The Shire of Esperance’s drone program was born out of necessity: a job arose that required the use of a drone for aerial photography, which was quoted by a contractor at three times the cost of a commercial drone. The decision was made for the Shire to acquire its own DJI Phantom 4 Pro and have an employee learn the ropes to complete the task in-house.
Though the learning curve was steep the task was accomplished through watching instructional videos and using DJI’s flight simulator.
The inertia from the success of the initial job drove the program to be utilised more frequently and for more tasks: from aerial photography and structure inspections to stockpile measurements and media work, the drone was incorporated throughout many Shire departments’ work. With the building momentum and success of the program in mind, extensive research was done on the capabilities of drones and the cost effectiveness of completing these task internally.
Resultantly A group of ten employees from departments across the organisation spent a week earning their Remote Pilot’s License.
The Shire’s drone fleet has since increased and now consists of a DJI Phantom 4 Pro V1, DJI Mavic Enterprise and DJI M300 with a H20T camera to start. The Shire of Esperance has high hopes for the future of their drone program, looking to increase platform functionality with LiDAR, enhanced orthomosaics, digital terrain mapping and 3D mapping on demand.