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Charlotte UAV : An Ideal Partner for Mecklenburg County

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CASE STUDY

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Client Success Story | Mecklenburg County
Charlotte UAV :
An Ideal Partner
for Mecklenburg County
“Charlotte UAV has helpe...

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The challenge (continued): Unmanned aerial vehicles
(UAVs, commonly known as drones) have quickly become
popular as a cost...

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Charlotte UAV : An Ideal Partner for Mecklenburg County

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The client: Mecklenburg County’s Mapping and Project Services Division provides mapping technology for the county and the city of Charlotte in North Carolina. It is responsible for providing accurate and timely infor¬mation for agencies handling a wide range of functions, including prop¬erty assessment, 911 services, code enforcement, air and water quality management, flood control, land development and parks and recreation. The division also provides extensive real estate and community informa¬tion to the public through a variety of portals
.
The challenge: Mecklenburg County and Charlotte are among the fast¬est growing areas in the nation. Documenting the changing uses of 545 square miles has been increasingly challenging even with annual (and expensive) aerial photography by traditional aircraft. Failure to document development and redevelopment in a timely manner causes problems ranging from inaccurate property assessments to delays in collecting storm-water fees for needed flood control projects. Other traditional methods of collecting needed data and imagery – such as water-quality staff wading through streams to detect illicit runoff or building inspectors crawling on rooftops – are slow, costly and can be dangerous. Outdated or inadequate data also causes life-safety concerns when 911 operators dispatch medic, fire and police in response to emergencies. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, commonly known as drones) have quickly become popular as a cost-effective means of aerial photography, particularly for the real estate industry.

The county agreed to a one-year contract with Charlotte UAV for the 2017-18 fiscal year, and the county recently renewed their contract for another year.

80% COST REDUCTION: Immediate evaluation of controlled burns in natural preserves: Naturalists at the county’s McDowell Nature Center and Preserve conducted a 110-acre controlled burn to prevent forest overgrowth and wild fires. In the past, it would have required hiring a helicopter and taken at least six months to analyze the results. Charlotte UAV surveyed the burn immediately, allowing naturalists to see results before vegetation regrowth and to plan future con-trolled burns, at approximately one-fifth the cost.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Local governments face increasing pressure to capture data more accurately and with greater timeliness, particularly in fast-growing areas. Unmanned aerial vehicles increasingly are being accepted as an important tool to help cities and counties keep pace. Contracting with a qualified vendor rather than county owned-and-operated UAVs avoids potential liability concerns. Charlotte UAV is a national leader in developing and operating UAVs, with a proven track record of rapid-response, cost-effective services. Charlotte UAV’s flexibility in developing new applications and coordinating with existing software also has made the company an ideal partner for Mecklenburg County.

The client: Mecklenburg County’s Mapping and Project Services Division provides mapping technology for the county and the city of Charlotte in North Carolina. It is responsible for providing accurate and timely infor¬mation for agencies handling a wide range of functions, including prop¬erty assessment, 911 services, code enforcement, air and water quality management, flood control, land development and parks and recreation. The division also provides extensive real estate and community informa¬tion to the public through a variety of portals
.
The challenge: Mecklenburg County and Charlotte are among the fast¬est growing areas in the nation. Documenting the changing uses of 545 square miles has been increasingly challenging even with annual (and expensive) aerial photography by traditional aircraft. Failure to document development and redevelopment in a timely manner causes problems ranging from inaccurate property assessments to delays in collecting storm-water fees for needed flood control projects. Other traditional methods of collecting needed data and imagery – such as water-quality staff wading through streams to detect illicit runoff or building inspectors crawling on rooftops – are slow, costly and can be dangerous. Outdated or inadequate data also causes life-safety concerns when 911 operators dispatch medic, fire and police in response to emergencies. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, commonly known as drones) have quickly become popular as a cost-effective means of aerial photography, particularly for the real estate industry.

The county agreed to a one-year contract with Charlotte UAV for the 2017-18 fiscal year, and the county recently renewed their contract for another year.

80% COST REDUCTION: Immediate evaluation of controlled burns in natural preserves: Naturalists at the county’s McDowell Nature Center and Preserve conducted a 110-acre controlled burn to prevent forest overgrowth and wild fires. In the past, it would have required hiring a helicopter and taken at least six months to analyze the results. Charlotte UAV surveyed the burn immediately, allowing naturalists to see results before vegetation regrowth and to plan future con-trolled burns, at approximately one-fifth the cost.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Local governments face increasing pressure to capture data more accurately and with greater timeliness, particularly in fast-growing areas. Unmanned aerial vehicles increasingly are being accepted as an important tool to help cities and counties keep pace. Contracting with a qualified vendor rather than county owned-and-operated UAVs avoids potential liability concerns. Charlotte UAV is a national leader in developing and operating UAVs, with a proven track record of rapid-response, cost-effective services. Charlotte UAV’s flexibility in developing new applications and coordinating with existing software also has made the company an ideal partner for Mecklenburg County.

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Charlotte UAV : An Ideal Partner for Mecklenburg County

  1. 1. CASE STUDY
  2. 2. Client Success Story | Mecklenburg County Charlotte UAV : An Ideal Partner for Mecklenburg County “Charlotte UAV has helped Mecklenburg County keep pace with our rapid growth with aerial and other imagery that is faster, cheaper and safer than traditional methods.” – Andy Goretti, Manager, Mecklenburg County MaPS Division Solution At A Glance Company Profile Mecklenburg County Service Provider Charlotte UAV Client Since 2017 About the Client The MaPS division was formed to create, maintain, and disseminate Mecklenburg County's geographic information to support both internal and external land planning and management efforts. Challenge Mecklenburg County wants to leverage drone technology but local officials are reluctant to use them due to liability, public relations concerns, and the cost of keeping up with rapidly changing technology. Solution Mecklenburg County contracted with CharlotteUAV via public bid process for 1 year. A successful year of outsourcing its UAV services, Mecklenburg County has decided to renew the contract and looks to continue to explore new ways to utilize drone technology. The client: Mecklenburg County’s Mapping and Project Services Division provides mapping technology for the county and the city of Charlotte in North Carolina. It is responsible for providing accurate and timely information for agencies handling a wide range of functions, including property assessment, 911 services, code enforcement, air and water quality management, flood control, land development and parks and recreation. The division also provides extensive real estate and community information to the public through a variety of portals . The challenge: Mecklenburg County and Charlotte are among the fastest growing areas in the nation. Documenting the changing uses of 545 square miles has been increasingly challenging even with annual (and expensive) aerial photography by traditional aircraft. Failure to document development and redevelopment in a timely manner causes problems ranging from inaccurate property assessments to delays in collecting storm-water fees for needed flood control projects. Other traditional methods of collecting needed data and imagery – such as water-quality staff wading through streams to detect illicit runoff or building inspectors crawling on rooftops – are slow, costly and can be dangerous. Outdated or inadequate data also causes life-safety concerns when 911 operators dispatch medic, fire and police in response to emergencies.
  3. 3. The challenge (continued): Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, commonly known as drones) have quickly become popular as a cost-effective means of aerial photography, particularly for the real estate industry. But they also have been controversial as a potential invasion of privacy or, when hobbyists operate them near airports, as a danger to aviation. As a result, local government officials have been reluctant to use drones widely due to liability and public relations concerns. Others worry that purchasing drones may be an unwise investment due to rapidly changing UAV technology. The solution: After first researching and rejecting purchasing drones due to these concerns, in 2017 Mecklenburg County became one of the first in the nation to seek bids from UAV operators to assist with aerial data collection. The county discovered most bidders were engineering or survey firms, with many receiving their training and equipment from Charlotte UAV. Charlotte UAV also developed and produced its own equipment, assuring its UAVs are cutting edge. Charlotte UAV also pledged to be a partner with the county, experimenting with new uses for UAVs, incorporating the county’s existing technology, and being immediately available 24-7. The county agreed to a one-year contract with Charlotte UAV for the 2017-18 fiscal year, and the county recently renewed their contract for another year. The results: Charlotte UAV completed ten (10) projects for Mecklenburg County MaPS Division during the first year. Results included: TAX REVENUE INCREASE: More timely storm-water fees for flood control: The county assesses a fee for a property’s impervious area (e.g. areas covered by asphalt, concrete, and rooftops) where rain water runs off into storm drains. Fees collected help finance flood control projects, such as stream restoration and acquisition of property in flood plains. Charlotte UAV detects new development that covers impervious areas much sooner than possible with traditional methods of annual aircraft surveys, county staff drive-bys and building permit reviews. For example, gas service stations typically can be completed in 30 to 45 days, covering soil with asphalt and creating new runoff. In the past, it often took 18 months to document this development and start assessing storm-water fees. With Charlotte UAV surveillance, development was detected and fees assessed almost immediately. Charlotte UAV team prepping for a flight. 1000’s of aerial images are collected and stitched together to create a high resolution orthophotograph used for assessing fees for a new development’s impervious area.
  4. 4. Client Success Story | Mecklenburg County The results (continued): IMPROVED PUBLIC SAFETY: More accurate location information for 911 opera- tors: In Waverly, one of the county’s most explo- sive growth areas, Charlotte UAV flights helped map addresses more quickly to assure accurate dispatches of medics, fire and police. In the past, limited address information could delay responses to construction accidents in these fast-developing 80% COST REDUCTION: Immediate evaluation of controlled burns in natural preserves: Naturalists at the county’s McDowell Nature Center and Preserve conducted a 110-acre controlled burn to prevent forest overgrowth and wild fires. In the past, it would have required hiring a helicopter and taken at least six months to ana- lyze the results. Charlotte UAV surveyed the burn immediately, allowing naturalists to see results before vegetation regrowth and to plan future con- trolled burns, at approximately one-fifth the cost. SAFER WATER: Identification of sources of water pollution: Charlotte UAV’s experimented with different thermal cameras and detected an illegal discharge into a county stream during daylight hours. In the past, county staff have had to wade the streams in search of runoff or hire traditional aircraft to fly at night. The thermal image indicates a thermal exception on the edge of the pond. Both pairs of imagery indicate the same anomaly.
  5. 5. CONSERVATION & FLOOD CONTROL: Highlighting the condition of streams and waterways: Aerial footage from one Charlotte UAV project identified eroded and debris-filled streams that need to be restored for more effective flood control. Another project captured the beauty of the county’s waterways to build public support for greenways. •ATTRACTING DEVELOPERS: Marketing economic development sites: Charlotte UAV’s high-quality imagery helps distant companies considering relocation or expansion in Mecklenburg County analyze available industrial and commercial sites. Charlotte UAV captured the existing conditions of miles of streamways by using 2 pilots and 1 collision-tolerant drone. Traditional methods were timely, unreliable, and not affordable. Future Uses Light-Rail Inspections Crime Scene Reconstruction Catawba River Silt Measurement Thermal Roof & Building Envelope Inspection Search-and-Rescue Monitoring River District Development 2019 Property Tax Reevaluation
  6. 6. For more information: Brett Smith Charlotte UAV Brett@charlotteUAV.com, (704) 499-7012 www.CharlotteUAV.com Andy Goretti, Mecklenburg County MaPS Division Andy.Goretti@MecklenburgCountyNC.Gov (704) 336-6192 www.emaps.charmeck.org THE BOTTOM LINE: Local governments face increasing pressure to capture data more accurately and with greater timeliness, particularly in fast-growing areas. Unmanned aerial vehicles increasingly are being accepted as an important tool to help cities and counties keep pace. Contracting with a qualified vendor rather than county owned-and-operated UAVs avoids potential liability concerns. Charlotte UAV is a national leader in developing and operating UAVs, with a proven track record of rapid-response, cost-effective services. Charlotte UAV’s flexibility in developing new applications and coordinating with existing software also has made the company an ideal partner for Mecklenburg County. About Charlotte UAV Charlotte UAV is a fully licensed and insured drone services provider and robotics manufacturer located in Charlotte, NC. Founded in 2013 by two former air-force veterans, Charlotte UAV has grown to 2 locations and offers hardware, software, training, consulting, and services to municipalities, universities, energy utilities, design-build firms, hollywood production houses, and the United States Department of Defense. Charlotte UAV’s drone services aim to allow enterprise organizations and government agencies to begin immediately benefitting from drone technology without the risk, costs, and time investment generally required to develop an in-house program. Charlotte UAV’s drones, ground rovers, and boats are proudly American Made!

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