Drone Projects

Horry County IT/GIS is now using drone technology in a number of areas to increase efficiency and improve data quality. The ability to capture real time ortho imagery and post process the data provides a powerful toolset for use with county operations. Besides the obvious benefits for public safety search and rescue, drone technology is being used or being planned for several projects and long term use. Stormwater billing on newly completed commercial properties, beach erosion, 3D modeling of critical facilities, county asset inspections, parks and rec marketing videos, just to name a few.

Beach Erosion/Re-Nourishment

The County has 60 miles of white sand beach along the eastern coastline. The coast and the associated tourism businesses are known as “The Grand Strand” and is the basis for all of its tourism marketing. Major storms, (hurricane or tropical) negatively impact the beach and subsequent beach erosion will affect the tourism industry. Federal funding is requested to fund beach re-nourishment which requires documentation of loss.

The goal of this project will be to fly the beach (dunes to low tide) to provide a base line for future comparison. The imagery will be used to create hill shades and extract contours using ArcGIS. Post storm event, the beach areas will be re-flown and comparison models run to calculate beach erosion. The data collected will be used for documentation purposes.

We anticipate flying the entire coastline of Horry County beginning in the November 2016 timeframe for this project.

Drone Flight Schedule
Nov 14-17 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Nov 28-30 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Dec 12-16 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Jan 9-13 10:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Jan 23-27 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM

Hurricane Matthew Beach Erosion Analysis

Stormwater Project

The County has a Stormwater department and collects stormwater fees. This is a significant source of revenue for the self-funded department. Funding not only the operations, but ongoing maintenance of the stormwater systems. This department is a federal requirement based on the population and development density within the County.

Stormwater fees are based on impervious surface areas, primarily for commercial parcels. Residential parcels are billed a flat fee, inconsequential of impervious surface areas on the parcel. Currently, impervious surface data is collected from planimetric data collected as part of countywide aerial imagery projects. These projects are generally scheduled for flights every 2 to 3 years. New commercial projects completed after one flight are not billed until the subsequent flight. Meaning that a major commercial project could go 1, 2, or even 3 years without being billed. The Stormwater department is estimating this could mean a loss of revenue annually of nearly $100,000.

We are beginning a new Drone workflow process for stormwater billing purposes. When the “final” inspection is requested for commercial projects, a work order will be created to fly the new parcel with the Solo. The orthomosaic created from the flight will then be used to heads up digitize the structure, parking areas and sidewalks. This data will then be used to calculate the stormwater fee which will be collected at the next tax cycle. The drone captured data will then be replaced by the countywide planimetric data capture.

Additionally, new road construction and residential subdivision development impact stormwater retention areas and watershed areas. The County captures Lidar data once every 4 years countywide. Horry County is 1200 square miles total land area. A significant cost is associated with this data capture. We plan to fly new road construction projects as well as new platted subdivisions to begin analyzing impact to the water sheds on an ongoing basis. It is currently planned to test using the orthomosaic and hills hades, along with any other data captured, to begin impact analysis prior to the countywide data capture. We are definitely interested in seeing the possibilities of this method possibly lengthening the space between LIDAR flights.

Gander Mountain

3D Modeling for Critical Facilities

Horry County has 41 fire stations and a majority of those have full time staffing, not volunteers. As one of the fastest growing counties in the country, critical facilities (hospitals, daycare and nursing homes) are being constructed or additions to the facilities are being built. First responders also move between stations and may not be familiar with the facilities as they grow. In conjunction with Horry County Fire, we are planning on flying all critical facilities and constructing the 3D model allowing first responders to see the facility while in route.

The County has also developed a GIS base situational awareness application called iRISS (Integrated Regional Information Sharing System). This provides first responders with incident information based on incident type. The data is provided via mobile/iPad applications to first responders while in route to the scene. Providing the 3D model in this format is the goal of this project.

Facility Inspections

Horry County’s property maintenance and management department is looking to use the drone technology to increase its efficiency in making annual facility inspections. Use both the orthomosaic and inspection features roof tops will be photographed and used for inspection purposes.

Parks and Recreation

We plan on beginning the process of flying all park facilities with aerial movie flights to use as promotional marketing tools for recreation facilities, parks and boat landings.

Drone Photos