4 in-house certified pilots
DJ&A was founded in 1973 by two former U.S. Forest Service employees who saw a need for a company that uniquely understood Forest Service projects and could provide specialized engineering and survey services in Missoula, Montana and beyond.
From the beginning, DJ&A’s founders set themselves apart from the competition by focusing on providing their clients with the best service and latest technology to get the job done. In those early days, that meant DJ&A was one of the first firms in the state to have a mainframe computer in their office, and shortly thereafter, the first firm in the region capable of performing logging road design electronically.
Today, DJ&A consists of more than 80 employees across four states and continues to adapt to meet the needs of an expanding network of private, local, and federal clientele.
The mission capabilities are focused on LiDAR, photogrammetry and on occasion, manned aircraft for services that include:
DJ&A, given their size and experience, has a sophisticated data chain and process for digital asset management. This includes their field and office processes for backup, file organization and processing. Projects often require travel to a location for up to a week at a time where flights, often with LiDAR, are captured and backed up daily to hard drives via Dell Latitude Toughbooks. From there, the team will return to the office where days to weeks of processing and analysis may be required in order to deliver a project. File management is a critical step in the workflow. Without proper file review and organization, data processed in software suites such as Pix4D, which can take up to 80-100 hours per project, can lead to failures that cause lost time and delay project delivery.
“GNARBOX has been a great tool for standardizing field data backup. We especially liked the automated checksum feature, which gives me confidence we don’t have any corrupted or missing files. We will be continuing to use GNARBOX for field data backups of our UAV LiDAR and imagery operations.”
Jeff Rizza, UAS Program Manager & Pilot
The GNARBOX was inserted into the workflow on a trial basis by UAS Program Manager and Part 107 pilot Jeff Rizza to test the capabilities and advantages over using Toughbooks in the field for the function of creating data redundancy. With the GNARBOX configured to run basic checksums and smart copies, a recent project that largely relied on the LiDAR data capture utilized the GNARBOX for post-flight data backup. Between flights and missions, the raw LiDAR data was backed up via direct SD card import to the GNARBOX. From there, the GNARBOX was backed up to the Toughbooks once back at the hotel for further redundancy and preparation for the next day of flights. Using the GNARBOX as the field solution enabled the team to multi-task, since the GNARBOX backups could take place in a backpack or on a dashboard while changing locations.
The biggest advantage identified by the DJ&A team was the added checksum capabilities to identify whether any files had been corrupted while in the field. Previously, the team had to wait for complex LiDAR data to be reviewed at the office before they could identify any corruption. This enabled the team to either a) be confident there was no corruption and move on to the next location or b) easily recapture any areas where corrupt data collection may have occurred . The convenience of corruption checks being displayed on the GNARBOX OLED itself rather than having to open a laptop to review files or connect a phone app is a unique value add of this backup platform.
The efficiencies created in the DJ&A workflow with GNARBOX, once scaled across a team and a large number of projects, are in fact force multipliers on the data chain over time. Operating in a variety of environments, there is a greater chance that human error will cause data loss, data corruption and subsequently large time gaps before data is secured. The speed and convenience of the GNARBOX system delivers security from losing data and removes human decision-making and error from the process.
- - Implementation of checksum for all copies to check for corruption on location rather than when doing file management and processing days later when no longer on site.
- - Standardization of the backup software being used for all pilots and projects
- - Reduced chance of human error
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