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Data Acquisition

Self-flying vs. Outsourcing: Choose Your Way of Capturing Premium Data

By February 17, 2022November 22nd, 2023No Comments

Two pilots performing a drone inspection on a solar siteUnmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or Drones) have been used in surveying for many years. Still, with the increased availability of drones, visibility on the industry, and easing of legislation around drone flights, there has been a much broader adoption of aerial scans as a method for site inspection over the last five years.

Some of the significant advantages of aerial data scans are the speed at which the data can be captured and processed to provide valuable insights crucial for making informed decisions about your site.

But where and how do you get started? Here’s what we’ve learned from our 10,000+ hours of flight coordination.

Let’s start with why some of our customers outsource their drone flights to providers like Sitemark and why they may sometimes opt to fly their inspections in-house.

  1. Do you already have the proper hardware for your inspection needs?
    The type of inspections you plan on carrying out will dictate the most suitable equipment for your inspections. If you need help on this, we can offer recommendations based on our experience in the industry and what is current in the market.
  1. Is it worth you investing in your own equipment?
    If you plan to do regular inspections, have a vast site, or have multiple sites to inspect, flying in-house might be more cost-effective.
  1. Does anyone in your team already have a UAV pilot license and flying experience?
    Suppose you already have a certified drone pilot in your company. In that case, we can offer training on optimizing your flights for data capture and ensuring you get the best quality data most efficiently.
  1. Does your team have the time to invest in drone flights on top of their existing workload?
    Even with experience and equipment, sometimes our customers will invest in outsourcing their flight inspections to keep their team focused on other tasks.

These are just some high-level questions that can help you evaluate whether flying drone inspections in-house or outsourcing makes the business case for investing.

Flying with Sitemark

While flying with Sitemark, we assign a dedicated Customer Operations member to each client for the entire ordering and execution process. We’ll examine how to convert your ideas and goals into results. We have a global network of experienced pilots knowledgeable in choosing the best equipment and approach to fly your site. This extensive geographical coverage is supported in French, Spanish, Dutch, and English.

What you can expect

  1. We take care of the end-to-end coordination – from the moment the inspection is ordered right up until your results are delivered.
  2. We provide the expertise between the pilot and your data capture needs, including equipment, GSD, weather issues, etc., to ensure maximum quality output for the best results.
  3. If you have assets located across the country or multiple countries, we will use our global pilot network to find the most suitable pilot for your sites to get them inspected.
  4. Your team will require minimal input to the inspection allowing them to focus on their core activities while the pilot carries out the inspections.
  5. Issues such as flight permissions, coordinating with authorities, legal documentation, and other administrative headaches are all handled for you.

Flying in-house

What if flying your inspections in-house makes the most sense for you? You’ll be glad to know that Sitemark is still here to support you in your mission to get the best quality data for your inspection needs.

Our team of expert Operations Coordinators with 10,000+ hours of flight coordination experience can support you with your flights and assist in turning your goals into a reality.

Perhaps you have tall high-voltage powerlines traversing your site, significant elevation changes, or even potential self-shading problems you would like to avoid. We will work with you to advise how to optimize your flight plans, enabling you to capture high-quality data and prevent potential re-flights.

What you can expect

  1. Flying in-house provides a significant degree of flexibility with your data capture, flying as and when best fits your schedule, leaving you to upload the data for processing and wait for the results to be published.
  2. Leverage existing resources within your organization, whether that’s drone equipment you already have or potential skill sets among your team that you would like to utilize. This can also be a rewarding addition to a person’s job and help improve employee motivation and engagement.


Whether you choose to fly with Sitemark or fly the inspections yourself will be a decision specific to your current situation and inspection requirements.

Regardless of which option you choose, these inspections should always focus on getting high-quality data as the foundation for the analysis, ensuring that the actions you take will lead to high-impact results.

Do you want to discuss your project or need hardware advice? Get in touch with our experts, Ryan Pierce or Markéta Raym.

You can also rewatch our webinar on “Aerial Drone Data: Capturing Actionable Insights” to discover the best practices for acquiring high-quality data.