Drone surveying, inspection company launches

Global Drone gives companies easy aerial access to hard-to-reach places

BUCKHANNON — Whether you need someone to look out for leaks on natural gas pipelines or keep an eye on infrastructure, a new company called Global Drone Surveying and Inspections LLC is here to help.

Joe Loudin, owner of Global Drone Surveying and Inspections, founded the company about six months ago when he realized how much more efficient drones — unmanned aircraft that can be navigated remotely ­— would be at inspecting natural gas pipelines than people. An Upshur County native, Loudin said he worked as a supervisor in the oil and natural gas industry prior to opening the business.

“I was actually working for an oil and gas company, and I came up with the idea and pursued it,” Loudin said. “I just figured there had to be an easier way than walking the pipeline.”

With the help of four certified drone pilots and two drones, GDSI offers aerial inspection services and industrial grade drone inspection, including assessment services for energy industry companies, like Dominion Energy and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

“We’re dealing with ACP on setting up,” Loudin said. “I’ve got a trailer — a mobile trailer — it’s kind of like a command center. It’s got a mobile TV in the front of it and a conference table for like 16 people so they can watch live telemetry.

“So as the drone’s flying, they can sit in the heated or air conditioned trailer and watch and see what the drone is seeing,” he added. “It’s just like they’re sitting in the helicopter flying over it as a passenger.”

Here’s how pipeline leak detection works: GDSI connects a laser methane detection device to the bottom of the drone that’s capable of detecting a 25 parts per million leak and pinpointing exact GPS coordinates.

“We’re able to sit in one location and inspect miles of pipeline from one area in minutes,” Loudin said. “We can detect leaks, shoot live imagery and slippage on hillsides. You name it, we can do it with it.”

Indeed, pipeline inspection isn’t the only task GDSI undertakes. They also provide infrastructure inspection of wind mills, bridges, cellphone towers and power lines; emergency response services, including search-and-rescue missions, crowd surveillance and surveillance of fire/flood scenes; landfill monitoring; industrial and commercial property surveys and more. 

Loudin’s two drones are capable of traveling 3.1 miles in each direction, he said.

To learn more about GDSI’s services or to contact Loudin, visit his website at globaldrone.co, call him at 304-613-8501 or email [email protected] or [email protected]

The company’s mailing address is P.O. Box 2404, Buckhannon, WV 26201.

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