I personally owned a crappy AR Parrot drone and whilst it was a fun novelty it was absolute junk.
It did fire my imagination abit and being poor but persuavive I managed to convince my employer that a quality Drone would provide many useful abilities to our team (We work in conservation).
When asked what I meant specifically I was all confident saying “Oh we can create maps and 3d models and it’ll be great for wildfires and weed mapping and all these great things”.
They were sold and ponied up $2800 for a DJI Mavic (original, I now use a Mavic 2) and I began actually figuring out how I was going to do what I had promised.
I had trialled some proprietary cloud processed mapping software (Pix4d and DroneDeploy) before I discovered WebODM through research *(ie Google) and began experimenting with it. Its curve is steeper than the proprietary services but the fact that WE owned the entire system made it a no-brainer. As I figured it out I filled the work gaps getting some nice snaps and videos for Media and training.
This project is such an amazing thing and I just had to give my utter thanks to all the contributors.
Only problem, I was essentially using my own hardware to process everything because we only use laptops in our office as we are always working out and about. Suffice to say the hardware is pretty average.
After so far winging it and coming out unscathed I thought I’d push my luck a bit more and proposed that we invest in a High specced Beast of a PC as a dedicated mapping rig. The usual questions, whats the point, how will it help? blah blah.
“Well mr beancounter, we can process larger and more accurate datasets, and we can provide this capability to our other teams and perhaps even offer a paid service to other organisations. (Digging myself down again, I don’t yet know how to do it lol)”.
The magic words “How much?”.
I was set for it, “Well a Pix4d cloud processing account is $3500 a year and I just happen to have a quote for a AMD Threadripper 24 with 128GB of RAM and a Radeon card and Bottomless storage for $3500. One year at most to recoup our costs!”
That Computer is due anyday now so thought I would join this remarkable community as I will no doubt need some expertise If I’m to dodge another bullet lol.
Also messed around and found that WebODM is also pretty handy for modelling objects from photo’s taken with my phone which was a good little boost to my rep when I showed the brass.
I am now the organisations “Drone Guy” which suits my aging bones fine haha.