SolSpec: Drone Tech Meets Data Analytics

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Tobias Kraft, CEO
The year is 1849. The Austrian forces use incendiary balloons to drop bombs over the city of Venice. At least one of the balloons does the job, while several others fly right back to Austria due to changes in wind direction. This event marks the first recorded use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Nearly 170 years later, UAVs are today functional in diverse industries and render their services to more than just the military. However, can the drones perform surveillance of areas and inspect pipelines, soil erosion, and assist in resource management? “Yes,” says Tobias Kraft, CEO of SolSpec, an aerial asset management firm that specializes in remote sensing, photogrammetry, data management, and data visualization.

Kraft emphasizes the need for resource management firms to focus on the land-use footprint and fulfill compliance requirements pertaining to the environment. The compliance factor involves stormwater management, vegetation, and water quality, and failing to meet these requirements can prove to be expensive for firms. SolSpec’s drone data processing and analytics software makes it possible to identify environmental concerns before any further escalation. The company’s software captures data recorded by the drones and uses it to map the topographies, providing orthomosaic digital surface model and 3D mesh. The outcome can prove useful for organizations in oil and gas, construction, and environmental industries in studying terrain and monitoring assets remotely using photogrammetry. Organizations can analyze soil erosion patterns and take proactive measures to ensure the longevity of assets by conducting an effective risk assessment. SolSpec is harnessing these technologies to provide its clients with best-in-class asset management solutions.

Another key challenge faced by firms is storing the collected data and sharing the same with their clients. Team SolSpec understands the value critical data brings to organizations, especially if it is germane to projects that need collaborative actions.
To overcome these challenges, “SolSpec has built a data pipeline that allows users to download information from UAVs, and collate and contribute to the project on the cloud,” adds Kraft.

SolSpec built a data pipeline that allows users to download information from UAVs, collate and contribute to the project on the cloud

While the use cases are innumerable, the association of SolSpec with an energy organization is a perfect example of the former’s prowess in its domain. With over half a dozen pipeline shut-ins annually in the Appalachian basin, the client suffered losses that cost nearly $5 to $10 million per day. In a pursuit to prevent this, the client connected with Kraft’s team to find a way out of their ordeal. Using SolSpec’s analytics solution, the organization took proactive measures and stabilized the assets. Despite record rainfall in the basin in 2018 and a high possibility of pipeline damage, the client battled the odds and ensured zero shut-ins. Other use cases of SolSpec’s solution include facilitating surface hydrology, topographic survey, vegetation assessment, and erosion prediction and detection.

With a keen understanding that the one-size-fits-all analytics model is obsolete, team SolSpec takes a contextual approach to their machine learning models, which are programmed by SMEs to provide a tailored solution. Kraft credits the organization’s growth and prowess to its talent pool that turns every challenge into an opportunity. Looking at the road ahead, SolSpec will be expanding into Canada, Mexico, Columbia, and Africa to provide its services to a larger and more diversified market. Additionally, “SolSpec intends to evolve into a Software-as-a-Service provider, which can make the solution more affordable and scalable,” hints Kraft.

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Golden, CO

Tobias Kraft, CEO

An aerial asset management company that specializes in remote sensing, photogrammetry, data management, and data visualization