CASE STUDY: Is There Value in Municipal Drone Operations?


SUMMARY: Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are a useful tool for municipalities to embrace toward monitoring the condition of their assets. Drones offer a safer and cheaper method of capturing a wealth of data to help make educated, timely decisions.

PROBLEM: Municipalities need to keep track of the condition and inventory of their assets. This typically requires manual asset inspections which can be a costly, time consuming, and even dangerous necessity.

SOLUTION: Carson City, Nevada's Public Works Department recently purchased a DJI Phantom 4 drone to provide a better survey solution for tracking their municipal assets. The department's drone pilots are trained in accordance with the FAA's Part 107 regulation. The $1,500 investment has already paid for itself in surveying material piles, inspect solar panels, and monitor the progress of a new wastewater treatment plant.

“We are able to survey large areas of, for instance, 50 acres, in approximately 12 minutes, followed up with less than an hour of office time, and come up with a results that historically would have taken days with people in the field surveying to acquire,” said James Jacklett, an Operations Manager for the Carson City Public Works Department.

"We want to make data-driven decisions. The ease that we are able to collect data and then process it in order to make decisions increases our efficiency and ultimately helps us make better use of tax dollars."

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