This year’s annual New York State Veteran Owned Business Conference on Nov 28-29 in Albany (VETCON2023) was a great opportunity for Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOBs) to not only network with one another, but also connect with New York State prime contractors and agency representatives. GroundPoint Engineering was proud to be one of the over 500 participants attending. Between the sessions on a variety of topics to support veteran owned businesses and the many chances to connect socially, it was definitely a successful and lively conference.

VETCON session topics ranged from how to ensure best practices when working with New York State agencies, to how to leverage key resources for SDVOBs. Participants were able to gain insights in multiple ways to help their businesses. From GroundPoint’s point of view, one of the more interesting data points was made during the opening plenary session by the NYS SDVOB Program’s Executive Director Ken Williams. While the State has a goal of 6% SDVOB participation on State contracts, currently only approximately 4.5% of that goal has been realized. So, there is still a lot of opportunity for SDVOB businesses, and for Prime Contractors to work with veteran owned businesses in the realization of that full 6% goal.

Another insight our team found when talking with various conference participants about our services is the need for some “myth-busting” surrounding ongoing misconceptions many people still have about what it means to use drones to support engineering and surveying.

Not all drone flights are made equal. They vary widely depending on the pilot, the weather, the equipment, the flight parameters, and most importantly, the mission. It would be a mistake to think that using drones to perform technical inspection or survey work is an easy, fully automated activity that produces high quality data in real time. Unlike live video monitoring or consumer level recreational uses, engineering and surveying missions are designed to create complex data. Many of the most critical and important steps in attaining survey-grade data happen in post-processing, after the drone flight is over. Deriving high quality deliverables and extracting valuable data takes human analysis that follows in the hours and days after the field team has already packed up and left the site. It is the quality of that human analysis in post-processing that will ultimately be the determining factor in how useful the data is.

At GroundPoint, we have a saying: When the drone lands, the work begins. We are grateful to have been able to share that message with many of our fellow attendees at this year’s VETCON, and we look forward to supporting the SDVOB community, State agencies and Primes in their quest for high quality data.