Drone Camera Used for River Erosion Concerns



To demonstrate his concerns about a river erosion project adjoining his land, a Neosho County property owner turned to an eye in the sky.

Jim Wagner owns property south of St. Paul next to the Neosho River.

Last week, he alerted county commissioners about 31 structures, bendway rock weirs, that were built in the river bends in 2006 to control erosion. He said he talked to past commissioners four years ago about the issue, but this time used aerial video footage of the river. Wagner turned to Rob Freeman from Fort Scott, who has broadcast news experience in radio and television, to shoot about 1 ½ hours of aerial video using unmanned drones. Freeman’s company, Freeman Drones, specializes in outdoor and wilderness photography and edited the river footage to a seven-minute presentation.

Wagner said he has used Freeman’s aerial video services

before. Wagner operates Wagner’s Country Lodge, and Freeman helped create Wagner’s website.

Wagner has leased his property for hunting since 2001, and started booking his own hunters five years ago. In June 2016, he developed a five-bedroom rental home, built in 1938, into a hunting lodge. Two years ago, Wagner received a wildlife habitat conservation award.

He said he met Freeman last winter in Pittsburg at a hunting and fishing show.

Freeman filmed aerial footage of food plots that Wagner planted to encourage wildlife, and also filmed a cattle round-up using a GoPro camera.

Wagner said Freeman sometimes travels to Alaska to video fishing there, and has taken aerial footage of traffic wreck scenes.

Freeman passed a Federal Aviation Administration drone pilot exam in January and is legally authorized to take and sell aerial photos.

He uses an Autel Robotics X Star Premium drone equipped with a stabilized three-axis gimbal and 4K video camera.

Freeman said he has edited HD video for six to seven years and has used underwater as well as HD camcorders.

He has done real estate videos, and his work in Alaska required aircraft and helicopter video at low altitudes. But he said it is hard to take pictures at that speed.

“When you add this element of the aerial part of it, it’s very revealing,” he said.

Tuesday, he was able to assist the Overland Park Fire Department with real-time video to rescue people stranded by flooding.

Wagner said that drones are even available to help hunters locate wounded deer through infrared imaging.

“There’s a lot of different kinds of drones,” he said.

Freeman’s website, freemandrones.com , has video of the Good Ol’ Days parade and storm damage in Fort Scott, flooding on the Neosho River in May, hunting, and aerial fireworks.

His video of the Neosho River Bendway Weir project is on that site and on www.wagnerscountrylodge.com , along with the spring roundup video. [Click for More]