Innovators in Technology Series

Interview with Tim Kustka, Datumate

Published
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Creating accurate, precise, and meaningful 3D graphics that help you analyze and make decisions is vital in drone-based mapping, whether it be digital outcrops, surface structures, construction, or methane seep detection. Welcome to an interview with Tim Kustka at Datumate, who discusses how they have developed software to be used with drones and other airborne cameras for 3D images with accuracy appropriate for precision engineering.

What is your name and your relationship to mapping and drones?

Datumate utilize drones to capture reality and turn aerial images (utilizing computer vision technology) into survey grade 2D maps and 3D models.

What is Datumate? Can you briefly describe your main products?

Datumate is digitally transforming civil engineering processes used in Construction, Surveying and Infrastructure Inspection markets with fully automated, highly precise and cost effective solutions that keep field crews safe. Datumate utilizes state-of-the-art computer vision, big data analytics, machine learning, drone and cameras technologies that dramatically reduce the amount of time surveying crews spend in the field, speed up construction progress checks and shorten infrastructure inspection duration, while maintaining survey grade accuracy. Datumate's intuitive, simple and automated solutions and services increase productivity by delivering quick, precise and analyzed field data for civil engineering and construction infrastructure projects of roads, intersections, stockpile volumes, topography, piping, industrial facilities, bridges, property surveys, building facades, railways, cellular infrastructure and more. Datumate core competency is rooted in a team of construction experts and high-tech professionals. Datumate is a Construction-Tech service company that represents an innovation and transformation opportunity in the huge and traditional construction market.

Datumate provides a full suite of Field to Plan solutions and services, including:

  • DatuSurvey™ — Photogrammetry Software for Construction Infrastructure Projects and Professional Surveying — DatuSurvey™ turns drone images into survey-grade accurate, georeferenced 2D maps and 3D models, saving the need for expensive and risky field work. Provided also as an As-Built managed service for construction infrastructure projects.
  • DatuSite™ — Photogrammetry Software for Land Construction — DatuSite™ employs aerial and ground photography to generate point cloud for 3D modeling, map generation, orthophoto, volume calculations and reports to quickly and accurately monitor and measure land construction sites.
  • DatuFly™ — A Professional Imagery App for Drones — DatuFly™ is a tablet app for easy flight planning and automated flight execution with high resolution photo-shooting, optimized per job type. The image-taking plan is executed based on the best practice requirements of Datumate's photogrammetry software that automates surveyors' office work.
  • Site Survey Solution — Datumate — DJI professional surveying suite — The comprehensive Datumate software and application suite with DJI professional drones and payloads, delivering a fully automated imaging and mapping solution that improves productivity and grow your business.
Please describe a few jobs and projects that you completed

Civil engineering and construction infrastructure projects like: roads, intersections, stockpile volumes, topography, piping, industrial facilities, bridges, property surveys, building facades, railways, cellular infrastructure and more.

Case Studies web page: http://www.datumate.com/case-studies/

All Case Studies; https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxvy-slDdvuhbVN0bnY1OUFScUk

What do you see as being the main challenges in 3D images used for surveying, construction, and inspection purposes?

The main challenge it taking the right images according to the project and desired output. Each project has its own unique requirements and specifications. Creating and executing drone missions according to these specifications taking into account the terrain and photogrammetry guidelines can be a challenge. This is the reason Datumate has developed DatuFly™ app for that. DatuFly™ eliminate the need to know gain knowledge on terrines, photogrammetry, cameras and drones and generate mission plan according to the user desired outputs. Thus, eliminating the risks taking "bed" images and maximizing the success of high accuracy model generation.

How do you make sure that your images are accurate?

When creating a drone mission plan, we factor the drone and camera specifications as well as desired output and accuracy needs. By combining all of these elements, we generate a drone mission plan with the right altitude, flight speed, camera settings and images overlap. Once these images are taken, we validate them and generate a working 3D model that uses also the drone data (GPS, Camera angels, etc.). We also allow in our Photogrammetry Software to check and validate accuracy by providing reports and accuracy interface.

What kinds of drones do you use? Why?

Our Photogrammetry software can process any image no matter the drone or the camera it uses. Thus, give the user full control over the hardware he wants to use. As for our mission planning app DatuFly™, we currently support most of DJI drones. Last year Datumate signed a strategic partnership agreement with DJI to sell a complete package of drone, app and photogrammetry solution that is sold through DJI website and dealers as well as Datumate website and dealers. http://www.wingsland.org/drones-for-sale/

What are your plans for the future?

Datumate aims to expand its solutions portfolio to infrastructure modeling. Our aim is to Partner with construction companies for digital transformation to provide timely field data insights to the company management what we call 'a construction infrastructure BIM solution'. Modeling and "As-Built" for infrastructure construction is less sought, and we believe there is a lot of potential that can be tapped from it.

To add on that, Datumate was recently chosen as one of the 20 Most Promising Construction Technology Solution Providers 2017 by the CIO Review Magazine. The announcement of this will happen on the first week of September in the upcoming magazine digest that focused on construction market.

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