Industry News


  • The Lorrnel Group now operates drones (UAV's) through our Evolution Geomatics Division. We published an article about drones in "The Source" magazine, winter 2015 Vol.12, Issue 4 edition.
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Lorrnel News


A Special Donation

The Lorrnel Group connected with Alberta's Promise & donated tablets to 8 youth-serving agencies across Alberta.

Please see the News page for more details.



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    What's New


    Lorrnel News

    The Lorrnel Group tech donation helps Alberta non-profits

    The Lorrnel Group would like to send a special thank you to Alberta's Promise for posting the below article to their website.

    (Link to Alberta's Promise article about The Lorrnel Group:

    Sometimes it’s the small ideas that yield big impacts...

    When Martin Baker, Land & Environment Manager with The Lorrnel Group, learned his company no longer had a use for 22 gently-used tablet PCs, he wondered how the technology could benefit others. Having heard of Alberta’s Promise and its connection to local non-profits, Baker reached out to see what might be possible. One coffee meeting and a few emails later, plans were well-underway to donate Lorrnel’s devices to deserving Alberta’s Promise agency partners.

    The Lorrnel Group, a recent Alberta’s Promise partner, is a Calgary-based liaison between the natural resources development industry and stakeholders. Only too eager to launch the community involvement initiative, the company prepped the devices and turned to Alberta’s Promise to issue a call for non-profit applications. Eight youth-serving agencies from across Alberta were selected to receive tablets: The Children’s Wish FoundationInterfaith Food Bank Society of LethbridgeLethbridge Detachment Victim Assistance SocietyLiteracy for Life FoundationRedcliff Action Society for Youth,Stardale Women’s Group Inc.Sport Medicine Council of Alberta, and Comrie’s Sports Equipment Bank.

    The agencies are grateful for the donations and will be using the tablets to further their work. From attracting donors at events, to teaching youth literacy, to helping with children’s homework assignments, the tablets are a versatile tool for the local non-profits and the clients they serve.

    For the Lethbridge Detachment Victim Assistance Society, the gift of five tablets will benefit youth clients who have been victimized by crime or sudden death. The devices will help youth experience a courtroom virtually before seeing it in person to “enhance their comfort level in a very uncomfortable time,” says Secretary Treasurer Allan Friesen. The tablets will also be used to share resources with clients while breaking down technological barriers. Adonus Arlett, Victim Service Unit Program Manager with the RCMP, thanks Lorrnel for “providing the opportunity to bridge gaps and be creative in providing services to our communities.”

    For many businesses, Lorrnel’s story may ignite new opportunities to give back. Lorrnel’s simple software upgrade resulted in a donation benefitting eight youth-serving agencies across the province. Conduct your own giving inventory using the free community involvement toolkit from Alberta’s Promise, and think outside the box when it comes to what your business may have to offer. It may be more than you think.

    Industry News

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's)

    As many of us can attest, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), or “drones” as they are more commonly referred to, have successfully infiltrated our daily lives.  UAV technology, once reserved for military operations, has recently progressed to the point whereby retail markets are offering a multitude of different airframes and sensor packages, at a wide array of price points, sizes and payloads.  This influx of new products and software packages has ever increasing applications for the average everyday user, much to the entertainment of both children and adults alike.  Regrettably though, many of these ‘hobbyist” applications are being portrayed in the media in a very negative and unproductive manner. Allegations of spying, annoyance or general impedance to official operations such as wildfire suppression efforts or sporting events to name a few.
    As those of us in the seismic industry are beginning to consider the application of these platforms in our geophysical operations, there are a few key questions to ask ourselves prior to making a capital investment or while evaluating a potential third party service provider.

    Question #1. Does a UAV platform add value to my project?
    Whether it be for scouting, access / topographic evaluation or more complex data analytics, the size, location and orientation of a given project will have the greatest impact on the effectiveness of UAVs to collect information over your project area.  Rotary wing platforms are usually employed for inspections where vertical or hovering capabilities are more important.  Fixed wing applications tend to be applied to situations where travel over greater distances and coverage of larger tracts of land is required. Both carry similar payloads and is not often a distinguishing factor.
    UAV technology is extremely good at providing users with access to remote or otherwise inaccessible areas such as muskegs, lakes or areas of soft ground conditions, as well as having the potential to improve safety by removing personnel from helicopters and other riskier situations.
    Through our experiences here at Evolution Geomatics, a typical fixed wing UAV can operate in calm to moderate wind situations (0-5m/s) for 25-35mins dependent upon the unit being used and can be tracked by the unaided eye anywhere from 750m-1.5km depending on the weather conditions.
    Programs with heavy tree cover or longer linear developments (2D programs) do pose a challenge for UAV operations, given the logistics of multiple base station setups, limited battery life and maintaining an effective Visual Line of Sight as required by regulation.  Generally speaking, at this stage UAV’s would have a far greater effectiveness with VSPs, 3D or 4D programs versus lengthy 2D operations.

    Question #2. What type of data, accuracy and resolution is required for the project?

    When determining which type of UAV and sensor package to use, or when being presented with multiple options, one must recognize that the number of options on the market today is growing at such an unbelievable rate it is often hard to keep up.  So it’s important to understand the basics and to avoid being dazzled by flashy designs and unfounded claims. Generally speaking aerial imagery (RGB), digital elevation data (x,y,z) or more complex multispectral sensors (NIR or Red Edge) will accomplish 99.9% of what a geophysical program would require.  Technologies such as Lidar, while highly effective, are often more costly (given the use of manned aerial platforms) and provide far more data and data density than would normally be required for non-legal survey / non-engineering applications.  Given the relative ease of deployment, the frequency with which you can inspect an area with UAV’s can be also increased to provide time lapse / change monitoring.  This serves as a highly effective tool that can be used to track changes in your program area and progressions such as line cutting, ground conditions, line cutting, equipment layout, presence or absence of environmental impacts (ie. flowing holes) or infrastructure placement (bridges, crossings etc); all of which can be potentially monitored in ‘real time’. Accuracy and resolution are important parameters of the collected data and should be differentiated from each other as they are often thrown about interchangeably in technical and sales discussions.  Whereas the accuracy of a dataset refers to its correct geo-positioning in the world, the resolution of an image is the clarity or level of detail achieved during collection.  Both are influenced by the quality of the airframe and sensors.  As one can expect, the greater the density of data collected (overlap), the greater the processing times and associated costs incurred.  Volumetric calculations such as stockpile inspections or contour mapping require a high level of data density to create an accurate 3D model, from which the volumetrics are calculated, while simple imagery projects can afford to get away with much lower levels of data redundancy.  It is important when reviewing a project to truly understand what your tolerances are with respect to spatial accuracy, level of detail required and how you intend on using the final information; all of which have the potential to change the economics and data turnaround times of a UAV operation.

    Questions #3. Who is qualified to operate a UAV and what proof should I ask for?
    As some of you have already experienced, many have jumped on the UAV bandwagon relatively quickly in hopes of capitalizing on this exciting opportunity, or to commercialize a previous expense (let’s face it, we all buy toys!).  However, it is equally important that while you consider which UAV you wish to use that you also begin to question who will operate these UAVs at the field level.  Recognizing the hobbyists from the compliant and professional operators may not only ensure you achieve the best results possible, but may also have you avoid any potential negative situations, and effectively manage your liability.A few key pieces of information to request from a potential operator is whether or not they believe your project area requires an SFOC; and if so, do they have one?  This will not only provide you with a degree of confidence to their competency in the regulatory requirements of a project, but also give you an idea of how quickly your project can get off the ground.  While a minimum of $100k insurance coverage is required by Transport Canada, operators must also ensure that their corporate policies include UAV operations.  As we found, many policies specifically exclude aviation operations from PL/PD and General Liability, so always make sure your operator can prove coverage! Ask your operator what training they have taken and how many hours of flying they’ve successfully completed; better yet, ask them how many times they’ve crashed their airframe and what happens when this occurs.  In all fairness, even the most experienced pilots crash UAV’s; it is inevitable.  In fact in many cases, these units are designed to belly land upon descent, resulting in them hitting ground level debris such as sticks and rocks which results in damage.  By asking a pilot such direct questions, you will not only gain an insight into their competency and experience, but also an understanding of how they intend on avoiding unnecessary field delays because of broken equipment.  Our advice; ensure the unit is either modular or has comprehensive field repair capabilities, as there is nothing worse than being shut down over a $10 part; and it happens.
    Finally, make sure that whomever you choose to conduct your operations understands what is required to process and interpret the data collected.  It’s one thing to be able to fly a UAV, as several systems these days are extremely user friendly and autonomous, but it is another to be able to effectively process, analyze, interpret and manage the data on the backend.  Always ensure that your operator has both the technical and the procedural capacity and proficiency to deliver your data to you in a useable format and within acceptable turnaround timelines.
    In closing, UAVs are here to stay.  The more we educate ourselves on the topic, understanding the opportunities and limitations of this technology, the faster we will come to capitalizing from its ever growing list of benefits; but let’s make sure we protect ourselves and our projects in the process.

    Nathan Cicoria
    President; Evolution Geomatics

    (A proud member of the Lorrnel Group of Companies)


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