Drones, Aerial Imagery and the Alabama Gulf Coast

Posted by Rachel Kelly on Monday, April 16th, 2018 at 1:09am.

I was out gathering video of a new listing the other day - a small lot on West Beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  I was approached by someone who had left work to come speak with me.  I first noticed him from about 70 yards away.  He was walking in my direction and by 30 yards, he was definitely coming to talk with me.  After reaching me, the first thing said was - "the latest invasion of our privacy, right there!".  This hasn't been uncommon since I bought a drone and I've been approached with animosity before.

While I'm often inclined to say as little as possible, especially when the initial contact offers a tone of contempt and aggravation, this time I decided to try and share some insight.  I simply replied to the man, "Let me show you something".  I turned and tilted to share my view of the iPad serving as my flight display.  This is also my recorded video feed and what goes in to a final product.  At this point the drone was approximately 30 feet in the air and right in front of us.  From this vantage, we looked like ants on the iPad's screen.  Again, from 30 feet in the air, we were very tiny and I know the iPad's screen isn't the biggest display available, but it took him by total surprise.  I told him that unless it was a police or military drone, the chances of it having the ability to zoom, are very low - like probably not going to happen.

The next day, I saw that DJI, the very manufacturer of my Phantom drone and widely considered as one of the best platforms available, was finally coming out with a zoom camera.  The Zenmuse is the camera DJI uses with their top class of drones - the Inspire collection.  The Inspire is also one of the largest drones on the market.  After reading some of the details and surfing the web for a while, I found the camera alone was approximately $900.  After paying $3,000 for the drone, $900 for the iPad and another $200 for two additional batteries, the cost came to $5,000.

This seems like a lot of money to do something illegal and potentially have it confiscated;  not to mention it's first generation hardware.  While the ability to zoom and spy on people with drones is most likely coming, it's currently pretty expensive and even with a zoom lens, the drone would need to be very close to make out a face, read a license plate or record exacting details of anything.  One thing drones are capable of doing however, is a great job gathering pristine imagery for use in real estate marketing.  For some examples of still images, check out our condos for sale in Gulf Shores page with aerial images of downtown Gulf Shores, AL atop the page;  these images were taken from approximately 300 feet.  For some video examples, watch several aerial tours of Orange Beach, AL.  (FYI, we've included aerial imagery of many area attractions and many of our condo sales pages also offer aerial videos)

The videos and images have been "saved for web".  This helps keep the file sizes low so the pages load as quick as possible, but slightly reduces the quality in order to achieve this.  What's noticeable is the great quality of both the images and the videos.  While this doesn't reduce the quality so much that it degrades the integrity of the imagery, it's still much better when the actual imagery is viewed.  In closing, even with the latest zoom lens, people are safer than many suspect from having their personal lives filmed for the wrong reasons.










Navigation is crucial when traversing an ever-expanding path.  The fastest car in the world will just get you lost quicker if you're lacking direction.  The insatiable growth of internet-based services can have us stumbling around, or perhaps more importantly moving from A to B less efficiently than we want.  Speed and efficiency are as important as ever.  The internet is like our universe and seems to be infinite.  When you learn something or pick up some new tip, it's antiquated by implementation and the volume of reading material is sideways eight.  It's overwhelming.  Searching for valuable / usable information online is like mining for gold.  We sift through endless pay dirt for the valuable gold....or truth. 


This brings me to the end of the opening paragraph and to the point where I solidify the topic.  This is written because I noticed the number of views for an article written on Social media and internet marketing was way too far off to be coincidental.  I found myself wondering, curious to the nature of the audience.  In one scenario, the crowd were Realtors and wanted to read about someone elses experiences regarding social media and marketing.

I began thinking.  Maybe there are people doing something similar to me and maybe they would be interested in discussing some ideas and growing.  The trend lately seems to be mergers.  Microsoft made it official today and bought LinkedIn for 26 billion, with a B......as in boy, or blow, like mind blowing.  I began thinking about this for some reason.  Normally, I don't keep up with these things and I just keep my head down and do my thing.  For some reason, I kept thinking.....why would Microsoft want LinkedIn?  And they must have really wanted them too.  Why would a company that's already in the home of the majority of the country want a social media in?  The thing I kept thinking about was the social part.  It's hard to comprehend the numbers we're talking about.  I think I recently read that LinkedIn was approaching half of a billion members.  If the company was purchased for 26 billion, Microsoft paid $52 per member.  How are they going to make that back?  How are they planing to monetize?  This is the internet to me.  When you get an answer, two questions pop up.  I guess the only ones that know are Bill and friends;  for now anyway.

My point, if there is one, is the numbers that social media brings to the table is the real treasure.  Microsoft is going to do the same thing Facebook is doing and grow and grow and grow.  In business, if you're not growing, your dying.  If the "audience" from earlier is in a place to share ideas about this and similar topics, please respond.

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