Drones Used for Public Safety, Photography

Drones have quickly become an invaluable resource for everything from tourism promotion to search and rescue missions, and local company TriMedia (a sister company of Explore Marshfield & Focus on Marshfield) is harnessing the potential of this powerful equipment to better serve the community of Marshfield and surrounding areas.

Drone assisting an arborist

With three staffed FAA-licensed airmen and fully insured, TriMedia is one of the largest companies in the area to offer drone services. Additionally, TriMedia holds one of the FAA’s rare night waivers, allowing their pilots to fly after the sun sets.

“We are a pioneer in this industry,” said Branden Bodendorfer, owner. “For Marshfield to have this asset is really impressive.”

Aside from capturing unique aerial shots of the community, TriMedia’s drones regularly provide important public safety services.

Assisting with Chetek Tornado relief efforts

Bodendorfer and his team, including pilots Brett Butler and Steven Okonek, recently assisted state and national agencies with assessing damage after the recent tornados in Chetek, Wisconsin. Read Branden’s blog about that experience here.

“TriMedia was a major player in working with NOAA and providing emergency response to capitol police,” said Bodendorfer. “The resources that we were able to provide outpaced the local resources that existed.”

In recent years, drones have begun making an appearance in almost every industry, including agriculture, mining, transportation, motion picture, and even utilities.

Currently, there are fewer than 500 licensed drone pilots in the State of Wisconsin, meaning they have undergone extensive training through the FAA.

Downtown Marshfield from the sky. Photo credit: Branden Bodendorfer

“In 2016, the FAA made a huge step by establishing part 107. Part 107 is the license for non-hobbyist sUAS operations of drones less than 55 pounds,” explained Bodendorfer.

Though privacy concerns are often a topic surrounding these aircraft, when used legally and in the hands of a responsible licensed pilot, drones are a positive tool.

“The public has seen these RC aircraft as a means of surveillance and even as weapons,” said Bodendorfer. “We are now seeing them in our own backyards and the fact is people are wary about the unknown. The fact is, however, that drones or sUAS (small Unmanned Aircraft Systems) provide aviation with a new frontier.”

Filming police processional

Defined as a remote-controlled pilotless aircraft or missile, drones have been around nearly as long as radio communication, with RC planes having been outfitted with cameras as early as the 1980’s. However, it is only during military operations in in the last decade that the name “drone” was introduced.

“The fact that they are flying over your property is the pilot’s right, as someone’s privacy is their right. If you feel that a drone is operating with wrongful intent, you should report the activity to local law enforcement or through FAA.gov,” said Bodendorfer.

He encourages anyone with questions to please reach out to him and his crew.

“We feel our drones are community drones, and we welcome you to approach us with any questions or concerns,” he said. “However, we ask that you stand at a safe distance and observe our operation. Once we have landed, feel free to connect with us.”

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Tri-Media’s services

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