We interviewed Scott McGowan, CEO and founder of Precision Aerial, a drone LiDAR and photogrammetry service provider from Conroe, Texas.
Tell us about Precision Aerial and why you started it.
Precision Aerial provides UAS LiDAR and photogrammetry inspection services in the U.S. and overseas. We started with energy infrastructure inspections, but we’ve expanded into urban development, and more.
I flew RC for 40 years and had been on the energy trading side of physical commodities like crude oil, fuel oil and natural gas for 25 years. About five years ago, I saw an opportunity to combine both of my careers and make inspections and surveys more efficient, safer and economical, so I started Precision Aerial.
What are some recent projects you’ve done with your Phoenix LiDAR equipment?
LiDAR Disaster Response: Hurricane Harvey  changed the landscape of southeast Texas, and The Woodlands [Northern Houston] needed to assess the damage and changes to the city’s 22 mile drainage system to better prepare for the next disaster. Precision Aerial worked with our community to conduct the first drone LiDAR drainage survey by any city or local government agency. It was our own neighborhood, too, so we were glad to help out.
LiDAR Volumetrics: One of our clients needed to calculate the amount of silt spoils removed from a dredging project in a busy port area frequented by the petrochemical industry’s tankers and barges. The spoils were deposited on a small island in the channel, which became covered with the viscous spoils. Trying to survey traditionally with boots on the ground was impossible. It was too dangerous to send a team out to measure because of the quicksand-like property of the deposits, and there was so much vegetation on the island that photogrammetry couldn’t be an accurate option. Basically, the client was out of options until we mentioned the use of a UAS system with a LiDAR sensor. My team flew our LiDAR drone over the island and collected the data with our Phoenix MiniRANGER and it performed perfectly. We knocked that one out of the park–solved the unsolvable.
How has your partnership with Phoenix LiDAR been?
LiDAR is a big investment–money and time–so I spent the better part of a year researching LiDAR companies and talking to their clients about hardware and support–a good reputation was important, too.
I eventually bought two Phoenix miniRANGERs, and we fly them a lot–typically every week.
The relationship has been great, mainly because of performance–the accuracy is what Phoenix said it would be. Phoenix stands behind their products and has been helpful with any of our issues or questions.
Phoenix has been a critical partner in our scaling, and as we get bigger, we’ll be buying more. Frankly, this is a partnership that works.
Phoenix LiDAR Spotlights are an effort to support our clients and feature creativity in UAV LiDAR applications. No party received compensation as a result of this interview. Click on the links to learn more about Precision Aerial or its parent, LJA Engineers.
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