In a recent article by Troy Lambert, he asks, Will industries create internal positions for drone pilots and UAV data specialists, or will they outsource them? It’s a good question, and one of many with a mixed answer: it depends.
Some industries will want to keep data in house, and be responsible for their own data collection, storage, and security. Other, smaller companies do not possess the infrastructure or volume of data to support their own department, and may be more inclined to hire out these services. This means opportunities in this field will be diverse: a professional could be working for a department within a company or for a company that specializes in UAV operations, data gathering, collections, and security. Recall, here at GEO Jobe we also now offer UAV data collection and aerial mapping services to our clients.
Data collection is the relatively easy part, although speed and data capacity are an issue as drones can log longer flight times. Transferring the data to a local server or hard drive is relatively simple, However, sharing the data is where things start to get a little more complicated, particularly if your team needs access in real-time to your aerial data libraries and then there’s the matter of distributing your data via webmap (WMS) as a gateway.
Most video footage or sensor data gathered by a UAV needs to remain private to one extent or another. However, you need to provide access to clients and other parties, otherwise the data is useless. So the data must be securely stored but in a way that it can still be selectively shared.
“Securely sharing confidential data is one of the great conundrums of our time,” says Shawn Surber, a cyber security consultant. “The first thing to realize when sharing confidential data electronically is that you are accepting a certain degree of risk. If that risk is unacceptable to you, then you’ll need to find another way to share the data.”
Even if your organization is large enough to have an encrypted email system, most UAV data files are too large to share this way. Before you even share the data at all, you’ll need to find a way to secure it. This involves a couple of steps.
“First, you should password protect the file,” Surber says. “That’s akin to locking the door on your house; it won’t stop a dedicated burglar, but it prevents casual theft.” Many software applications offer this feature, but if not “you can compress (zip/tar/etc.) the file and add a password using that tool.” Compressing the file also makes it smaller, and easier to transmit.
Second, the file needs to be backed up in one form or another. It sounds basic, but much of the time UAV data is difficult or impossible to reproduce exactly and expensive to create. While there are data recovery services available regardless of where you save the data initially, an irreversible data loss can be catastrophic.
In the meantime, storing UAV data and keeping it secure while being able to share it with your clients and collaborators remains challenging. But with a looming 100 million dollar plus industry, this challenge is one many companies are anxious to solve. We’ve addressed the issue here with our GEO Powered Cloud.
Many GIS platforms like GEOPowered Cloud already use the cloud for ArcGIS functions without the expense of having their own on-site servers. According to Jeremy Webber, GEO Jobe VP of Enterprise Operations, “Whether you are leveraging shared or dedicated ArcGIS for Server resources in the GEOPowered Cloud, you are guaranteed the best of Esri’s enterprise GIS products without the cost and overhead of an on-premises deployment.” We recently identified a number of reasons / benefits of the Geopowered Cloud. In addition to being a very cost effective Webmap Server solution, the Geo powered cloud offers such benefits as: flexibility, automatic updates, disaster recovery, ease of access, improved collaboration, simple setup and more. Read more about the benefits HERE.
See also this article on the cloud by Troy Lambert @tlambertwrites.