RoboFlight Systems LLC was recently tasked to acquire emergency post Hurricane Harvey imagery by several customers in both the public and private sectors. These customers were in need of immediate imagery collection prior to flood waters receding and to determine the most critical areas of flooding to best support vital response planning efforts.
On August 31st, 2017, RoboFlight was directed to collect six inch per pixel spatial resolution natural color (RGB) imagery and produce digital georeferenced maps (orthomosaics) of the impacted area. Competing aerial imagery companies were commonly offering customers only 12 inch per pixel resolution and with final data product delivery dates that were beyond requirements. Secondly, customers wanted only specific, concentrated geographic areas mapped in order to keep the costs lower and response time as minimal as possible.
The collection team was mobilized and utilized localized aviation assets and began imagery acquisition flights within 24 hours. Due to RoboFlight’s economical aircraft platform usage and proprietary collection sensor hardware systems, the operations team was able to quickly and efficiently complete flights over precise focus areas set by customers and without waste. Mapping flights were completed by end of September 2, 2017, less than 72 hours from customer order. First data products were processed and delivered to customers on the morning of September 3, 2017, less than 48 hours from the start of collection.
“RoboFlight was excited to once again be called upon for our unique ability to leverage our network of localized small aircraft assets to meet our customer’s immediate needs of rapid response and turnaround of imagery. While there was no shortage of mapping companies collecting Hurricane Harvey impact imagery, we wanted to provide a higher spatial resolution for the most critical areas while offering unmatched post processing times.
Based on customer feedback and our own research, we were able to offer our customers service rates that were 50-75% lower than competing firms, higher spatial resolution, and with faster turn around times”, explained Phil Ellerbroek, Global Director of Sales at RoboFlight.