You are correct and that is the beauty of photogrammetry. It’s a natural byproduct of just flying and taking pictures. If DroneDeploy could get there stockpile AI algorithm right we wouldn’t even have to digitize them.
I think this really depends on the size of the stockpiles and their proximity to each other which also determines the amount of time it takes. Reset an hourly rate of $150 so the price is usually around $300 +/- $100. Once we have flown a site you have a good idea of how much it cost so you could negotiate a static rate or a contract for several months. Most of the quarries that we have flown do quarterly reports so we’ll do flights monthly.
We typically fly construction sites where we try to arrange all the stockpiles in a specific area but I have also done quarry work and had to drive for a couple of minutes across the site to get to the next stockpile. We’re also talking about the difference between up to 10, 000cy and 200,000cy. In the case of the larger stockpiles we felt it prudent to use some kind of ground control points or our RTK drone.
The nice thing about the RTK is that you will get a really accurate quantity the first time but also you can create ground control points off of that first flight to keep the rest of the flights aligned to each other so you can copy over your annotations.
If their stockpiles are in designated areas then they might look into the Stockpile Reports service. It didn’t work for us because our stockpiles move around a bit.