Optimizing Landfill Operations with Drone Technology

April 29, 2019

The days of laying out ground control points and spending hours in front of a computer processing data have come and gone. Phil Carrillo of SCS Engineers and others discuss how to get a drone program started that will add real value to your landfill operations, and provide a good return on investment.

In addition to the expert tips, the article provides links to information and resources important to planning a program. Here are a few tips from the experts:

  • Decide which area, or areas, you’re most interested in using a drone for such as methane monitoring or land surveying. This helps determine which equipment and software you need.
  • Obtain the right certifications such as a Remote Pilot Certificate from the
    Federal Aviation Administration, which requires applicants to pass an initial aeronautical knowledge exam and license renewal every two years.
  • Choose a drone that works well for your operations, considering its use, the size of your landfill and your budget. RTK and PPK drones come with GPS correction technology, minimizing the need for placing control points beforehand.
  • Multirotors are optimal for most landfills less than 500 acres, while fixed-wings offer more battery life for larger landfills.
  • The camera resolution is important when using drones for mapping, and the actual drone size and stability are factors if you plan to add extra sensors.
  • An updated computer may also be needed to process the data, depending on the software you choose.
  • Software is chosen based on your existing equipment, knowledge of analytics and customer service requirements. Cloud-computing software eliminates the need for major computer upgrades and programs are available that offer analyses functionality.
  • Cities have airspace regulations; be sure you remain within legal parameters.
  • Plan for human-made and natural conditions. Drones don’t like rain, and gusts over 15 mph can knock them off course. Drones and obstacles such as power lines or curious birds can be avoided with a plan.

Still sound daunting? It’s not for the professionals at SCS Engineers. Read the article on our website; we encourage sharing it with others too.

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Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:07 am