Vladislav Trenkin is an eBee pilot who caught Waypoint’s eye after sharing videos of successful eBee launches on Facebook. He’s currently the Head of Aerial Shooting at Geographica, a consulting company in Bulgaria that specializes in environmental planning, geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial decision support systems.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your journey into the world of drones? When, how and why did you start thinking about and then using fixed-wing drone technology?
As a company that manages spatial data, we were trying to collect digital terrain data with high precision and accuracy. Available data was prepared the old way with poor quality and low depth. The five- or eight-meter pixels of digital elevation data was unacceptable for the job we wanted to do. That’s why we assumed senseFly’s solution would drastically increase the precision of spatial data and decrease the collection time.
We first used fixed-wing drones three years ago. With the eBee Classic, we began to explore remote sensing technology’s spatial data for flood hazard mapping in Northern Bulgaria. Then, opportunities started to grow – mining industry, railway development, ski slopes projection, infrastructure mapping, 3D modeling, structural inspection and so on.
With the eBee Classic, we began to explore remote sensing technology’s spatial data for flood hazard mapping in Northern Bulgaria. Then, opportunities started to grow.
Most of our current projects related to digital modeling of surfaces are with infrastructure, mapping of railways and hydro facilities, flood hazard mapping and 3D modeling.
2. Could you tell us about one of your most challenging drone projects? Where and what was it? What made it stand out, and what did you learn?
The toughest project for us was mapping mountain terrain on the west part of the Bulgarian border, which was more than 2,300 meters above sea-level in 2018. The assignment was to generate a digital elevation model. The project consisted of eight flights and more than 1,600 images. The ground sampling distance was 9.75 centimeters, and the area covered was 10 square kilometers.
To perform a safe flight and save battery for each flight, we had to climb an hour and a half from a 1,000-meter elevation to 1,700 meters by foot with a drone packed in a backpack. No infrastructure, no electricity, no internet. Not even cell phone coverage. The maximum altitude above takeoff was about 700 meters. A couple of times, weather changes and strong winds canceled the climbing and flights.
This kind of precision isn’t possible with other mapping methods. The lightweight, compact-size and intelligence of UAVs produce great mapping results in otherwise-inaccessible places.
3. What impact would you say drone technology has had on your working life?
Drone technology puts unlimited opportunity in our hands—wherever, whenever we like, we can collect spatial data. After post-processing in GIS environments, we can add additional value to the projects. Managing the spatial data in desirable ways depends on our customers’ needs. In just a few days, it is possible to map and analyze every kind of territory for every purpose by utilizing a fixed-wing aircraft with no pilot skills.
In just a few days, it is possible to map and analyze every kind of territory for every purpose by utilizing a fixed-wing aircraft.
4. What kind of role do you see drone technology playing in the future for companies such as yours? Can you imagine what your working life might look several years down the line?
Drone technology gives small companies the ability to handle big projects. In fact, drone users now have an advantage when it comes to collecting and analyzing spatial data.
5. If you could givethree tips to a budding dronepreneur of the future, what would they be?
Firstly, a dronepreneur must be well-informed of drone technology to properly utilize them.
Secondly, they must constantly encourage others to gain new technological skills in both hardware and software for a competitive advantage in their market.
[Dronepreneurs] must constantly encourage others to gain new technological skills in both hardware and software for a competitive advantage in their market.
Lastly, we highly recommend participating in remote-sensing communities, events, groups, etc. to exchange best practices, ideas and knowledge within the drone industry.
Thank you for speaking with us, Vladislav!
Industries served: Digital surface mapping, flood hazard, infrastructure, urban spatial planning, mining, agriculture, environmental, etc.
Drones: eBee classic, (SONY RGB wx220 and Sequoia cameras), eBee SQ, ALBRIS
Avg. flights per month: 5-6 flights per month
Total flight hours: more than 250 hours (210+ eBee classic, 20 eBee SQ, 20 ALBRIS)