What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

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Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

About

"One Button Survey"

Epoc Unmanned Inc. is proud to introduce the "One Button Survey" system or OBS for short. Please forgive our hand-crafted prototypes! The production version will be tough, weather resistant and injection molded.

With all the "cheap as possible" failed Kickstarters we have carefully priced this funding campaign so that we can actually deliver a top notch, fully functional survey system to you in a timely fashion. 

What is OBS?

OBS is the answer to a question every drone operator has asked: "How accurate is my drone data?

Most drone surveyors know that to attain accurate and proven data they should be using "Ground control". However, buying and learning how to use expensive survey equipment so that you can locate that ground control has always been a barrier. We understand, and that is why we created OBS.

OBS is a simple and affordable DUAL frequency GPS survey system that anyone can use to produce accurate "survey grade" drone data using "Ground control and Check shots" in your data. Creating accurate data with drones is actually a very simple surveying task that can be accomplished without the complexity and cost of "professional" survey equipment.  This is where the "one button" concept came from: keep it simple. 

Please pay special attention to the fact that OBS is a dual frequency solution. That means very little waiting time at each GCP or check shot. As a matter of fact similar times to "Professional" survey equipment are required. When compared to other DIY solutions this is why you will see a price difference over individual components that are incomplete solutions. In surveying you get what you pay for. 

Accuracy is a bit of a dirty secret in the drone industry: it is common to see drone salesmen and service providers claiming to produce "survey grade" or "centimeter accurate" drone data. However, the salesmen and service providers do not prove the accuracy of the data. In fact, without expensive professional survey equipment the majority of drone data is not accurate at all! 

How accurate is OBS?

VERY accurate. We compared a first generation OBS prototype to a $40,000 "professional" GPS survey system by using a 'known baseline' (two control points approximately 148m apart) established using a Leica total station. In this test the OBS survey system produced 2mm of error including the Z (elevation), compared to 1mm of error in the "professional" system. 

Note the professional system was set up on a tribrach per accepted survey practice and the OBS prototype was literally taped to the rebar pin in order to simulate using OBS directly on a painted ground control target or other ground level control monument. Results may vary, but we have found OBS to be incredibly accurate in field testing under typical or 'real world' conditions:

 

 

 

 

Prototype OBS on a painted GCP
Prototype OBS on a painted GCP

Why are you bringing this to market?

Currently the vast majority of drone data is being collected with inexpensive consumer-grade UAVs that do not have "survey grade" or "centimeter accurate" positioning capabilities. The most common example of these types of drones are the "Phantom", "Inspire 1" and "M600" models manufactured by DJI and the "Solo" manufactured by 3DR.

The positioning systems on these drones use uncorrected civilian single-frequency GPS receivers accurate to 4-15m (on a good day). The position data provided by the GPS receiver is used to create the maps, point clouds and 3D models that are often sold as "survey grade" without any data to back up these claims.

How is it possible to get "survey grade accuracy" and "centimeter accuracy" from raw data that is accurate to maybe a dozen meters? It isn't!

And this is the dirty secret: inaccurate and accurate drone data sets "look" exactly the same but they are not. Without check shots to verify the level of accuracy there is absolutely no way to know how good or bad drone data is. In order for your data to be accurate and useful to your client (or yourself) you MUST use accurate ground control and check points.

We got tired of carrying around bulky and expensive survey equipment and training our staff set up tripods, tribrachs, radios, etc. and operate ridiculously complicated data collectors just to survey ground control targets and pick up a few check shots. It just seemed far too difficult for something so simple. So we created OBS to make it simple and easy. Say goodbye to a truckload of survey gear and dozens of bulky ground control targets.

I'm a professional surveyor, is this useful to me?

Well if you like breaking your back hauling around and setting up all that survey gear to do your drone surveys or to locate points then.... no. If you want to unburden yourself from all the unnecessary gear and save a bunch of time, OBS will make your life much easier. OBS can be set up over control monuments via tripod and tribrach just like any other professional equipment.

It can also be set up on the ground with no tripod at all using our alignment plates which are easy to place and use. Below is an example of OBS set up with a survey tripod and tribrach. 

Prototype OBS setup over a control point
Prototype OBS setup over a control point

We have completed extensive field testing of the OBS prototype system and are able to obtain true "survey grade accuracy" and "centimeter accuracy" for both ground control targets and check shots. We know we are achieving "centimeter accuracy" because we are using a very expensive and complicated Topcon GR-3 professional survey system to check the OBS data.

Stop hauling this around....
Stop hauling this around....

Whether you are a seasoned survey professional or a drone pilot using consumer drones to map and survey OBS is a tool no aerial surveyor should be without.

Start carrying this around...
Start carrying this around...

What's next?

We have designed, built and tested several prototype OBS modules and now need your help to complete the custom circuit board design and have injection molds manufactured for mass production.

The first OBS prototype
The first OBS prototype

The production OBS will be made of tough, high quality plastic. The housing will be water resistant and robust. The OBS system will be delivered in a watertight case complete with CNC cut foam (no pick'n'pluck foam here!) and a Bluetooth app to control the OBS module.

Stop paying a ton of money for survey gear when you don't need it!

Stop hauling around all your pro survey gear when you don't need it!

Stop dragging around large clunky ground control targets!

Why didn't you make "Smart Target"?

We did! And we almost released an integrated single frequency GPS receiver/ground control target this is what it looked like:

It worked very well.. until we started using the system for commercial surveying operations. Instantly we found that carrying around, placing and retrieving a dozen or more smart targets was terribly impractical. You'd be surprised at how hard is is to find the targets for retrieval! The likelihood of losing target is very high, as even short grass or hilly terrain can make finding them difficult. We then ended up using our phones and a GPS app to tag the locations of each target, which is more time and hassle. 

Once the survey is complete you have to download the data from each target, manage and process all those individual data files, charge each target and store them all somewhere. 

Smart targets seem like a great idea in the office, but in the field they are slow, heavy, bulky and inefficient. They also limit the survey area to the number of targets available, and breaking surveys into multiple sections creates all sorts of issues - some photos with targets, some without. Not too mention the time spent placing and retrieving targets in multiple areas. 

After a number of attempts to make smart targets work we went back to the drawing board and created a dual frequency base/rover "OBS" system controlled via Bluetooth from a smart device.

Here is a comparison between OBS, smart targets and professional survey equipment:

How does OBS stack up?
How does OBS stack up?

Once funding is successful we will deliver not just the hardware but also top notch support. We have completed hundreds of drone surveys for dozens of clients over the past seven years and understand the challenges drone operators face. We literally walk the walk.. and talk the talk! We will support your business now and into the future.

We have an exciting road map for the OBS platform and will be releasing a number of awesome products and features for OBS. Stay tuned!

Thank you from all of us a Epoc Unmanned inc. please don't hesitate to contact us! We would love to hear from you and welcome questions, comments and suggestions.

Steve Kloppenburg

C.O.O. Epoc Unmanned Inc.

Risks and challenges

We have completed research, design, prototyping, field testing and data validation.

We have invested an enormous amount of time and effort on the front end to reduce the functional risk to zero.

We will use local, North American injection mold services, trusted GPS receivers (no knock offs here) and North American electrical and software engineering to keep manufacturing close to home so we can monitor quality and ensure timely delivery as well as boost our North American economy.

Our schedule outline is as follows:

1) Nov 28 - Kickstarter begins a 60 day campaign
2) If funding goal is reached prior to end of campaign full design work begins using in-term financing.
2) Jan 2017 - Finalize design with injection mold company.
3) Jan 2017 - Finalize PCB board design with engineering.
4) Feb 2017 - Order test / sample units.
5) March 2017 - Complete final tests on sample units. Provide feedback to disciplines for revisions.
6) April 2017 - Place bulk order for components
7) April 2017 - Receive orders, assemble, QC
8) April 2017 - Begin shipping orders in the same order they were received on Kickstarter
9) Support you in attaining accurate data.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 5,200 or more About US$ 3,962

    Complete OBS system

    You will receive a complete "One Button Survey" system including
    - One OBS Base
    - One OBS Rover
    - Hard case with custom CNC foam
    - Easy to use processing software
    - Easy to use app to control OBS via bluetooth
    - Charger
    - The ability to sell accurate, validated data!

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    4 backers
    CA$

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Funding period

- (60 days)