Hivemapper, a flight guide for drone pilots

IDG News Service | Nov 5, 2015

Hivemapper takes the video signal from your drone and superimposes onto it details of buildings and points of interest nearby. And if you get too close to those buildings, it also serves up a warning that you might be about to hit them.

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Hivemapper will tell you what’s going on around your drone and help you avoid hitting things.

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If you’re going for a drive in a car, a map is pretty essential. Be it on paper or smartphone, it tells you everything that’s going on around you. For drones, there’s a new app called Hivemapper. It takes the video signal from your drone and superimposes onto it details of buildings and points of interest nearby. And if you get too close to those buildings, it also serves up a warning that you might be about to hit them

Ariel Siedman, CEO, Hivemapper
Hive mapper is a real-time, three-dimensional map of the earth that we are creating for drone flyers. When you are flying, you’re concerned about buildings. How tall is this building, what is the boundary of this building, what are the overhead power lines. So we are mapping all of that information in excruciating detail.

Shall we go fly?

Voiceover
Underlying the service is a database of some 20 million structures that Hivemapper has built covering the entire U.S. That data includes building boundaries and heights, so pilots get warnings if their drones get too close. The difference in perspective from the ground means it’s not always easy to judge if a drone is too close to a building, so those warnings could prevent collisions.

There’s also a strong community aspect. Users can contribute their favorite drone launching sites and waypoints, which are places that offer an interesting or impressive views.

Hive mapper also includes data on no-fly zones. At launch it includes airports, close to which drone flight is prohibited or restricted, and the company will be adding other areas where drones shouldn’t fly, such as national parks. Hive mapper doesn’t prevent flight — only the drone’s own software can do that — but it does provide a useful warning.

And there’s a panel where users can submit reports. Either to correct data, for example if an airfield has closed but is still marked as active, or to report requests from law enforcement not to fly or any type of harassment received by drone pilots.

Martyn Williams
As drones get more popular and regulations around them are implemented, it’s going to become even more important for pilots to know what’s going on around them. Hive mapper should help that happen and the community aspects will make drone flight more fun.
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