UAV Podcasts

"Not Just Ticking Boxes on a Tender" - Sion Rowlands Explains The Fully Integrated Solution During Our Latest Podcast

For a written summary of the most important points of the interview, scroll below the player!


Meet Sion Rowlands

Sion Rowlands, Sales Manager for Europe, is a recent addition to the Microdrones team, having just been hired in the beginning of August.  Rowlands has an extensive Geospatial background beginning with an education in Geomatics and Geospatial surveying. Throughout his career he’s focused on business development and Geospatial consulting throughout the United Kingdom. Now, in his role as Sales Manager, Rowlands showcases, promotes and sells Microdrones integrated systems throughout the European Geospatial community.

2018 Intergeo Conference

Recently, Sion attended the 2018 Intergeo conference, the global hub for the geospatial community. He noted that this year there was a much stronger influence and presence of UAV companies and solution providers. “There’s always been a strong focus on the traditional geospatial data collection methods: GPS, control stations, laser scanners and the like. However, this year there was a much heavier influence and presence of drones and solution providers such as Microdrones,” Rowlands said. "We’re at the point where there’s beginning to be a shift within the industry that UAVs have become an important tool in the geospatial portfolio.”

In the early days of UAV, as drones were introduced into the geospatial community, Rowlands observed the misconceptions in the marketplace, namely that drones were less of a tool and more of a toy. However, photogrammetry was one of the early UAV applications that helped influence the perception of drone use. He explains, “Once professionals overcame the initial flight spectacle of drone technology, it was easy to see all of the benefits. Nowadays, there are fewer barriers to entry and more reasons for professionals to take advantage of integrated UAVS. Products like our mdLiDAR3000 provide the ultimate in high end data collection that justify adding the drone to your toolbox.”

New Products & Customers

While attending Intergeo, one of the main products Rowlands had on display was the all new mdLiDAR3000, which commanded steady attention and interest throughout the event.  “This is a drone that Microdrones developed over a number of years and really perfected.  Now, we’ve integrated the best sensors out there-we’re using the Riegl miniVUX-1UAV (or an optional miniVUX-1DL) and combining that with a Sony RX1R II camera. These are all integrated into a professional UAV system. Furthermore, we’re also integrating how the data is collected and stored all through one portal. Although there are additional sensors, we can bring this all into one space.  And this is what Microdrones is best known for: an end-to-end delivery from flight planning all the way through to delivering a photogrammic solution, orthomosaic, or point cloud visualization.”

Many of the attendees who visited the booth were geospatial professionals looking for higher accuracy vertical information that could be collected across larger areas which are potentially not accessible. This is where Microdrones offers a unique competitive advantage. 

“We have a real focus on the end product and the delivery, which is the data.” Rowlands explains. “It’s not just about collecting the data- but the quality of the data. Everything we do is designed to deliver professional grade information. A lot of manufacturers create platforms that will fly and carry sensors, but no one can offer the complete solution, support, and work-flow like Microdrones. If you were to look at a spec sheet you could potentially see an equivalent product- but if you assess the data at the end of the day- they will be nowhere near the quality that Microdrones can provide. We’ve really focused on providing the full solution to our customers.

Growing with the mdMapper series.

In the geospatial community, Rowlands explains that Microdrones is already well known for their mdMappper1000DG with direct georeferencing and their mdMapper1000.  However, there’s been a slight gap in terms of what’s available between the two.  That’s why Microdrones introduced the mdMapper1000+ and the mdMapper1000PPK.

“These are scalable offerings all the way up to the DG, with firmware updates our customers can select as they develop or their projects change.  With the mdMapper1000, we’re targeting customers who are willing to install some ground control points or with existing GCPs on a site.  As we move up to the mdMapper1000PPK, we can start to reduce the amount of ground controls, in terms of time and overlap of flight needed, to only 1 to 3 points.  This is ideal for surveyors or engineers with multiple sites, needing to do repeat surveys to collect varied information that is changing.  Then, there’s the mdMapper1000DG, which can get away from ground control completely.  Again, this creates less overlap, much less flight time over similar areas than conventional methods.  It’s a perfect fit for construction companies that are looking at mapping railway corridors, or utility companies looking at power lines or any other sort of linear networks.”

Microdrones continues to focus on providing expertise and high end solutions to their customers. More importantly, says Rowlands, is that, “Now, we’re able to have our customers grow with us- so if they want to get started with a UAV solution, we’re going to give them the means to cultivate and create a more successful company by developing their drones and software.

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