The IT Wow Factor

I confess I can be a bit of an IT junkie. I enjoy exploring new ways of working, finding new and innovative hardware and software. Not everything is what it is cracked upto be or maybe not just right for me but there are times when you have that "Wow Factor". 

Over the past 25 years I have had a number of Wow moments with the more recent being yesterday. One of those occasions when you look at your computer and sit with amazement at what you have just done. I will come back to this shortly. First of all though lets recap on a few of those Wow moments.

  • My first portable computer, Toshiba 1000 which in retrospect a real brick. A 40Mb hard drive and I think about 500k of RAM. Ground breaking at the time! However it was a transformation being able to take with you all of your work.
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS) - the first sofware I had was by produced Atlas. Being able to use maps, visualise data and analyse it was groundbreaking. Again the IT guys didn't like supporting it because it was at times tricky. In addtion to make it work propoerly you needed a high specification PC in the days when the power of the notebook you were issued with related to your seniority, not what you needed the PC for!
  • First "Smart" phone, well not that smart but at the time once again a revolution. I recall the first one was a HP device and I pestered the IT team to get me one which they did and spent ages supporting it. However this was the first time that email was available on a phone, a big move from a Nokia 6110 (one of the most reliable phones ever and you only charged it once every 4 or 5 days). From there I moved onto a Blackberry which soon became iconic.
  • Next was again GIS, this time the next generation of the software, ArcGIS made by ESRI. Whilst they are many other excellent software packages I have stuck with ArcGIS, made by ESRI, for the last 15 or so years. It has evolved dramatically and continues to do so. GIS for many years was off field and considered to be specialist sotware and in light of this seemed to takes ages to be accepted. However today location and spatial data is part of our everyday lives.
  • Hardware again and the Mac. For too many years I used a windows PC, whilst in the corporate worls there wasn't a choice. About 5 years ago I took the leap to Mac and my regret is that I didn't do it earlier. I am now a Mac convert having an iMac, MacBookPro, 2 iPads and an iPhone. There all work together, I have access to everything I need across all devices and they rarely go wrong. Saying that last week I did have a glitch when I changed an Apple ID and it caused a problem with my iMac. After an hour with Apple Support it was fixed but by reverting to the orignal set up. Two days later they called back to see how everything was going and to talk me through changing a few things. Apple Support is very hard to beat.

Well back to yesterday's "Wow" moment. This time it is software and a product called DroneDeploy. The name is bit of a give away but what is does is amazing. It transforms a DJI Inspire drone from a photographic platform into a drone which can produce true vertical aerial images (same at Google Earth but current), Digital Terrain and Surface Models, contour maps, NDVI maps and 3D models. 

Using of the software adds to the experience. In simple terms you indicate on a map the area you wish to fly, it then works out the best route. You press go and it udertakes various pre-flight checks, press go again and it takes off, flies the route and returns home landing in front of you. My first flight was 7 acres, it took 4m 30s and it took 70 pictures. You then upload these and for processing and in return you get the various maps in return. The backdrop to this blog is the vertical picture and below is the DTM.

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