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Pix4D Mapper Deliverables

So, full disclosure: I didn’t look past the first page of topics in the forums to see if this has been discussed before, so if you’re one of THOSE people… Whoops.

So, my partner and I are in the latter planning, equippage, and training stages of standing up a new consumer drone services company here in Southern Maryland. We had the rare luxury of time for this business, and decided to really do our due diligence as the company stated to evolve.

About 3⅗ seconds after we decided to move ahead in this venture, we decided that our focus was not going to be in the creative collection, instead the technical collection side of this sector. Neither of us have an artistic bone in our bodies. By virtue of my buying and selling multiple rental properties over the last couple decades I come to trust exactly 1 real estate agent in the world, and the idea of spending weekends at weddings hoping I don’t miss whatever ‘special’ moment Betty Bride and Grover Groom never told me about, I’m pretty sure it’s the right move.

Plus, we both have a professional background which draws us towards GIS and mapping. Support to local municipalities is what we’re going to focus on, but we wouldn’t turn down a construction job or the like. Hell, just to prove how frustrating it would be, we actually accepted a couple real estate gigs earlier this month. Yup, we don’t need to do that again.

However, when it comes to the expected deliverables a real estate agent has, it’s pretty simple. From what I see, most don’t even want us to do any post-production retouch work, and ask just for the RAW files. That said, I’m having a tough time determining what will be expected as a deliverable by clients who ask for orthomosaic mapping of a defined site, a 3D model rendering of a school, an accident scene orthorectified 3D map we would like to offer some local LE departments, or cut and fill volumes of gravel for a construction company.

I suspect for every different job, there is a different take on that, and it all depends on the client’s requirements. That said, is anyone else running a company which is now mature than ours and had dealt with this already? I can email a TIFF, but should I be trademarking, formatting, and making sure whatever deliverable they recieve, it looks like a professional prepared it? Am I overthinking it because this conversation should be part of the larger coordination effort during the initial stages?

Any help would be appreciated. A link to a giant database of commercial drone service provider deliverables templates, well, that would be excited l extra special appreciated!


First, good luck with your new business venture. But is your new firm a licensed engineering or surveying firm? If not, I would be very careful with your service offerings. In every state in the US only a licensed surveying or engineering firm (in many states) can offer certain mapping services. 3D models and probably orthos would be ok to offer, but certainly any elevation related data (DSMs, cut/fill volumes, contour lines, etc.) cannot be offered by unlicensed firms. And as a licensed engineer in four states (TX, LA, MS, FL) I can assure you that the engineering and surveying boards in every state are keenly aware of drone mapping software capabilities and keep an eye out for unlicensed firms offering services that can legally only be performed by licensed surveyors or engineers.

I don’t mean to scare you off, but if you do want to offer some of these services, you should try to partner with a local engineer or surveyor. It will save you a lot of grief.

Good luck!

No, good advice, not scared!! I’m aware of the MD state requirements and limitations, and have a good buddy who is both a fully licensed surveyor and happy to keep us off the third rail. Being from the legacy civil aviation industry, most people learn early on that overselling your certification authorities or ignoring regulatory limitations can result in very bad ways, and EVERYTHING is tracked and documented. That said, it never hurts to be reminded of these constraints, and I very much appreciate you taking the time to do so!

That’s good to hear. Having your surveyor buddy will be a huge help.

Now back to your original question. I do my best to deliver final products using Pix4D Cloud. It’s easy for me and allows the client to visualize and manipulate their data. However, sometimes that’s not good enough. I do a lot of GIS also, so I use ArcGIS Pro for mapping. I’ve created large format maps using the ortho, DSM, and contour lines. Then I either export as PDF or print on my 44” wide Epson plotter. When I do formal maps, I’ll apply my engineering stamp to the final product.

Other clients just want the processed data and they’ll do any analysis or mapping. So I’ll upload the data to OneDrive or DropBox and email them a download link.

Currently I have a project to fly the perimeter levee of an impoundment at a industrial site. The construction firm that hired me is raising the levee by 5 feet. They wanted an initial surface to put in their machine control for their dozers. So I’ll generate contour lines at 0.25ft intervals for import into their machine controller. Then I’ll fly monthly progress surveys to check progress. Then a final survey to document completion. For the progress and final surveys, I plan on uploading to Pix4D Cloud, and they can do any measurements themselves. I’ll also give them the final data products for their cad guys to use.

Good luck and feel free to contact me with any questions!