Flight Planning Made Simple with Flyte (Lite) and the DroneDeploy App Market
Aerial Eye Uses the Flyte Lite App to Streamline Pre-flight Planning Workflows
As we highlighted in last month’s Commercial Drone Industry Trends Report, commercial drone use expanded rapidly over the past year, and as with any growing industry, an entire ecosystem of services has built up around it. With 22,000 total app installs to date and more than 30 apps currently available, the DroneDeploy App Market is rapidly becoming a hub in this ecosystem — fostering collaboration and innovation in the commercial drone industry.
Here is the story of how one software company brought their powerful flight planning tools to the DroneDeploy App Market and reaped the benefits of connecting with a solid base of drone mapping professionals.
Kerr Mackinnon is co-founder and COO of Flyte, a Belfast-based company that offers a comprehensive flight planning platform for commercial drone pilots. With a Master’s Degree in geographic information science, he is an expert in location-based data and technology. Fearghus Foyle is a former planning consultant who now leverages his background in design and planning as the founder of Aerial Eye, one of Ireland’s leading UAV services companies. They discuss how Aerial Eye discovered Flyte through the DroneDeploy App Market and went on to use the Flyte Lite app to streamline pre-flight planning for a mapping project on the remote west coast of Ireland.
Flyte Expands its Reach with the DroneDeploy App Market
When Kerr Mackinnon and his business partner, Matthew Bradley, founded Flyte, their goal was simple: to give drone pilots a meaningful understanding of airspace — minus the usual complexities. With that in mind, Flyte was born. The company’s comprehensive flight planning platform launched in February, and offers drone operators a suite of tools that includes map-based flight logs, hardware management records, airspace integration capabilities, and aggregated information on airspace restrictions and ground hazards.
The Flyte team has always been passionate about creating innovative mapping solutions, so when they heard about the DroneDeploy App Market while their own product was still in the works, it seemed like a natural fit and a chance to expand their reach even further.
“One of the greatest benefits of developing an app for the market is that DroneDeploy has a solid user base. It’s given us some really unique exposure that UK companies don’t often get in the US.” — Kerr Mackinnon, Co-founder of Flyte
When DroneDeploy’s App Market went live in November of 2016, Flyte’s full suite of services had not yet been made available to the public. But instead of waiting, the company decided to parcel a portion of its services into an app for DroneDeploy, three months ahead of their wider launch. Kerr says the straightforward and time-efficient process of onboarding the app was well worth the effort, allowing Flyte to fast-track their product launch and reach a wider audience right out of the gate.
“The team at DroneDeploy was very communicative throughout,” says Kerr of the App Market onboarding process. “Our integration went smoothly with few technical challenges to overcome.”
Flyte Lite App Helps DroneDeploy Users Navigate Airspace Restrictions
As Kerr puts it, the trick to creating a successful app was deciding which portion of Flyte’s existing services could be packaged into a smaller format, yet still remain relevant to DroneDeploy users.
And so, the Flyte Lite app was born. After planning a flight on the DroneDeploy dashboard, users simply enter the anticipated date of their flight into the Flyte Lite app. In a matter of seconds, they are emailed a customized report that outlines the restrictions and hazards related to the mission. Instead of having to consult multiple sources, users can access their pre-planning information all through one streamlined platform.
The Flyte team has already seen the benefits of partnering with the DroneDeploy App Market. “We’ve heard from quite a few DroneDeploy users that they wouldn’t have come across Flyte otherwise,” says Kerr. And, he says, many of those pilots go on to use Flyte on a regular basis.
For Kerr, it’s good to hear from drone service professionals about how the Flyte Lite app is making a difference in their workflows. “The success of this app provides validation in terms of what we’re trying to do and the use we are providing to pilots.”
Aerial Eye Uses Flyte Lite to Pre-Plan Mapping Mission of Irish Castle
One DroneDeploy user who discovered Flyte through the app market is Fearghus Foyle. His drone services company, Aerial Eye, provides clients in Ireland with a range of aerial solutions, including photography and filming, 3D modelling and industrial inspections. Fearghus says he regularly chooses DroneDeploy for mapping projects because of its reliable performance and user-friendly interface.
“It’s really simple, clear, intuitive,” says Fearghus of the DroneDeploy platform. “Although it helps to understand the basics of photogrammetry, it doesn’t require an in depth knowledge of how to manually manipulate and modify data. It takes a lot of the workload out of it.”
Until recently, one thing that was missing in Fearghus’ mapping workflow was a tool to streamline his flight pre-planning process. He works across the country in both confined industrial environments and remote historical sites and constantly faces logistical challenges with regards to flight planning. This can include NOTAMS, controlled airspace, airspace restrictions within urban areas, poor weather conditions and site-specific hazards.
Traditionally, this flight planning involved consulting a number of sources, such as aeronautical charts, weather reports and Google Earth. It was a cumbersome but important process. “Taking the time to plan our site work allows us to operate much more efficiently,” says Fearghus. “Providing our clients with the confidence that we are operating as safely as we can.”
Looking for a better option, he came across the Flyte Lite app in the DroneDeploy App Marketplace. Now, with access to the app directly from his DroneDeploy dashboard, his pre-planning work has become much simpler.
Recently, he paired DroneDeploy and the Flyte Lite app to pre-plan a mapping mission of Clifden Castle, an eighteenth-century historical site on the remote west coast of Ireland. The goal of the mission was to produce a 3D model of the castle as a way to educate state agencies and archaeologists about the benefits of mapping historical sites.
As part of his usual pre-planning process, he reviewed airspace, weather conditions and ground hazards. But this time, the process was much simpler.
“The Flyte Lite App offers us the ability to carry out our pre-planning work all under one platform, which for us is both a time saving, and ultimately, cost saving solution.” –Fearghus Foyle, founder of Aerial Eye
After analyzing site conditions using the information from his Flyte report, Fearghus and his team used a DJI Inspire 1 with an X3 camera to manually capture nadir and oblique imagery in three circular tiers at various heights (i.e. 50/20/10m). The result was a high-resolution 3D model that Fearghus hopes will demonstrate to the county’s office of public works how drone-generated 3D models can create high-quality records of historical assets like Clifden Castle.
Not only did Fearghus and the Aerial Eye team create a stunning representation of the castle, but thanks to Flyte and the DroneDeploy App Market, the entire process was all that much smoother. “Because Flyte is integrated with the DroneDeploy App Market,” says Fearghus, “it allows us to streamline our workflow right from generating pre-flight standardized reports to creating flight plans, to post-flight analysis of the data captured.”
Where to Learn More
If your interest about the DroneDeploy App Market has been piqued, you’ll want to read about how TensorFlight developed an app that uses artificial intelligence to automatically count trees, cars, and parking spaces found in drone imagery.
Interested in learning even more about Flyte’s integration with the DroneDeploy App Market? Visit Flyte’s website from more information.
If you‘d like to request a free trial of the full Flyte platform and take control of your drone flight operations management, visit Flyte’s sign up page.
Get Started with DroneDeploy
Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. If you’re interested in exploring the DroneDeploy other applications available on the DroneDeploy platform, be sure to visit the App Market today.