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Innovating the Future of Data Collection

In the latter part of 2013, a transition was in the works at McCord Engineering, Inc. Cy Terral, Field Services Manager, and Mike Kornegay, a PLS-CADD technician, had been spending time brainstorming and trying to devise a quicker, more efficient way to collect data for MEI’s engineering projects. The conversations soon turned to a new trend in the RC industry – drones.

Thankfully, the leaders at MEI allowed their employees to take this leap; they invested in the program and gave approval to begin developing the Geospatial Services division. MEI teamed with a leader of the RC industry, Curtis Youngblood and his team of employees. In doing so, MEI was able to join thirty-eight years of engineering experience with forty-five (combined) years of unmanned aircraft experience.

What started with a need to collect photos of a substation turned into duct-taping a GoPro to a hobby-grade drone. Today, we now carry LiDAR, FLIR, NDVI, still cameras, and video cameras all in one flight. A program developed to enhance the data collection needs of our in-house engineering team has advanced into a geospatial service provider collecting various datasets for numerous industries around the world. Data that once took weeks to collect can now be collected in a matter of hours at a fraction of the traditional cost. At this time, it is hard for us to imagine not utilizing this technology to meet our clients’ needs, as it has become a staple in our day-to-day operations. We are anticipating the opportunity to forge ahead and see what the future holds.