Get Started Flying Your Own Drone

Author: Stockpile Reports

WASTO 2019 Annual Conference | Event | Stockpile Reports

Drones are easy and efficient tools for measuring stockpile inventory at your company. However, most companies do not know where to start with implementing an in-house drone program. In this guide, we break down the essential gear, software, and certifications needed to get started today. We will show you where to get started with flying your own drone for stockpile inventory.

Choosing a Drone for Stockpile Inventory Measurement

When considering a drone for stockpile measurement, there’s a variety of choices available. 

For those specifically seeking a drone for stockpile measurement, the DJI Air 2S is our top recommendation due to it’s great camera and 3rd party mapping software support. However, for teams focused on geospatial tasks, investing in the DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise might be a justifiable additional expense due to additional features such as RTK positioning and thermal cameras. 

Stockpile Reports supports the following drones for use with our service:

  • DJI Phantom 4 Series
  • Mavic 2 Pro (we do not support The Mavic 2 Zoom)
  • Inspire 1 or 2 with X3, X4S, X5, or X5S cameras (with default DJI lenses)
  • DJI Air 2S
  • DJI Mavic 3E and 3T (No Cine or Classic models)
DJI Air 2S Mavic 3E

Flight Software

All drones come with flight software, however, non-enterprise drones require advanced 3rd party flight software for mapping. There are several options ranging from free to paid apps. We recommend Map Pilot Pro for its ease of use and reliability. Additionally, we recommend a dedicated iPad Mini for your drone that you can keep charged and ready to go. 

If you opt for an enterprise level drone, the included smart controller will come pre-loaded with DJI’s mapping software. These controllers are also equipped with built-in ultra-bright screens for easy flight monitoring.

Map Pilot Pro iPad Mini

Drone Accessories

Extra Drone Batteries

Grab a few extra batteries if you are planning to fly more than one site on a given day. This ensures that you never run out of power.

Memory Card

You will need a memory card drone in order to save footage and images. We recommend a 64GB or 128GB, U3 speed class microSD memory card for storage. Depending on how often you are flying and how many worksites you have, you might want to consider purchasing more than one memory card.

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Pilot Certification

Your drone pilots will need to get FAA Part 107 remote pilot certified as Federal law requires each pilot that flies a drone to be certified. Each pilot will have to pass the 60 question  certification test. There are several ways to prepare for the FAA Part 107 drone certification test including books, online courses, and in-person training programs. Learn more about the certification process by visiting the FAA’s certification page. For pilots outside of the United States, check your flight authority for certification requirements.

FAA Certification Information

Drone Registration

All drones over 250 grams will need to be registered with the FAA. This process only takes a few minutes online. Follow the FAA’s instructions for registering your drone.

Register Your Drone


Pilot insurance protects your pilots from the liability of damaging personal property or physical harm. Inquire with your current insurance broker to see what coverage is available as drone operations coverage is increasingly difficult to obtain and can be expensive. Additionally, DJI offers equipment maintenance and repair plans in the event of an accident or malfunction.

Start Measuring with Stockpile Reports

Stockpile Reports offers a cloud-based service that allows you to monitor and track your inventory levels from a convenient dashboard. Simply upload your drone flight imagery and we automate the measurement process.

Implementing Stockpile Reports into your inventory management process improves the consistency of your stockpile measurements. The integrity of our verified inventory reports isolates and brings transparency to the measurement risks which corrupt stockpile volumes estimated with non-automated tools. If you want to control inventory variances, the best place to start is with precise, reliable inventory measurements. 

Whether you choose to use your own drone, use our out-sourced drone pilots (U.S./Canada), our proprietary iPhone app SR Measure, we are here to help you measure stockpiles. To get started, please contact our team and we’ll connect you with a stockpile inventory expert.

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