Event 38 Unmanned Systems, a leading manufacturer of American-made mapping drones, announces the successful deployment of the E400, its fixed-wing mapping drone, to collect aerial imagery and mapping data in Turks and Caicos. The drone captured enough data to produce orthomosaics of two entire islands totalling 238 square kilometres in a matter of days. Turks and Caicos’ previous mapping data was at least ten years old.
The project was conducted by PLACE, a global non-profit technology organization dedicated to solving the inefficiencies of modern-day mapping and democratizing mapping data by providing hyperlocal, accurate, detailed optical imagery. The organization had been actively searching for a better aerial imaging solution when they were connected with Event 38.
“It can be difficult and expensive to get an airplane into the geographies where we work,” said Peter Rabley, founder of PLACE. “Satellite imagery is quite complicated to order and process the data, and many of these geographies have intense cloud cover, which can disturb the imagery.”
The logistics of data capture weren’t the only challenge. “Some countries dislike the fact that they have to pay an external satellite company for one-time use of their mapping data and can’t create derived works without paying more for a new license,” said Rabley.
“PLACE was looking for a fixed-wing, VTOL drone with a long flight time that could map large areas and capture high-resolution imagery,” said Jeff Taylor, founder and CEO, Event 38. “The E400 fulfilled all of their requirements, including an industry-leading flight time of ninety minutes, plus vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. We were also intentional about making the E400 as user-friendly as possible, including a hot-swap payload, a low-maintenance electric powertrain, and open-source integrations, so we could remove any barriers to entry that might prevent someone from using it for important surveying and data collection projects.”
“The E400 is a complete game changer in terms of democratizing mapping for African countries and small island states,” said Rabley. “It’s very manageable in terms of operations and maintenance and has a lower threshold for human resource capabilities.”
PLACE’s first mapping project with the E400 took place in Turks and Caicos, an archipelagic island nation in the Caribbean. Turks and Caicos’ previous mapping data was at least ten years old, and existing satellite data wasn’t detailed enough for local applications such as hurricane preparedness and mitigation. The Event 38 team joined PLACE to provide training on using and maintaining the drone, which the team used to map two entire islands.
The team produced highly accurate orthomosaics just two days after they finished capturing aerial imagery. The E400 gave the Turks and Caicos government the accuracy and resolution of data they needed to greenlight multiple critical projects, including a major upgrade to their property tax system and improved climate mitigation modelling and planning. The data is already being used for the upcoming Census and other key activities.
The success in Turks and Caicos is, hopefully, the first of many for PLACE using the E400. Access to updated mapping data is critical for geographies with fast-growing populations and cities particularly those at risk from climate change. This data allows governments to plan and invest in the development of public services and structures, such as climate mitigation, upgraded sewer systems, improved mobility, health services, and more.
“At PLACE, our goal is to democratize and localize data collection, and the E400 makes that much more affordable,” said Rabley. “The data is immediate and owned by the government, so there are no licensing or use restrictions.”
Event 38 is working on additional modifications to the E400 to support PLACE and other future customers. “Based on what we learned during our time in Turks and Caicos with PLACE, we’re making a lot of exciting modifications to both the E400 and the workflow to make the entire platform better suited to remote locations, where there may be limited cell service, repair facilities, and accessible weather data,” said Taylor. “We’ve already invested in a lighter carrying case and an ADS-B transponder and improved the image geotagging workflow for large missions, and further upgrades are in the works.”
PLACE has already purchased two additional E400s.
“Event 38 is incredibly proud to be supporting PLACE’s important work and mission,” said Taylor. “We look forward to seeing what our other clients do with the E400.”
For more information about Event 38 and the E400, including the ISR model, please visit
About Event 38 Unmanned Systems:
Event 38 designs and manufactures fixed-wing VTOL drones in Richfield, Ohio. Since 2011, we’ve sold over 500 drones to people and organizations all around the globe. Our drones capture geo-tagged data for a range of industries and applications. Event 38 drones can be customized for high-resolution aerial photogrammetry, thermal and multispectral imagery, LiDAR, and live video streaming.