Save Our Coastline: Fly Your Drone

Join the largest, crowd-sourced drone project in history

DroneDeploy's Blog
Published in
4 min readJan 14, 2016

DroneDeploy has joined forces with The Nature Conservancy as the official image processing and map hosting partner for California’s Phones and Drones project.

The Phones and Drones project allows regular citizens to transform themselves into citizen scientists by using technology that’s already at their fingertips—phones and drones—to contribute in creating a crowd-sourced map of the California coast.

This pieced-together map is a rare opportunity that allows anyone to play a part in documenting impacts of big storm events that will be caused by, what could be, one of the largest El Niños on record.

DroneDeploy’s cloud-based software platform will allow drone-owning citizen scientists who participate in the Phones and Drones project to easily process their geotagged imagery for free.

There is a strong El Niño event occurring right now off our coast. It will likely cause significant impacts to both natural ecosystems and human systems in California. This El Niño is predicted to persist through the spring of 2016 and is setting up to be among the strongest on record.

Join us! Become a citizen scientist and help monitor El Niño, just by making an aerial map

Don’t have a drone? Click to learn how to help by using just your phone

How does this process work?

DroneDeploy will power your drone to capture accurate aerial imagery, then quickly process all of that data into high-resolution orthomosaic maps, digital surface models, and 3D models of California’s coast.

Use the Share button in DroneDeploy and send maps to:

Once your data is processed, you’ll need to share your map with The Nature Conservancy’s DroneDeploy account by using the Share button while viewing your map and sending to:

After that, scientists with The Nature Conservancy will make use of this crowd-sourced data to ground-truth their climate models to get an accurate, statewide picture of how sea level rise, flooding and erosion are shaping our coastline.

Eventually, everyone will be able to view a public map which will contain the data from everyone’s separate drone maps and aggregate them into one collective viewing portal (coming soon).

Is it free to use DroneDeploy?

Yes, DroneDeploy has a free tier! This means that you will be able to easily create aerial drone maps of the coast for free — no credit card required. Just click here to create a free DroneDeploy account to get started.

What drones work with DroneDeploy?

DroneDeploy’s cloud-based web platform can process geotagged imagery from any drone or aerial vehicle. However, if you have a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced, Phantom 3 Pro, or Inspire 1, you are able to use DroneDeploy’s mobile apps that easily automate the flight planning and data collection process.

Click here to download the DroneDeploy Android app

Click here to sign up to receive access to the DroneDeploy iOS beta app

What kind of aerial data should I be looking for?

We request that the UAV community share their aerial imagery of storm events like high water or flooding, coastal erosion, and storm damage. We will also publicize specific areas or times where coastal imagery will be needed.

DroneDeploy Overview and How-to:

Where can I learn more about DroneDeploy?

Visit our online support documentation to help you get started with aerial mapping. Don’t have a drone? Click to learn how to help by using just your phone.

Be Smart and Safe

Fly at your own risk. Remember it is your responsibility to understand the lawful use of drones in California. Know where you can and cannot fly legally. There are a lot of good resources out there and we recommend consulting Airmap.

NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries also have overflight regulations and restriction zones, so be sure to check those out before flying a drone near a Sanctuary. Remember, please do not harass wildlife . Birds and multi-rotors do not mix.

California has 840 miles of coastline—let’s get out there and start mapping

Phones and Drones project = You + The Nature Conservancy + DroneDeploy

Flickr hashtags for individual images (non-maps): #ElNinoCA & #Drone

Follow Conservancy in CA and DroneDeploy for the latest information



DroneDeploy's Blog

DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones.