Get more from your Mavic
The largest Mavic community in the world
Join Us Now

Photos for Counting Cars at shopping plaza

racervt911

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
12
Reactions
31
Location
North Attleboro, MA
I have a project request to take birds eye view photos of a shopping plaza’s multiple parking lots during Black Friday between 11am-1pm. They want to count the cars to gauge shopping traffic.
I went to check out the site to see where the best place to launch my drone and still maintain VLOS. The plaza is fairly large and has some visual obstructions (trees, buildings) so I may have to land 2-3 times to relocate and/or change batteries. But, my main concern is making sure I don’t fly over people. Any tips or words of advice?
 

racervt911

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
12
Reactions
31
Location
North Attleboro, MA
Even though the client is requesting birds-eye view photos, I am realizing that I probably won’t be able to do that without flying over people. Your suggestion is my most favorable option.
Thank you!
 

MAvic_South_Oz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2017
Messages
6,333
Reactions
5,332
Age
59
Location
South Australia, the great southern land
Not sure what drone you have, and while a drone parachute is not cheap, but a handy thing to have in such cases.
A quick search found these, reusable and pilot repackable.

Drone and UAV Parachute Recovery

Still not sure the US FAA would allow overflight of people / vehicles in mass, but it would certainly mitigate risks of crashing onto someone / something with force.
 

brett8883

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
5,598
Solutions
1
Reactions
4,705
Location
Salt Lake City, Utah
I have a project request to take birds eye view photos of a shopping plaza’s multiple parking lots during Black Friday between 11am-1pm. They want to count the cars to gauge shopping traffic.
I went to check out the site to see where the best place to launch my drone and still maintain VLOS. The plaza is fairly large and has some visual obstructions (trees, buildings) so I may have to land 2-3 times to relocate and/or change batteries. But, my main concern is making sure I don’t fly over people. Any tips or words of advice?
When the FAA says don’t fly over people they mean like crowds and not to loiter over them. They don’t want to you to fly your drone over a concert or festival for example. You can traverse over people on your way somewhere and you just have to try to avoid it if you can.

If the FAA literally meant you can’t fly over a person not even for a moment none of us would be able to get any kind of real actual work done.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Capt KO

MS Coast

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
248
Reactions
277
Location
Gulf coast of Mississippi
Even though the client is requesting birds-eye view photos, I am realizing that I probably won’t be able to do that without flying over people. Your suggestion is my most favorable option.
Thank you!

Remind your client that birds look at most things at an angle from above and seldom look straight down. It's an interesting job and it sounds like the client is willing to do all the tedious counting.
 

dozzn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Messages
144
Reactions
237
Age
42
Location
danville virginia
I have a project request to take birds eye view photos of a shopping plaza’s multiple parking lots during Black Friday between 11am-1pm. They want to count the cars to gauge shopping traffic.
I went to check out the site to see where the best place to launch my drone and still maintain VLOS. The plaza is fairly large and has some visual obstructions (trees, buildings) so I may have to land 2-3 times to relocate and/or change batteries. But, my main concern is making sure I don’t fly over people. Any tips or words of advice?

Do you have a satellite image of the area?
We could get an idea of the best angles for the flight.

I think it would make a cool picture, ( a time lapse video would be great too!). However, I really don’t think it’s a good way of gauging their traffic.

I think they need a clicker.
Good luck and please keep me posted! I wanna see the crowded parking lot!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: racervt911

MAvic_South_Oz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2017
Messages
6,333
Reactions
5,332
Age
59
Location
South Australia, the great southern land
There would be software that could count items in a photo that was represented of an item like vehicles.
They have this for trees, all sorts of things.

Local councils (cities) have software that can look at satellite / aircraft / drone images, and tell them if a photo from a few years ago has changed today in surface type (roofs) by X% (for planning offences).

Maybe it's an add on service some commercial drone operators could investigate and offer clients in such circumstances.
 

The Fat Controller

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
373
Reactions
459
Age
61
Location
Bangor, Northern Ireland
Here are two shots I took of a local car park a couple of months ago. Both were taken from the same place but at different heights. There's no need to overfly anything if you can find a a suitable take off spot near the perimeter of the car park and angle the camera like I've done here, unless they're insisting their bird's eye shot is 'straight down'. Maybe something like this would do them?

DJI_0314.JPG

DJI_0310.JPG
 

BigAl07

Administrator
Staff Member
Premium Pilot
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
5,228
Reactions
11,252
Age
51
Location
Western NC, USA
We've done this for retail clients several times. Fortunately, our clients gave us specific parameters (altitude, samples of angles needed etc etc). This was for counting cars going through an intersection and for cars going through a Drive-Thru during a specific time.

One client wanted video and the other wanted still images. On all of them we determined areas we could "loiter" and not be directly over traffic and not over areas of "people" congestion (building entrances, outdoor congregation areas etc etc). With just a little practice you can fly over cars & people without directly flying over them (mostly).
 

spamgnome

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2019
Messages
559
Reactions
569
Great stuff from others, but I would suggest perhaps an obvious addition to your flight. INSURANCE. Let us know how it goes.
 

racervt911

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
12
Reactions
31
Location
North Attleboro, MA
When the FAA says don’t fly over people they mean like crowds and not to loiter over them. They don’t want to you to fly your drone over a concert or festival for example. You can traverse over people on your way somewhere and you just have to try to avoid it if you can.

If the FAA literally meant you can’t fly over a person not even for a moment none of us would be able to get any kind of real actual work done.
I appreciate your perspective, and do understand where you are coming from. But, having worked for an aviation defense law firm for a short time years ago, and currently holding other FAA certificates for over 30 years, the FAA means “generally” not over people until your drone drops out of the sky and injures someone, then they mean “literally“ not over people.
I will probably just angle my camera up a little and shoot from along the perimeter just to be safe. Thanks again for the input, that why I put this out there. I wanted to hear all angles.
 

brett8883

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
5,598
Solutions
1
Reactions
4,705
Location
Salt Lake City, Utah
I appreciate your perspective, and do understand where you are coming from. But, having worked for an aviation defense law firm for a short time years ago, and currently holding other FAA certificates for over 30 years, the FAA means “generally” not over people until your drone drops out of the sky and injures someone, then they mean “literally“ not over people.
I will probably just angle my camera up a little and shoot from along the perimeter just to be safe. Thanks again for the input, that why I put this out there. I wanted to hear all angles.
Fair enough. Just make sure you don’t fall out of the sky and injure anyone then.
 
  • Like
Reactions: racervt911

racervt911

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
12
Reactions
31
Location
North Attleboro, MA
There would be software that could count items in a photo that was represented of an item like vehicles.
They have this for trees, all sorts of things.

Local councils (cities) have software that can look at satellite / aircraft / drone images, and tell them if a photo from a few years ago has changed today in surface type (roofs) by X% (for planning offences).

Maybe it's an add on service some commercial drone operators could investigate and offer clients in such circumstances.
I thought there was software that did the counting for you, but I guess they don’t have it.
 

racervt911

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
12
Reactions
31
Location
North Attleboro, MA
Here are two shots I took of a local car park a couple of months ago. Both were taken from the same place but at different heights. There's no need to overfly anything if you can find a a suitable take off spot near the perimeter of the car park and angle the camera like I've done here, unless they're insisting their bird's eye shot is 'straight down'. Maybe something like this would do them?

View attachment 139039

View attachment 139040
Thanks for sharing the photos! That helps me a lot! I think I can obtain the data they want with the camera angled up just a little.
 
  • Like
Reactions: The Fat Controller

The Fat Controller

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
373
Reactions
459
Age
61
Location
Bangor, Northern Ireland
Thanks for sharing the photos! That helps me a lot! I think I can obtain the data they want with the camera angled up just a little.
I've just checked back over the flight data for that day and my highest point was 55m (180ft). That would still leave you a fair amount of leeway to get a more useful height or angle.
 

anzacjack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2016
Messages
2,274
Reactions
1,847
Location
Brisbane, Australia
I thought there was software that did the counting for you, but I guess they don’t have it.
There are quite a few packages that will do the counting. Cars in a carpark woulld be very easy to setup. We are using algorithms that can identify a shark among fish or swimmers. Its all about a learning software. Cool stuff becoming available all the tine
 

racervt911

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
12
Reactions
31
Location
North Attleboro, MA
Do you have a satellite image of the area?
We could get an idea of the best angles for the flight.

I think it would make a cool picture, ( a time lapse video would be great too!). However, I really don’t think it’s a good way of gauging their traffic.

I think they need a clicker.
Good luck and please keep me posted! I wanna see the crowded parking lot!
I tried to attache a couple of contextual photos, but the files where too big. I was able to capture about 50% of the photos from birds eye view, mostly when that area of the lot was mostly empty and no people below. The rest I captured while hovering over the trees or buildings.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dozzn
Lycus Tech Mavic Air 2 Case

DJI Drone Deals

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
110,008
Messages
1,303,099
Members
140,251
Latest member
NewAir2sMan