped out of engineering school and didn’t speak English.
When I got here, I got two jobs to make ends meet. During the day, I worked at Dairy Queen. At night, I worked at a warehouse. And on top of that, I was trying to learn how to speak English AND how to fly drones.
But I always had a goal in mind.
I knew that I wanted to start my own business. I just needed to save up enough money to get started.
One morning, as I was driving home from my night shift at the warehouse, I was listening to a podcast about Captain Cortés. Captain Cortés burned his ships to keep his army from retreating. He told them that if they went back, it would be in the enemy’s ships.
That really hit me.
I knew that I needed to go all in with my business.
I “burned my boats” by quitting both of my jobs to focus on building my business full-time.
I had a drone and $3,000 in the bank.
From there, I started out in the real estate industry. But I knew that I didn’t want to stay in real estate forever.
I wanted to use drones to help people solve complex problems.
So, I decided to start looking for drone work in the construction industry.
I realized that I’d probably get a lot of “no”s at first, but I knew that if I could truly understand their biggest challenges and find a way to solve them with drones, I could convince construction companies to give me a chance.
One of the challenges that I initially identified was that companies were hiring expensive planes and helicopters to get aerial footage of their projects so they could see their progress. I knew that drones would save them tons of money. So, I pitched my drone services to a construction company and offered to take progress photos of their site twice a month for $1,000/month. That was a huge savings for them, so they hired me.
Once I started working with construction companies, I found more and more challenges that drones could help them overcome.
My innovative thinking not only landed me more work, but it also helped my clients get truly effective solutions to their problems.
As I continued to gain more experience in the construction industry, I started branching out into other industries, as well, including energy, infrastructure, and agriculture.
I’m always looking for ways to help my clients operate more efficiently. This forward-thinking attitude has helped me to build strong relationships with an array of businesses and land important contacts.
Over the past few years, I’ve been able to vastly expand my businesses. My business is currently making well into the 6 figures each year, and I have been able to hire a team of employees that help me run my business and complete mapping and modeling jobs across the country.
Now, I want to share my knowledge and experience with you so that you can have success with drone mapping and modeling, too!
That’s why I teamed up with Drone Launch Academy to create a course that will teach you everything you need to know to get started in drone mapping and modeling.
Welcome to Drone Mapping and Modeling Fundamentals!
Whether your dream is to quit your job and start a full-time drone business (like I did), or to be able to start a side-hustle to help you make some extra money on top of your current salary, this brand new course will help you get there.
When you enroll in Drone Mapping and Modeling Fundamentals, you’ll get:
- Access to the complete course, which will teach you exactly how to create maps and 2D models with your drone,
- Lifetime access to the course (including future updates!),
- The option to join a cohort of like-minded drone mapping enthusiasts that you can network with and work alongside as you go through the course (which will help to hold you accountable so you can stay on track to finish the course in just 6 weeks), and
- Access to a community of fellow drone mapping students, where you can ask questions, share your work, and network, and more!
Here’s what’s in the course...
- What software you’ll need to use to create maps and models (all of the software we’ll show you is free to use!),
- What photogrammetry is (the process of stitching drone photos together to create maps and models),
- How photogrammetry can be used in many industries (including construction, engineering, agriculture, land surveying, and forensics),
- The terminology that you’ll need to know as you work your way through the course,
- The various reports that you can create with drone mapping and modeling, and
- The equipment you’ll need to be successful.
The fundamentals of data acquisition (which will show you how to capture the data you’ll need to create detailed and accurate maps and models)
- The different types of flight patterns you might use (depending on the type of mission you’re flying)
- Nadir vs. oblique imagery
- What overlap is and how it will affect your maps,
- How to handle changes in the ground’s elevation, and
- What resolution and ground sampling distance (GSD) are and how they will affect your map’s accuracy.
How to understand your client’s needs (so you can land jobs and provide real value for your clients)
- How to be a problem solver,
- How to ask your client/management the right questions, which will help you figure out what they truly need to learn from the map/model you create for them, and
- Also included: A mock call that will show you how to talk with potential clients.
Course mock job project (as you go through the course, you’ll get to work on a mock project, which will help you gain real life experience with drone mapping and modeling)
In the mock project example, you’ll be hired by a home developer who needs you to use your drone to help them with things like:
- A storm water management plan,
- A pollution management plan,
- The number and location of all of the dumpsters and port-a-potties on the site,
- The surface area of the retention ponds on site,
- Progress reports for each lot in the development,
- Inventory management,
- And more.
Completing these mock maps and models will give you the opportunity to practice your skills and get an idea of what real mapping and modeling jobs will be like.
The rest of the course will be based off of this mock project. We’ll walk you through each map and model that you’ll need to create for your home developer client so you can learn exactly how to gather and process all of the necessary data.
- The mission prep checklist you can use before flying your drone for a mapping or modeling mission,
- How to check the weather before flying (so you can make sure that the conditions are safe for drone flight),
- How to check the airspace you’ll be flying in (to make sure that you have permission to fly there), and
- How to conduct a risk assessment.
Creating your flight plan
- How to set up your mission in DroneDeploy,
- What settings to use,
- How to determine the level of accuracy you’ll need for each project, and
- How to use DroneLink.
Flying your mission and collecting your data
- How to fly safely and follow regulations,
- An equipment checklist so you can make sure that you have everything you need to complete your mission,
- How to fly your Nadir mission,
- How to handle any interruptions during your flight, and
- How to review the images you captured.
Processing your data
- An overview of Maps Made Easy,
- How to import and process your drone imagery,
- How to create a post-processing report,
- How to conduct quality and scale checks,
- An explanation of common GIS files and software outputs, and
- How to do manual georeferencing (including how to get reference coordinates, adjust geotags, and review georeferenced files).
Analyzing your data
- How to annotate and place markers on your maps,
- How to get linear and area measurements,
- How to do progress tracking,
- An overview of Google Earth Pro, and
- How to import additional layers (and why you might need them).
Report generation and product delivery
- A complete walkthrough of creating various types of reports for your client or boss,
- How to export and share report files with your boss or client,
- How to embed files on your website, and
- How to deliver your reports.
Full over-the-shoulder walkthrough of another job
Once you’re done learning everything listed above, you’ll get a complete walkthrough of a real life mapping job, from start to finish.
Final course assignment
The final assignment for this course is completing a mock job for a landscaping and pest control company.
For this assignment, you’ll need to find an apartment complex and create an aerial map of it. You’ll collect data about the perimeter of each of the buildings and the total area of grass that would need to be mowed so that the landscaping and pest control company would be able to give the complex an accurate quote for their services.
Getting your certificate
If you successfully complete the final assignment, you will receive a Drone Mapping and Modeling Fundamentals certificate. This certificate will prove to potential clients that you are knowledgeable about aerial mapping and modeling.
Drone Mapping and Modeling Fundamentals Community
Everyone who enrolls in this course will get access to our online community for drone mapping students.
In the community, you’ll get to network with fellow students, post questions, share your work and ask for feedback, and more!
Meet Your Instructors
Hi, I’m David!
I’m the founder of Drone Launch Academy.
Since 2016, I’ve had the opportunity to teach tens of thousands of Drone Launch Academy students all about drones.
In this course, Rut and I will teach you everything you need to know to start creating aerial maps and models for your clients!
Hi again! I’m Rut.
I’m the founder of Voyager Industries, a company that uses drone mapping and modeling to help energy, agriculture, and infrastructure clients get the data they need to run their companies smoothly and efficiently.
I’m looking forward to sharing my drone mapping and modeling knowledge and experiences with you!
By the end of this course, you will understand the fundamental concepts related to drone mapping and 2D modeling, and you will be able to complete full mapping missions and deliver actionable reports to your clients or management.
We guarantee it.
If you go through the course and complete all of the assignments, but end up feeling like the course wasn’t worth the money, we’ll give you a complete refund.
Simple as that.
Ready to get started?
If you’re ready to learn how to create drone maps and models that will help you land jobs and give your clients solutions to their biggest challenges, we’ll see you in the course!