Drone video shows ‘ghost town’ Mount Rushmore

This story was originally written for MarketWatch.com.

Instagram/Abandoned Earth

Somewhere in Virginia, a field is home to 43 crumbling presidential statues. It’s like a ghost town version of Mount Rushmore.

The sculptures were originally built for Presidents Park in Williamsburg, Virginia, an open-air museum that opened in 2004 but closed six years later. A man named Howard Hankins saved the statues from the crusher and moved them to his farm in Croaker, Virginia. Continue reading Drone video shows ‘ghost town’ Mount Rushmore

How to create maps using drones? Here’s your go-to guide

51TE0B2K6wLLooking to use your drone for something other than spying on your neighbors taking cool pictures?

One of the key value propositions of a drone is photogrammetry. Drones have turned the process of gathering aerial images needed to create 3D maps into something inexpensive and for a wide range of applications — precision agriculture, natural disaster assessment, pollution monitoring and facility inspections. But it’s also daunting; how do you start this with something simple like a DJI Phantom? Continue reading How to create maps using drones? Here’s your go-to guide

Volunteers are using drones to monitor the impacts of El Nino on California’s coastline

As El Nino hits California, drones are heading into the air — documenting the impacts of the rainfall on California’s coastline.

DroneDeploy Orthomosaic Example
Courtesy of Eric Cheng

With El Nino comes surge in storms, coastal flooding and erosion. And the pace of shoreline change is rapidly speeding, meaning that the sea level rise and storms could destroy natural habitats and our own infrastructure. Drones can generate aerial data that documents those changes, allowing scientists to make decisions.

The Nature Conservancy launched a “Phones and Drones” project, giving any  volunteer with a drone the opportunity to help gather data about the coastal impacts of big storm events, with the purposes of improving predictive models and planning responses that protect people and nature. Effectively anyone with a drone can become a citizen scientist. Continue reading Volunteers are using drones to monitor the impacts of El Nino on California’s coastline

Drone-flying, hoverboard Barbie is here


This is an excerpt of a piece originally written for MarketWatch.com.

Mattel recently made a huge step toward refreshing Barbie’s old-fashioned image with a lineup of new Barbies with a variety of body types, skin tones and hairstyles.

Now, Barbie is flying into the future. Literally.

Mattel revealed at the 2016 International Toy Fair in New York the latest incarnation of Barbie — clad in pink, yes, but also riding a hoverboard that’s actually a real drone. The new doll is called Barbie Star Light Adventure RC Hoverboard (RC stands for remote controlled).

the toy into the air with an automatic feature that allows the drone to take off and land with the press of a button. The toy will arrive in stores fall 2016 and sell for $59.99.

The toy could encourage more young girls to have an interest in robotics and aviation.

“This will certainly attract young girls, but also parents who want to buy a toy for their daughters that would interest them in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) realm but aren’t sure what type of toy would inspire that,” said Rhianna Lakin, founder of the group Amelia Dronehart, a group for female drone pilots. Continue reading Drone-flying, hoverboard Barbie is here

DJI Phantom 3 Professional now costs less than $1,000

DJI just launched new pricing on its Phantom 3 Professional.

At $999, the Phantom, which originally priced at $1,259, is an even better deal than Black Friday, when it was going for $1,159.


Features of the Professional include:

  • Included 4K Video / 12 Megapixel Photo Camera
  • Integrated 3-Axis Stabilization Gimbal
  • Easy to Fly, Intelligent Flight System
  • Live HD View
  • Dedicated Remote Controller
  • Powerful Mobile App w/ Auto Video Editor
  • Vision Positioning for Indoor Flight
  • And free same-day delivery!

If you’re thinking about buying one, help support Drone Girl and purchase through this link.


Flying a drone in the UK? Read this first

Once used mostly for military and defense purposes, drones have today worked their way into several aspects of modern life. However, the increasing use of these unmanned aerial vehicles, both for civilian and non-civilian purposes, has brought to forefront the need to have strict rules and regulations for flying them.

The UK, which imports the highest number of drones in the world requires the pilot to have CAA approval for operations beyond their ‘line of sight’.

Here’s a quick look at some more do’s and don’ts of drone usage, courtesy of my friends at Drone Builders.The-Dos-and-Dont-of-Drone-Usage-in-UK

Don’t bring your drone to the Super Bowl, FAA warns

The Federal Aviation Administration wants to make sure your drone stays as far away from Beyonce’s halftime show as possible.

The FAA today released a 20-second video telling people to bring their jerseys, face paint and team spirit — but to leave their drones at home.

Levi’s Stadium is a “No Drone Zone”: A temporary flight restriction will prohibit certain aircraft operations, including drones, from flying within a 32-mile radius of the stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. The restriction is in effect from 2 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. this Sunday.

10 drone Twitter accounts you need to be following in 2016

Follow the right people on Twitter and they’ll tell you everything you wanted to know about drones — and even the stuff you didn’t want to know. What are the latest drone-related lawsuits out there? What new products are coming on the market? And oh, god, did ANOTHER drone just crash somewhere near The White House?

For the drone enthusiasts of the world, there are too many accounts and too little time. If you only have time for 10, here are my picks:

Drone Analyst: For business insights, Colin Snow aka @DroneAnalyst is your guy. There’s insight on who is using them, and how many people are using them. There’s sales data, and there are stories about how drones are changing businesses. Like, um, BMW:

Gregory McNeal: @GregoryMcNeal has mastered the art of the RT, aggregating the best of the best. He focuses on policy, law and business. But he also is good about giving real-time insight into the drone community from the myriad of conferences and events he is visiting. Like this tweet:

Ryan Mac: @RMac18 captured my attention with an interesting profile he wrote about DJI in Forbes, but his drone reporting hasn’t stopped there. He also covers e-commerce, tech and music for Forbes. His tweets like this one make me jealous: Continue reading 10 drone Twitter accounts you need to be following in 2016