How to share insights from drone mapping data

As humans we like to simplify reality. To take complex systems or ideas and break them down into digestible, communicable chunks. It’s why we classify the Earth as ‘land’ and ‘water’. But the Earth is infinitely complex, as is the drone data that we capture about it. So how can we decomplicate things and make it easy to share insights from our drone mapping data?

Sometimes when aiming for simple, we still overcomplicate things. By definition, maps are a simplified reality. But that doesn’t mean that they are simple to make. In fact, many would argue that contemporary geographic information systems (GIS) have over complicated our mapping tasks at times.

For example. Do you know how many clicks it takes to digitise a single point in ArcGIS Pro? Click here to find out… Just kidding 🙂

It’s nine clicks to create a feature class in a geodatabase, and another three to start editing. And that’s not including adding any extra fields or anything. Don’t get me started on the jargon I just used in this paragraph either…


Shouldn’t software make our lives easier?

Our open source friends at QGIS are smiling! They only have to click four times to get digitising. But it’s still too much IMHO.

If you’ve been in the GIS world for a while, perhaps you’ve just accepted these types of ‘quirks’. You’re conditioned to it just being the way it is. But what if it didn’t have to be like that?

When we created our digitising feature in GeoNadir, we wanted to make it as easy as possible to create and share insights from drone mapping data. Step one was to remove the ridiculous number of clicks required to just get started. We have to click enough already when we are digisting, let’s not start the RSI journey any sooner than we have to.

What are we missing?

Our answer is so simple it’s stupid.

One click to open the digitising (draw) tool. Then another to select the drawing tool you want – point, line, or polygon. No need to give it a name if you don’t want – we’ll auto name it for you. You can always change it later. Now you can get started creating your insights from any mapping view within GeoNadir.

Even if there’s no drone mapping data over your area of interest, we have the cracking Esri basemaps providing top of the line satellite imagery all over the Earth. There is no simpler way to add your insights to Earth observation imagery – drone or satellite.

Share insights from drone mapping data

Insights, not just annotations

Although we’ve taken our inspiration from graphic design tools, that doesn’t mean that we wanted to lose the power that GIS brings to our drawing. We know that it’s the data that sits behind the shapes that makes all the difference.

Area of individual polygons, and sum total displayed
Area of individual polygons, and sum total displayed

So, while points, lines, and polygons help us visually communicate our insights, we want more than annotations. As with a GIS, we can also use the drawing tool to determine x,y coordinates (points), distances (lines), and areas (polygons). Where there is more than one line in a layer, we provide the distance of each line, as well as the total distance of all lines. Same goes for polygon areas.

No, we’re not a fully fledged GIS platform, and have no aspirations to be one either 🙂 But we recognise the need to create simple tools simply, so that you can get on with developing and communicating your insights. If you need the full stack GIS experience, we have you covered there as well. Simply download orthomosaics or stream via our tile mapping service to your favourite platform (see ‘how to’ videos here for ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online, and QGIS). For examples of how to integrate GeoNadir into GIS, read on here.

As with all good insights, we want to make sure that we save them! Our new saving feature creates a ‘project’. You can access your projects via the left panel on the platform. 

For a full run down on how to use all the features inside ‘my projects’, check out the video below. And keep an eye our for our updates – we’ll continue to release cool new features inside projects to help you share your insights from drone mapping data.

Developing insights from drone mapping data

There’s no shortage of drone mapping data available on GeoNadir. In fact, you can access data from 53 countries over the range of IUCN habitat categories. Or of course, you can upload your own data and we’ll process it for you. We’re making it as easy as possible for you to go from capturing and accessing the data to generating your insights. Because we know how important it is to have everyone’s brainpower dedicated to solving some of our planet’s greatest environmental challenges. Not tied up with unnecessary mouse clicking.

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Topographic map with dots displaying data points of environmental drone mapping data. Three drone mapping overlays in different environments

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