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What are UAV’s?

 UAV’s are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. They come in all shapes and sizes, and we will use the most appropriate one to fit our clients project needs.

What kind of Projects can UAV’s be used on?

While Enrolled as a Geography Ph.D. Student in 2009, Jacob Spuck, President of AEC, was involved in incorporating UAV's as sensors in every-day life at a time when they were just a bleep on the radar.  Nearly a decade later, he has remained more then impressed with their increasing capibilities.  With the help of Adena Environmental, the possibilities of UAV uses are endless.  We can work with real-estate agents to obtain simple Aerial Photography and Videos, or with Energy companies using thermal bands to inspect pipeline leaks, electrical lines and even solar panel efficiency.  In addition, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors can now be used to show real-time surface topography.  This can be highly efficient to construction companies looking to monitor their projects. These are just a few of the MANY applications of UAV’s  

What are the real benefits of using UAV's?

  •   Increased Safety and Decreased Risk for Field Crews  

  UAV’s enable the ability to survey hard to reach locations.  Steep slopes , which could cause a significant hazard for field crews can be surveyed with ease.  One injury alone could cost the company more then the cost to hire an AEC UAV pilot every day for an entire year. 

  •    Decreased Cost and Overhead  

  With UAV’s an 18 acre site can be flown over and mapped in approximately 10 minutes.  The same process could take field crews days.  Project areas of interest can be narrowed down drastically.  Helicopter rentals used to perform similar tasks have costed as much as $2,000/hr in the past.  In addition, Pittsburgh has become a hotspot for drone technology. With over 2,000 bridges and thousands of miles of pipeline infrastructure (Much of which is in great need of replacement), UAV’s will play a critical role in the regions future.  

  • Increased Flexibility for Implementing Scopes and Ability to be More Competitive with your Project Proposals  

  The ability to have real-time data will undoubtedly appeal to agencies working with our clients.  UAV’s will provide more possibilities for visualizing spatial data. Studies have shown that people are able to interpret spatial data 90% better with video footage of an area rather then simply looking at an aerial photograph.  UAV’s will allow for a variety of visualization techniques to be used resulting in more efficient mapping.

  • Can be marketed as more Environmentally Friendly

 The use of UAV’s can save several trips back and forth to the project location.  Drones can also allow for more regular monitoring of environmental impacts.  Volumetric calculations of loose exposed soils for example, can be done 60 times faster with drones then by using traditional survey methods.  150 acres of construction impact areas can be surveyed in as little as 30 minutes.  The reduction of field crew walking the project area of the site will also result in less destruction of the natural vegetation within the project area.    

What do you charge for UAV projects?

It varies greatly by thy type of project and what you are looking for.   Simple aerial photography will cost less then thermal imagery data or topographic data obtained by our drones.  We will work with you to get a reasonable budget in place.   We do currently offer 25% off weekend surveys.   

What conditions can UAV’s be used in?

We can typically work in light rain or snow, however the most accurate readings for most projects would typically be in dryer calm conditions.  Conversely, for some thermal projects, such as housing heat loss inspection, it may actually be more efficient to work in cold winter conditions.  Multispectral imagery and LiDAR typically works well in the late afternoon or evenings.  With hundreds of hours of safety training and 40 hour OSHA Hazwoper trained employees, we can work in the trickiest of locations.  Our UAV pilot has been involved in the aviation industry for over 15 years as a member of the Civil Air Patrol and has also worked on various FAA projects involving telecommunications infrastructure.      

Our Drone Capibilities

Real-Time Aerial Photography


• Can be implemented easily

• Can easily be obtained daily, weekly, monthly with ease

  • Quick turnaround time from our drone to your desk

Thermal Imagery

  • Allows you to see the invisible.  
  • Can detect leaks and heat loss for nearly any infrastructure imaginable
  • Great for Environmental Monitoring

LiDAR/Elevation Mapping

  • Great for construction planning and monitoring, as well as inspections
  • Provides real-time 3-D elevation data with the highest vertical accuaracy of a couple of centimeters
  • Can penetrate canopies to give true ground surface elevations
  • Can also allow for volumetric calculations which enables the estimation of the amount of aggregat or soil in a stockpile.  Great for Oil and Gas, Construction and Mining