Pittsburgh Technical Council

Oakmont Using Drones for a New Approach to the Green

Oakmont Using Drones for a New Approach to the Green

Article Published: June 17, 2016

On a cold October morning, a drone begins its mission. Flying over all 7,255 yards of greens, the drone is watching, learning, tracking. The U.S. Open will be held here at Oakmont, hosting the world’s best golfers on a legendarily challenging course.

Screen Shot 2016 06 16 At 25543 PMPossibly the hardest golf course in America, Oakmont prides itself on bringing the best to their knees, with golfers looking to merely survive, rather than thrive, on this 18 hole gauntlet. “There’s a reason [The U.S. Open] is coming back to Oakmont. This really is the golf standard for championship golf. It doesn’t get any better than Oakmont.” Said USGA Director of Rules, Mike Davis.

In order to craft this excruciating course, directors need to understand what the layout of the course looks like from all angles. The massive size of these links makes it difficult for course managers to see all parts of their course, so they’re taking a cutting edge approach to mapping: smart aerial drones.

Flying 400 feet above the greens, Identified Technologies is using their self-piloting commercial UAV, mapping every square inch of the prestigious golf course. “It’s an honor to be able to use our technology to help with something that I’ve grown up loving” said Dick Zhang, a New Jersey State Ranked Golfer, and the Founder and CEO of Identified Technologies.

“We have primarily used our drone mapping technology for constructionScreen Shot 2016 06 16 At 25510 PM and mining, as well as oil and gas projects.  We normally work with regional leaders like EQT and P.J. Dick, but when the USGA contacted us, I knew that I couldn’t pass this opportunity up.  My golf coaches instilled the discipline and focus in me, that we now direct towards building this company.  If it wasn’t for golf, this company would not exist.  The United States Golf Association is using these maps from an operations standpoint, looking for the best logistical blueprint on how to set up stands, booths, walking areas, and more. What used to take a month and cost tens of thousands of dollars can now be done in minutes at a fraction of the cost.” said Zhang, “Getting continuous 3D project tracking dramatically improves our clients’ speed, safety, quality, and profit margins.”

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