How much do Virtual Tours cost ?

How Much Do 3D Virtual Tours Cost?

This will always be one of the first questions that anyone who’s interested in a virtual tour will ask when researching their options.

Price matters, it’s not the only consideration, but it is important. Price often dictates whether a virtual tour is right for your property, venue or business. Price also impacts the type of virtual tour, and in turn, what sort of functionality you will get. You need to develop an initial budget & understand if there are any long-term costs, and that’s true for any virtual tour of any size.

It’s a tough question to answer initially, this is because virtual tours can have so many options, that it’s often hard to price until you’ve identified what is required, had a conversation with professional to assess your space, and figure out if it might need any customer integrations etc.

At Turkey Red Media, we strive to help and educate every prospective client, even if that leads you to a different solution. We’ll do our best to offer some realistic price ranges, based on real world project costs in 2021.

Please keep in mind that all prices, whether for residential or commercial projects, are only estimates based on our real-world experiences. Prices can and often do vary drastically based on the solutions you choose, your location, your chosen provider, and many other factors.

How Much Does a House Virtual Tour Cost?

Most 3D virtual tours of a property will cost £200 to £500 (+VAT) to create — this price includes a 3D scanning professional to capture the property and the post-production required to bring your virtual tour together.

There are also annual hosting costs for tours, for property videos you will find most suppliers will role this into the cost, assuming the property will be sold rather quickly, but certainly within 6 months.

As with any property project, this price range can change dramatically based on the size, scale and intricacy of the property. For example: a virtual tour of a small flat will take considerably less time & effort to produce than a virtual tour of a large 6 bedroomed house. Most good virtual tour providers will be able to give a pretty good indication of the costs to create a virtual tour from an approximate Square Feet of the property.

Size is not the only factor to consider however, the intricacy of the property can play an important role in how costly a virtual tour can be. Spaces with lots of floor levels, or quirky layouts can take more time to scan. If you think your space may have some unique or unusual features it’s important to speak to your virtual tour provider and let them know before to ensure everyone is on the same page and prevent any surprise increases in costs.

Many virtual tour providers will also offer discounts to property owners, estate agents or property developers who are looking to have more than one virtual tour created. So if you are thinking of rolling out virtual tours across your whole property portfolio it could be beneficial to have that conversation with a virtual tour provider when enquiring about costs.

How Much Does A Commercial Virtual Tour Cost?

Now this is where things start to get a little bit more complicated.

All the same factors that determine the cost of a residential virtual tour still apply, however, commercial projects vary wildly from one space to the next, a local bar or restaurant will probably have a very different size and shaped space compared to a city centre multistorey office block.

Each client could have very different objectives they wish to achieve with their virtual tour: it could be a public building closed due to COVID, or a retail premises wishing to drive more online sales, or a tourist or accommodation providing wanting to promote their services.

All of these things and more will determine the final cost of the project, typically commercial virtual tours start from as low as £350 and go as high as £3,000 or over, based on the physical space, the scope of the project, the objectives & the number of virtual tours required.

An annual hosting fee will also be payable for each of the tours, typically this is around £95 per annum.

With the above in mind, here are a few tips to help streamline the process of getting a final cost for your commercial virtual tour;

What is the size of the space?

Floor plans can be extremely helpful but knowing at least a rough Square Feet of the space usually helps narrow down and firm up the costs for you. Most tour providers will have a sliding scale depending on the size of the space, this is especially true with regard to Matterport services.

What are your objectives? 

Are you looking to get more enquiries? Increase the time spent on your website? Be more visible to Google? Knowing what you would like to achieve with your virtual tour can play an important role in determining the best solution for you – if you’re unsure, don’t worry, a good virtual tour provider will be able to help and advise you.

Who is your target market? 

Having a clear picture of who you are hoping will explore your virtual tour can be very useful, for example, a tourist service provider may want to appeal to certain countries and languages. Understanding your target market will help your virtual tour provider find the best possible solution for your needs.

There are many other factors that can impact the cost of a virtual tour such as 3D vs 360, interactive data-tags and VR functionality to name a few but a good virtual tour provider will be able to talk you through these options.


We hope this FAQ fille helps you understand the potential costs of creating a virtual tour, including the overall residential and commercial virtual tour pricing ranges, and what to expect when you start exploring virtual tour options and potential service providers.

Please note: All prices quoted are simply an estimate, your final price may look much different. We’re happy to help you get an actual price for your virtual tour. You can get a quote today, just drop us a line.

About the Authors: Turkey Red Media is a Multi-Disciplined Media Company, offering Corporate Video Production, Drone Imaging, 360 Video, and 360 Virtual Tours. Turkey Red uses Matterport Cameras, Professional 360 Stills Camera and 360 Video Cameras to create professional and interactive virtual tours hosted on a variety of platforms and for VR Headsets.

Funeral & Remembrance Service Filming

Filming a Funeral or Cremation service may seem a little strange, but for many people during these times, it is becoming a great source of comfort. Recording the funeral allows those unable to attend to pay their respects and view the service.

During this crisis, restrictions around how many and who can attend a funeral can add to the grief and stress of loosing a loved one. A video recording can be shared with family and friends if not able to attend in person.

Turkey Red Media have filmed a number of funerals, cremations and memorial services during the current crisis. We understand the importance of the day and we treat it with the utmost respect.

Whilst we have the capability to stream the service, we would not recommend this for a variety of reasons at this time. Streaming is not always reliable, and we feel that a more tastefully edited video is more appropriate.

Filming is discreet and cameras are all broadcast quality along with high quality audio.

“I had never really thought of funeral services being recorded but this crisis has caused us all to rethink what might be possible or appropriate. I have worked with Turkey Red Media many times at Lomond Church and can guarantee their professionalism. Of late I have also conducted a few funeral services where they have been filming and I have been impressed by their sensitive approach. This is a difficult time for anyone facing bereavement. Many would wish to attend but are unable to do so because of current restrictions.The service offered would ensure that all would be able to share in the event. Many have talked about a later celebration of a loved ones life. It would also be poignant to be able to include the recording at such a celebration. ”

Rev. Ian H. Miller


We will supply a Camera Operator and two full broadcast quality cameras that are in a fixed position, normally at the rear of the location. These will be unobtrusive and we will respect the current social distancing guidelines.

The video is then edited by one our team on the day, incorporating any digital photos or special wording if required.

We upload the video of the whole service on the same day, to a video sharing platform. We will send a private link by email that you can then share with your family. The video will be hosted by us for 24 months, which is included in the costs. The video can be download to keep in a variety of formats, and played on all tablets, phones, and desktops, including most smart TV’s.

The Total for this is £250.00 (inclusive of VAT)

Common Questions:


We typically cover West Dunbartonshire, but can travel to other locations if required, just ask.

1) Inform the Funeral Director and ask them to contact us if they wish to.

2) Obtaining consent from the venue hosting the funeral and the clergyman or celebrant leading the service is crucial . Please provide us with relevant contact details and we can take care of this for you. To date we have approval to film at Cardross and Clydebank Crematoriums.

3) We would advise informing those attending in advance that filming will be taking place. We will typically not film those attending, but please advise if someone does not want filmed.

4) Send us any wording you wish to use on the video and your relative’s key information, name or other information you want detailed on the video. Relevant photos and pre recorded readings and music may also be useful but not necessary.

3) We would advise informing those attending in advance that filming will be taking place. We will typically not film those attending, but please advise if someone does not want filmed.

4) Send us any wording you wish to use on the video and your relative’s key information, name or other information you want detailed on the video. Relevant photos and pre recorded readings and music may also be useful but not necessary.


We have already filmed a number of funerals and services during the crisis, and our team is fully aware of the current restrictions. We will keep a minimum of 2m distance from all attendees at all times. This may place some restrictions around the locations of cameras and equipment. We will not wear masks unless absolutely necessary or if government guidelines change. We will wear gloves and will be equipped with hand sanitiser. All of our equipment will be sanitised before and after use.


We will typically arrive early and setup the cameras outside the venue / location. We will liase with the venue / clergyman / celebrant and access the venue and setup the equipment ahead of the service. We also need to remove the equipment quickly afterwards but will do this discretely once all mourners have left the venue.


We will send you an invoice once we have delivered the video. We accept PayPal, (credit cards through PayPal without a PayPal account), but prefer a BACS payment if possible. During this time we are unable to take cash as payment.


Most people rarely use DVD players anymore or have access to them, if required we can supply the film on a memory stick for a minimum fee.
Should you have any other questions then please contact us.

Tel: 01389 887 508

The Types of Video Content Every Marketer Should Know

It’s not too hard to see why video is so popular these days, for one thing, it’s an easy-to-digest format that gives our eyes a rest from the overabundance of textual information online. This would be why the world reportedly watches “1 billion hours” of YouTube social video per day.

In general, there are three main types of marketing and promotional videos;

Awareness: Create visibility, get on your customers’ radar. These videos typically have high-entertainment value and broad appeal, so they attract as many people as possible.

Engagement: Create a reaction, whether that’s a like, comment, or share. Videos in this category usually play to the viewer’s emotions.

Education: Teach your audience something. If you’re targeting potential customers, that might mean a customer case study. If you’re targeting current customers, it could be a how-to video, or a product or service update.

Let’s look at the specific categories within each area;


Company culture / Meet the team video

If you want to give customers a sense of your organisation’s values, culture, strategy, team members, experience and skills, a video showcasing your culture or introducing a new team member is always good. These videos help people understand why your company is different and strengthens their brand loyalty.

Blackhall Powis

Behind the scenes, (BTS)

People love being in on the behind the scenes action. If you have exclusive insight into a process, project, or situation your customers would be interested in, consider making a behind-the-scenes (BTS) video. These are usually less polished than traditional videos and incorporate lots of raw adhoc footage. These work for both Business to Consumer, (B2C), and Business to Business, (B2B), brands.

Helensburgh Toyota


Interview videos usually spotlight one or two people answering (you guessed it) questions. The interviewee should either be someone your audience already knows (an influencer, a well-known speaker, an author, etc.) or someone they don’t know but would enjoy hearing from. This type of video is fantastic for sharing your company’s values and aligning yourself with an interesting or inspiring person.



Humorous video

Getting your viewers to smile or laugh makes them feel good and your brand seem relatable. These videos are also more likely to be shared across social media platforms.

SEC Glasgow Panto


A vlog, or “video blog,” is diary-style and typically filmed by one person in front of their camera or webcam. A typical vlog describes someone’s personal experience or thoughts on a specific topic.

While influencers tend to use vlogging more than brands, however you can still take advantage of this popular genre. To give you an idea, you could ask one of your employees to do a one-day takeover of your YouTube account, showing your audience around the office, taking them along to an industry event, interviewing other team members, and so on. There is a trend towards less polished corporate style videos for social media channels.

Helen Cameron


How-to / Explainer

A how-to video/explainer walks your viewers through a process or answers a common question. They’re great for building brand credibility and getting your audience to trust you.

In this video, a Squarespace employee lays out the differences between a domain and web hosting. Squarespace happens to provide both — so anyone who watches this video is probably a good customer.

To make your first how-to/explainer video, come up with a list of questions your buyers and customer usually have. Pick one that’s relatively straightforward and shoot a short video explaining it.

Clyde Training

Product review

Few consumers buy products these days without consulting, “Google”. That’s why a product review video can be so successful: Your audience feels like they’re getting an honest take from someone they like and trust in a highly convenient format.

However, it’s hard to review your own product without seeming biased or false. With that in mind, try giving influencers a sample, trial, or freebie and asking them to share their thoughts in a video.

Mazda Cars


There are a couple different variations on the “Question and Answer,” or Q&A, video. You can record someone interviewing another — think someone from your team interviewing an expert. Or you can take questions from your audience and answer them on-camera.

The first is probably best for B2B companies, while the second is ideal for consumer brands.

IWCLL Conference EICC Edinburgh

Announcement / Launch video

Have some big news to share with your audience? Whether you’re launching a new product, having an event, opening another store, or starting an initiative, an announcement video helps you get you the message across and build excitement. Announcement videos doesn’t have to be humorous, but they should be attention-grabbing.

Loch Lomond and the National Park Elections

Case study / Testimonial

When it comes to conversion, you can’t beat case studies and testimonials. It’s all thanks to social proof, or the psychological phenomenon that causes people to want something when they see others using it.

CIRED Conference SEC Glasgow

Product / Service tour

Most first-time visitors to your website want to know how your product will improve their lives, or help them with a particular issue or requirement. They don’t want to read a bunch of text or scroll through a ton of images, that’s too much work until they know what you are offering is relevant to their need.

A basic overview of your products or services gives them the answer. They can see for themselves what your product or service looks like and does. If it’s compelling you will find more interest in your product, service or message.

Powerboats Glasgow

Feature explainer

It can be helpful to focus in on one aspect or feature of your product. A feature explainer is a great way to do just that: Rather than covering the main features as you would in a product tour, explain how one thing works, its most common use cases, and why it’s so valuable.

Putting video clips like this shown on your website, and you can send them to prospects who are interested in specific features, services or products.

Toyota Hybrid

Presentations / Live Talks

If a team member is giving a presentation, filming this is an easy way of generating relevant content, and normally requires little editing.

IWCLL Conference Edinburgh


Videos can play a valuable role during every stage of your marketing funnel, from attracting new leads to turning them into potential clients.

About the Author

Turkey Red Media is a multi-disciplined media company based in Scotland’s central belt. We provide a variety of services including video for TV & Cinema, Corporate, Online Streaming & Web. We are UK CAA licenced drone operators as well as Google approved photographers. We provide a variety of content to support online digital marketing, offering a full digital marketing service from campaign design, online marketing & promotion to analysis and reporting on the success of social media campaigns All of the video thumbnails shown in this article were filmed and edited by Turkey Red Media.

Why Video is Important in Social Media Marketing?

As a multi-disciplined digital media company Turkey Red Media are always asked “what is the best way to market your product or services”, our answer is always through video. Although you can’t ignore other digital media objects, video both traditional and 360 video delivers the best return on investment and offers the greatest reach.

Video content marketing is one of the most powerful ways to market a product or service. Videos have been proven to capture consumer’s attention longer than both text or image. In fact, 88% of online marketers use video content. It is a fact that if you’re not using videos for your social media marketing campaign, your competitors will be.

In the past large budgets were used to create a smaller number of promotional videos each year by companies. Today you need a lot more shorter videos, that are optimised for the various social media platforms. A large digital infrastructure

Why Use Videos in Marketing?

Videos are an easy and effective way to tell a story. Other than live demos, videos are the most effective way to showcase your brand or tell your story.

The statistics speak for themselves;

  • Social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined 57% of people watch online videos every day.
  • 98% of users say they have watched an online “explainer” video to learn more about a product or service.
  • 5 times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.
  • Video encourages social shares. In fact, 78% of users say they would share a branded video with their friends if it was entertaining.

How Popular Are Videos on YouTube?

Online video has literally exploded during the last 5 years, with YouTube reporting that mobile video increases by 100% every year. Every minute, 400 hours of video are uploaded to the site. Within another year, video will account for 75% of all Internet traffic, according to recent studies. Here are some more hard facts about videos on YouTube:

  • More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.
  • Almost 6 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day.
  • YouTube gets over 40 million visitors per day.
  • The average viewing session lasts more than 45 minutes. This is up more than 50% year over year.
  • 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms compared to live television

Why Should My Organisation Use Social Media?

It is hard to ignore social media these days, both as a consumer, but also as a company. The four major consumer social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat) are free and easy to use. Social media is great for developing a loyal community of followers. Simply being able to respond to consumers within seconds shows that your company is serious about its customer service efforts.

From an analytical perspective, social media increases digital exposure, boosts traffic and SEO rating, expands sales, reaches new audiences, and can ultimately cut marketing costs.

Is It True That Managers Prefer Text Over Videos?

59% of managers agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video. In fact, 75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week.

What Social Media Platforms are the most Popular?

  • Twitter: 82% of Twitter’s audience watches video content
  • YouTube: More than 6 billion video views are watched each day
  • Facebook: Around 600 million people watch Facebook videos every day
  • Instagram: 80% of users follow a business on Instagram
  • Snapchat: Generates 10 billion video views every single day

How Long Can Videos Be on Social Media?

Platform Maximum Length of video
Twitter 140 seconds long
YouTube 12 hours (must be under 128GB)
Facebook 45 minutes
Instagram 60 seconds long
Snapchat 60 seconds (6 consecutive 10 seconds snaps at once)

This really depends on what social media platform you are using. For example, Instagram is going to have stricter length restricts compared to YouTube based on the design of the platform. There’s a reason that Instagram and other social media platforms only allow 60 second videos. According to case studies two-thirds of consumers prefer videos under 60 seconds.

What Social Media Platform should you use?


Twitter feeds have the fastest scroll rate, which is why brands need to focus on creating eye-catching content. Brands can use Twitter to upload teaser, announcement, advertisement, promotional, education, and user-based content.

Since viewers prefer Twitter to gather information, brands should focus on branding while sharing a video content on Twitter rather than promotion.

Around 90% of videos are watched on mobile phones, this means it is important to optimize your videos to be view able all viewing devices.


  • Perfect for brands that want to get more engagement with their customers
  • More suited to business to business


  • Google own YouTube, as such videos on YouTube will have a higher organic search rank compared to any other type of type of video.
  • There are options to include links on the video directly and /or including links in the bio.
  • There are options to include in-video surveys, where you can collect data
  • YouTube now supports live video streaming and events

Last time you watch a video on Facebook, did you have the sound on? In fact, 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound. This is important to know when making videos specifically for Facebook.


  • Great for building awareness through videos
  • The more people share your post, the more it will show up on user’s timeline
  • Videos are an exceptional forum for engaging directly with the audience
  • There is always a chance that your video will go viral
  • Facebook now supports live video streaming and events


  • Just because your video goes viral, that doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing. If you post a controversial video and everyone dislikes it, your brand image could suffer. It takes years to win a customer, but it only seconds to lose one.


  • Overall younger demographic, perfect for attracting millennials
  • Owned by Facebook, so the paid ad structure is pretty much the same
  • Posts on Facebook can be linked and boosted at the same time to Instagram
  • This is a great way to show that your brand is run by humans and not robots


  • Overall younger demographic, perfect for attracting millennials
  • Snapchat gives brands a great opportunity to show the behind the senses of a company


  • There currently no hashtags to help new people find your brand
  • Hard to track success of your Snapchat campaign


  • Primarily a business networking tool
  • Since they are in a professional environment, people are on their best behaviour and are much less likely to start a confrontation or be negative towards a post.
  • LinkedIn wall updates display much longer than any other major social platforms, meaning you will see likes, shares and comments on posts for weeks after you post. This allows businesses to keep a thread going if there is engagement.


  • You won’t be able to reach younger audiences that haven’t started a career or are not looking to professionally network
  • LinkedIn advertising is still expensive and not as dialled in compared to other platforms that have been tweaking their process for several years


Next time you need consider running a social media marketing campaign, make sure to use video as much as you possible can, just remember to make sure the video is:

  • Relevant
  • Honest
  • Interesting, entertaining, and / or has emotional appeal
  • Works on both mobile, tablet and desktop
  • Complements with your company’s marketing plan
  • Around 60 seconds in length max

About Us

Turkey Red Media is a multi-disciplined media company based in Scotland’s central belt. We provide a variety of services including video for TV & Cinema, Corporate, Online Streaming & Web. We are UK CAA licenced drone operators as well as Google approved photographers. We provide a variety of content to support online digital marketing, offering a full digital marketing service from campaign design, online marketing & promotion to analysis and reporting on the success of social media campaigns.

Issues for Commercial Drone Pilots since the expansion of drone ‘no-fly’ zones introduced on the 13th of March 2019

New rules for drones around airports were introduced by the CAA in March 2019, this was the second such change to the air navigation order in this respect within 12 months. Unfortunately, the legislation changes have made no distinction between commercial drone operators with permission and insurance, and hobby drone pilots.

Previously commercial drone pilots in possession of a Permission for Aerial Work, (PfCo) from the UK CAA were allowed to fly drones with a mass of under 7kg in and around airports without requesting permission. That said most operators did inform the airport air traffic control, (ATC) as this was deemed to be best practice and contributed to air safety.

Most members of the public are not aware that the majority of commercial and hobby drones have internal GPS database, (Geofence), which restricts the flights of drones in and around airports. Typically these restrictions were centred on the Air Traffic Zone, (ATZ), at airports.

The introduction of these new restrictions have introduced some new terms that are only relevant to drones, such as Flight Restriction Zone, (FRZ). The Flight Restriction Zone consists of the following three elements:

– The Aerodrome Traffic Zone: A 2 or 2.5 nautical mile radius ‘cylinder’ around the aerodrome, extending 2000 ft above ground level, centred on the longest runway.

– Runway Protection Zones: A rectangle extending 5Km from the threshold of the runway away from the aerodrome, along the extended runway centreline, and 500m either side-  also to a height of 2000 ft above ground level.

– Additional Zones: In the case where the 1Km boundary of an aerodrome extends beyond the Aerodrome traffic zone, and so would not be protected by it, the flight restriction zone will include a ‘bump’ (the airfield boundary + 1KM) to protect this part of the aerodrome.

Although most commercial drone operators would inform the local ATC when flying a drone near an airport previously, they did not require their express permission to fly. With the introduction of FRZ’s and the changes to the Air Navigation Order, (ANO), commercial drone operators now require the explicit permission of ATC before a flight can be made. The new FRZ’s extend far beyond the old ATZ’s covering much larger areas, both around the airports but also in-line with the approach and take-off.

An example of the huge areas these FRZ’s cover, can be seen in and around Glasgow as below;

As a result of these changes commercial drone pilots are now experiencing problems gaining the necessary permissions for flights that they previously undertook legally and safely.

The requirements to gain the appropriate permissions varies by airport and operator. Where NAT’s supply the ATC functions they are using the Non Standard Flight, (NSF), permissions process initially, (a processes that can take up to 28 days), then on the day of the flight the permission of ATC is required.

At other airports not managed by NATs, local ATC are either outsourcing this process or giving a blanket NO to drone flight requests, unfortunately an alarming amount are saying NO. Some suggestions have been made that this is down to resources issues, but likely politics are involved as ATC get no additional monies to manage these requests. The changes have allowed ATC to now say NO, even when the flights could be made safely.

There has been much confusion regarding the process that commercial drone pilots must undertake to gain permission at some airports, this coupled with many just responding with a resounding NO, has resulted in concern from many drone pilots about their ability to undertake existing and future business in and around airports.

These new rules were introduced in part as a knee jerk reaction to the incident at Gatwick. The only result so far is that they have restricted the safe and legal operation of commercial drones. Criminals don’t care and won’t take notice of additional drone legislation, those wanting to use drones for nefarious purposes will continue to do so no matter what new laws are introduced.

Previously the UK had been a world leader in developing drone legislation and frameworks for the safe use of drone within its airspace, with the US lagging far behind. In recent months this role has been reversed, we hope the recent introduction of FRZ’s is not a sign of things to come for the fledgling UK drone industry.

Whilst post Gatwick there will be little sympathy for Drone Operators with regard to these issues, many commercial drone pilots are concerned about the backlash from the public as a result. Over the past few months there have been numerous reports of pilots being assaulted both physically and verbally. The industry would like to see the media and regulators differentiate more between legal and safe drone operations and those operating illegally. Drones bring several benefits both from a safety perspective, but also commercially.

 About the author: Craig Jump is leading drone consultant, with over 7 years drone / UAV flying experience. He holds UK CAA permissions for fixed and rotary wing drones and is a UK CAA NQE Instructor and flight assessor. He is Security Cleared, Disclosure Scotland Checked and provides anti drone and drone security consultancy services.

Is 2019 going to be a difficult year for UK Drone Operators ?

2018 has without a doubt been a dark year for the fledgling commercial drone industry in the UK. Numerous reports of drones being used for carrying drugs into prisons, and then finally there was the Gatwick incident in Dec 2018. Many in the drone industry debated about “The Event”, most commercial operators believed “the event” would be when the first person in the UK was killed by a commercial or hobby drone. I don’t think anyone envisaged about an incident, such as the one that took place at Gatwick airport.

The media continues to fuel the publics fear of drones, some reporting specifically designed to make the headlines, which I guess is what sells newspapers and linked advertising. There are few good drone news stories reported, and of which there are many more, but guess they don’t make as good a headline.

Even before Gatwick, most commercial drone operators had already seen a backlash from some members of the public. Pilots were frequently being portrayed as anti-social and at times felt like pariahs. Being a drone operating lately also meant you needed good skills in conflict resolution as a result. The public is now more inclined to report drone flights to the police, even totally legal flights made by hobbyists or commercial operators. Commercial operators are spending more and more time liaising with the Police as a result, wasting considerable time and money on both sides. Drones are very polarising, you either love or hate them, however you cannot argue that they bring numerous commercial and safety advantages over manned aviation, or traditional high-risk high-level access methods etc.

One area that frequently comes up with interaction with the public is privacy, again scaremongering by the press has raised the concern. Let’s be clear, the vast majority of drones cannot look in windows, and if they did you would certainly hear them, yet this is a topic that comes up again and again. The rules with respect to privacy is no different from photography by those using a camera phone, the later of which you are much more likely to be filmed with. You have a reasonable right to privacy in your back garden, but the the law is quite clear, a drone with camera should not be getting within 50m of your back garden, or 150m for those without UK CAA permission. Note: A drone without a camera or other data capture device does not have the same restrictions.

As commercial operators we frequently notify the Police when we are flying in urban or high-risk areas, even though legally we have no obligation to do so. This has resulted in increased scrutiny from the Police, requests for additional information, and sometimes discussions which end in the operations not being undertaken due to their concerns with the threat of prosecution. This happens even though the flights could have been made legally under the Air Navigation Order, (ANO). The frustration for legal commercial operators is they feel that the focus from the Police is all wrong, if an operator is calling them to let them know where they are operating, it is unlikely they would fly illegally. Yet we see day in and day out, recreational drone pilots posting highly illegal flights on YouTube, or those without UK CAA permissions undertaking commercial operations. All of these taking place with very few convictions or actions against those involved. There is a huge frustration amongst the commercial operators at the lack of action from the UK CAA and Police with regard to drone pilots operating commercially, without insurance or UK CAA Permission. No new laws are needed to prosecute these individuals, it is already clear what legislation they are breaching, and the Police have the powers to take action now.

The most recent nail in the coffin for many drone businesses has been the focus on commercial operators who businesses are located near Gatwick by the Police. We understand the need by the Police to investigate every lead possible, but targeting commercial operators seems like a witch hunt to some. After all commercial operators are the only drone operators currently registered with the UK CAA. While most would agree that drone registration planned for all drones over 250g in November 2019 is a great idea, you can’t help being concerned, that had this been available prior to the Gatwick incident then they would have been targeted by the security services. It has been reported on numerous occasions that those wishing to use a drone nefariously wont register their drones in the first place.

So where does this all leave the UK drone industry?  

Most would agree it’s at a precarious state, calls for further knee jerk legislation in the UK could hamper and hinder the fledgling industry before its even got started. Most commercial operators already feel that the current legislation is too restrictive for businesses to take advantage of drone technology, even without any additional legislation. The global revenue market for drones is expected to reach £9 billion by 2020, according to Gartner. If the UK wants a slice of this opportunity, and is not to be left behind in the development and R&D, then it needs to think hard on how is manages these risks going forward, and this all needs done in a supporting way, rather than making commercial drone use more restrictive.

As an industry we need to get to the bottom of what happened at Gatwick quickly. Was there a drone? there is much online speculation that there wasn’t one. There certainly was enough technology deployed that should have identified a drone. Some also find it strange today that few definitive images or video has surfaced of the alleged drones.

  About the author: Craig Jump is leading drone consultant, with over 7 years drone / UAV flying experience. He holds UK CAA permissions for fixed and rotary wing drones and is a UK CAA NQE Instructor and flight assessor. He is Security Cleared, Disclosure Scotland Checked and provides anti drone and drone security consultancy services.

Gatwick Drone Incident Dec 18

Our thoughts go out to the passengers disrupted by the most recent alleged drone incident at Gatwick. The activity by the irresponsible drone operators has serious safety concerns and significant ramifications for the drone industry in the UK.

Reports have indicated that at least two drones have been spotted over the airport over several hours overnight.

Reading many of the news reports and social media posts, there has been numerous calls for the banning of drones, registration, drone tracking, anti-drone systems, and even calls for the army or air force to shoot them down.

Let’s discuss some of these debates and calls…

Geofencing: Most drones sold in the UK are made by a Chinese manufacturer DJI. DJI have done a lot to prevent drones from flying at or near airports. Most DJI drones are Geofenced, what this means is that they have a GPS database of airports and other sensitive sites in their software. Geofenced drones will not take off near an airport, if they try to fly towards one, they will reduce their altitude automatically until they land. There is however a community of drone pilots who have reverse engineered this restriction.

Drone Detection: Drones can be controlled using a variety of technologies, again the majority from DJI either use 2.4ghz or 5.8Ghz frequencies for control and video links. These are well document and most drone detection systems can detect these. There are however several other ways to control a drone, either through alternative frequencies in the UHF band, or through Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G. Jamming or detecting drones using mobile phone technology is somewhat more difficult.

Jamming: Jamming of common drone control links is not difficult and is easily done, there is a risk however that you bring the drone down, which has serious safety and risk concerns. Jamming 3G and 4G links also has other concerns, many other systems use these for example. Should the drone be using GPS for navigation then jamming or spoofing the GPS system is possible, either forcing the drone to return to home or move elsewhere. Again, there are safety concerns with doing this  as third parties could be injured or killed.

Anti-Drone System: There are many reported systems out there that state they can bring drones down, kinetic systems of various types, nets, lasers etc etc, unfortunately many of these system are currently illegal for use in the UK, and again there are safety and moral concerns about the use of these systems due to the possibility of injuring or killing third parties should the drone crash.

Drone registration is planned for 2019, this will not deter those wishing to use drones for nefarious purposes and is unlikely to have assisted the security services with the incident. Should it have been place now.  

Like any technology drones can be use for good and bad reasons, calls for an outright ban on drones are also unrealistic, the technology is widely available and would not restrict those wanting to cause disruption or worse.

So, what is the answer? well there is no one magic bullet in this respect. Airports are going to have to install multi-layered drone detection systems, radar, RF and visual. This will certainly help the security services detect drones and track them to their take-off and landing location more easily. Anti-drone systems that either take over control, force land or crash, are more difficult to deploy and would have to be carefully controlled,the law would also need to be changed in the UK to allow their wider use.

About the author: Craig Jump Is leading drone consultant, with over 7 years drone / UAV flying experience. He holds UK CAA permissions for fixed and rotary wing drones and is a UK CAA NQE Instructor and flight assessor.

Drones a a Service, (DaaS)

The drone industry contrary to what is reported in the media is still very much in its infancy. Initially the market was filled by operators from the hobby sector, seeing an opportunity to make a fast buck. These entrepreneurs were typically a one-man band who offered vanilla drone aerial imaging and video. The more successful operators had some grounding and knowledge in video or photography. Over the last two years although the market has consolidated,it had not done so at the same rate as some had expected. In the UK at the time of writing there are some 4500+ registered organisations with permissions from the UK CAA for commercial operations, with an estimated 9000+ individual pilots.

The rate of new operators entering the market as standalone business as slowed dramatically. In the last 18 months there has been a trend towards enterprises bringing drone operations in house with mixed results. One of the reasons for these mixed results is that end users are more concerned with big data than hardware. Owning, maintaining, and operating drones, with the overhead of compliance, training and CPD, can be too much of an overhead to some businesses. As a result, drones as a service has seeing a huge growth. Governments and businesses of all sizes are likely adopters of DaaS. The global revenue market for drones is expected to reach £9 billion by 2020, according to Gartner.

The opportunities that can be realised when deploying drones as a service are extensive. This model offers an attractive alternative to buying and managing drone operations in house. It also eliminates the upfront capital cost associated with buying a drone, and the ongoing costs and risk. It also provides a reliable revenue stream for service suppliers. Drones as a service can follow the examples we have seen in the computer and software services industry.

Drones or as they are known, Unmanned Aerial Systems, (UAS), can expand new avenues for businesses to collect extensive amounts of data, which in turn can improve their operations, increasing revenue or reducing cost. For instance, they can be useful for precision agriculture, security, wildlife monitoring, environmental survey, and many more.

Increasing levels of autonomy are enabling drones to fly with minimal pilot input and send the most relevant data automatically to the client or management centre. The growing popularity of drones as a service models is paving the way to the “Internet of Drones” becoming reality. In the future fleets of drones could be automatically tasked with capturing data, or a passenger drone could be tasked with capturing imaging after delivering its occupants to their place of work, or whilst on route. A single drone can accomplish a lot;now imagine an entire network of drones, all sharing information, reporting back to mission control, and providing critical information to those on the ground.

Drones as a service grow in the public sector

Although in decline, consumers will continue to purchase drones for personal uses such as aerial photography, but the potentially huge growth of drones as a service means more businesses will have access to big data and insights from a variety of mobile sensors like never.

Over the next two years, the fastest growth opportunity for drones will come from business and public sector. This projected growth could help catapult the drone service market forward, allowing for consolidation of existing services providers, and from new market entrants looking for investment returns.

Drones are able to reach areas and collect more data at a faster pace than a human, which is what helps make drones as a service so valuable.They can monitor an environment in real time and be configured to share only the most important information as it is received.

Using drones during Flood events.

Using drones during Flood events.

As drones have become more popular, their benefits during a disaster or other natural event has been recognised by numerous agencies and individuals.

During an event in Scotland in 2016, we were called upon by SEPA at very short notice to try and image some flooding over a large are. Whilst we were able to deploy at short notice it highlighted some safety concerns and also the practicalities of using drones during a large flooding events.

Depending on the agency, the drone imaging requirements can vary:

  • Geospatial and public sector clients tend to require point clouds, photogrammetry and other GIS outputs,
  • Insurance; video and still imaging
  • News and reporting; video and stills. LIDAR can also offer benefits especially in regard to mapping but currently has some limitations on drones.

Drone Platforms for Flood Imaging and Mapping

Whilst this is a general survey of the pros and cons of rotary verses fixed wing, and there are some exceptions, these apply to  majority of drone service providers.

Rotary Wing

  • Pros:
    • Easier & Quicker Deployment
    • Can take off in small areas
    • Video and stills
    • Oblique and Nadir imaging
  • Cons:
    • Limited flight time
    • Total area per flight limited to @75ha
      • (Standard permissions)
    • Typically <20min flight time
  • Fixed Wing
    • Pros:
      • @1 hour flight times
      • Up to 200ha per flight, (EVLOS), 1000ha+ in a day
      • UK CAA more likely to approve extended distances due to reduced risk
    • Cons:
      • Needs large area for take-off and landing
      • Needs Extended Visual Line of sight approvals from CAA for best use and return on investment
      • Nadir images only, no video on most platforms

Operating Drones Safely for Flood Survey

During a large flooding event, where there is large scale risk to life, limb or property, and emergency controlling authority (ECA) will be established. Typically this will the local Police force, but they may differ to the Fire Brigade who will be better equipped to co-ordinate and respond.

It is our experience that there many other “air users” during a flood, Search and Rescue, (SAR), Police, Coast Guard, Armed Forces, News Helicopters as well as hobby drone pilots and other commercial drone pilots. It is therefore important when operating drones in these areas that the flights are coordindated with the Emergency Controlling Authority, (ECA) if one is in control.

Using Video as Survey Data

  • Weather a consideration, most drones don’t like rain and wind needs to >20mph
  • Other airspace users may create additional risks
    • Police, Military, Hobby etc, need to coordinate with other agencies
  • Gaining landowner permissions at short notice difficult *
    • Drone provider could be classed as CAT 2 responder *
  • Large flood areas may be better to use manned aircraft *
  • Varied Datasets required for Environment Agencies, Local Authorities, Insurance Companies etc, sharing of data ?
  • Drone mapping using RGB cameras may be limited to flood extent
  • Video imaging needs tied to platform that can visualise location, direction of view / time & date


Turkey Red Media is part of a UK wide contract which mobilises during large flood events, on behalf of a number of agencies, including Public Sector, Insurance and Geospatial