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What Do Unmanned Aerial Systems and Clouds Have in Common?

Patrick Collins

They both fly.

But seriously folks...with the recent release by the Federal Aviation Administration of a proposed framework of regulations for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), the amount of geospatial data that will be collected by drones throughout the United States is set to increase. Even while some of the proposed rules limit some of the potential uses for UAS technology, the fact of the matter is that these restrictions may soon be overcome by emerging sense-and-avoid technologies and other burgeoning capabilities within the industry.

As more and more data is captured by these systems, there will be a need to store and disseminate it to those who want it, as well as the ability to derive information from it and serve the resulting answers to those requesting it. This is where the cloud comes in.

So a UAS and a cloud walk into a juice bar...

The UAS says "I've got so much data I don't know where to store it all...Hey, you're a cloud, can you help me out?" And the cloud says "I'd love to but I'm just a cloud, what you need is a server".

But seriously folks...the growing ability for servers to store, analyze, and disseminate large amounts of different types of data will allow businesses looking to capitalize on data collected from UAS to effectively manage their data and provide fast, reliable solutions to their customers. Consumers of geospatial data are often not interested in performing manual analysis on the data in order to derive the information they need. They want accurate solutions delivered to them via simple-to-use interfaces that provide the answers they want without bogging them down with unnecessary steps or irrelevant information. This is where the analytics come in.

So a UAS walks into a juice bar and says to the cloud behind the counter "I've got forty gigabytes of LiDAR data, eighteen multispectral and six hyperspectral images taken over the period of twenty-four months, and some historical rainfall and other weather related data over a specific set of agricultural fields. Can you help me understand how to better manage these fields to reduce my overall operating costs and increase my overall yield?" And the cloud says "What you need are some enterprise analytics, I'm just a cloud working at a juice bar".

But seriously folks...without the ability to host and disseminate different data types, as well as reliable algorithms to perform analysis on data and fuse the derived information into understandable solutions, much of the imagery and other geospatial assets captured by UAS will simply collect dust in a database and never see the light of day.

Luckily, businesses have developed enterprise-level dissemination and analysis technology that allow collectors of geospatial datasets the ability to host and derive information products from their data. By leveraging these technologies, UAS experts can turn their passion for data collection into valuable solutions that address problems across industries.

So the next time you're in a juice bar and see a cloud working behind the counter, don't ask them anything about geospatial analysis, after all, they're just a cloud!

Image 1 Reference: "Letecka fotografie z modelu FPVfoto Vit Svajcr 03" by Vít Švajcr Dobré světlo.com - Own work. Licensedunder CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Letecka_fotografie_z_modelu_FPV_foto_Vit_Svajcr_03.jpg #/media/File:Letecka_fotografie_z_model u_FPV_foto_Vit_Svajcr_03.jpg">http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Letecka_fotografie_z_modelu_FPV_foto_Vit_Svajcr_03.jpg
#/media/File:Letecka_fotografie_z_model u_FPV_foto_Vit_Svajcr_03.jpg

Image 2 Reference: "Carrot Common 068" bySkeezix1000 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carrot_Common_068.JPG#/media/File:Carrot_Common_068.JPG

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