Belt Scales vs Drones - What's Better for Measuring Stockpiles

Keeping track of inventory on the ground keeps aggregate companies running efficiently while controlling costs. There are drawbacks to having too much or too little, but that’s not what we’re going to get into in this post. The question we want to answer is, “I want to start keeping closer track of our inventory. What’s better for measuring stockpiles, a drone or belt scales?”

Cost to Implement a Drone Program vs Belt Scales:

Implementing a drone measuring program is substantially less expensive. If you were to buy a new drone, a new iPad, and Botlink mapping software you are only looking at a fraction of the price of implementing a belt scale into your operation. This allows you to keep costs low and spend less money on the tools you are using to measure. 

Time to Implement a Drone Program vs Belt Scales:

You can set-up the Botlink program from start to finish with actionable data in less than three hours. That's downloading the app, flying the piles, uploading the images, and waiting for processing. That is a significant reduction in time, which will save you a good deal of money in the long run and make measuring incredibly simple. 

Time to Receive Measurements from a Drone vs Belt Scales:

Most aggregate sites can be flown in a single flight (less than 20 minutes), and data can be uploaded and processed in less than an hour. This means that you are getting accurate measurements within a very short time span making the process of measuring much easier and less of a hassle. 


Measurement Accuracy of a Drone vs Belt Scale:

Drones have been proven to be incredibly accurate - the biggest companies in the world use them to keep track of inventory. Belt scales can be accurate too, but there's a lot of moving pieces on a scale that if not dialed in 100% can result in inaccurate results. Getting belt scales to be as accurate as companies want them to be takes time and expertise. Those two things add up to money, which is another reason why belt scales can be less cost effective to use. Once you have the drone and software there are no other charges and you are able to measure at any time with little set-up to do so. 

Maintenance of a Drone vs Belt Scale:

Belt scales are going to eat up time in maintenance, that's just a fact of life with machinery. Most belt scales need professional maintenance when something goes wrong and completely puts a stop to production and measuring. This means you are spending money instead of making it. There's not much to maintain with a drone program, other than charging the batteries. This means less time worrying about malfunctions and more time focusing on the tasks at hand. 


How to Pass the Part 107-A and Become an FAA Certified Drone Operator

Intro/Why: (the test exists)

  • Drones have been deemed the new phenomenon for hobbyist

  • The FAA and Government entities are not in existence to limit your liberties

    • But without proper care and regulations there is a potential for causing damage to property and/or harm to others

  • As a result, in attempts to promote safe flight and curb the proliferation of unsafe/ reckless pilots- the FAA created the Part 107 and required that all pilots, who wish to fly for commercial reasons, pass the knowledge test .

What: (is the FAA, Part 107, Certification)


“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the agency of the United States Department of Transportation responsible for the regulation and oversight of civil aviation within the U.S., as well as operation and development of the National Airspace System. Its primary mission is to ensure safety of civil aviation.”

The responsibilities of the FAA include:

  • Regulating civil aviation to promote safety within the U.S. and abroad;

  • Encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology;

  • Developing and operating a system of air traffic control and navigation for both civil and military aircraft;

  • Researching and developing the National Airspace System and civil aeronautics;

  • Developing and carrying out programs to control aircraft noise and other environmental effects of civil aviation;

  • Regulating U.S. commercial space transportation. The FAA licenses commercial space launch facilities and private launches of space payloads on expendable launch vehicles.

  • Investigation of aviation incidents, accidents and disasters is conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an independent US government agency.

Part 107-A Certificate

  • DESCRIPTION: The “Part 107” is actually a set of regulations, operating requirements, and procedures for safely operating drones. Crafted by the FAA with jurisdiction over a broad spectrum of commercial and government uses for drones weighing less than 55 pounds. The certificate demonstrates that you have an understanding of the rules and regulations.  

  • 107 covers A-D you only need to know subpart A.

Subpart A—General

§107.1   Applicability.

§107.3   Definitions.

§107.5   Falsification, reproduction or alteration.

§107.7   Inspection, testing, and demonstration of compliance.

§107.9   Accident reporting.


    • You can now legally make money with your drone

    • You now have the knowledge to successfully operate your drone


    • Must be easily accessible by the remote pilot during all UAS operations

    • Valid for 2 years. Certificate holders must pass a recurrent knowledge test every two years


Who: (needs to/ can take the test)

Anyone who wishes to fly for commercial reasons, within the US, must obtain an FAA Part 107 US Drone Certificate. Whether it be for work related reasons, photography, or Youtube-- if revenue will be generated as a result of your flight, you will need an FAA Part 107 US Drone Certificate. Otherwise, you and/or your company may face heavy fines and penalties for illegal operation of a drone.

In order to receive your FAA Part 107 US Drone Certificate, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old

  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English

  • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a drone

  • Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam

How: (to register for the test)

Everything you need to know, in order to pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam can be found on the FAA’s website. Additionally, after explaining the registration process, we will also provide you with a few helpful resources and tips for passing the exam.

Although it may sound a bit intimidating or overwhelming, don't stress. The process for receiving your FAA Part 107 US Drone Certificate is as simple as applying for a driver's permit.

Once you have reviewed the necessary testing materials and are confident in your ability to pass the exam, you must:

One: Schedule an appointment

In order to schedule an appointment with your local Knowledge Testing Center, you must call an FAA approved test coordinator, not to be confused with the center you will be taking the test at.

The FAA lists two approved test coordinating services.

  • The Computer Assisted Testing Service ( CATS); which can be contacted at 1-800-947-4228

  • LaserGrade Computer Testing ( PSI); which can be contacted at 1-800-211-2753

Regardless of which service agency you wish to go through, when calling you should be prepared to give the agent your:

  • (Basic Identification info )( Name; date of birth, address..etc)

  • Where you would like to take the test

  • And credit/ debit card information to pay the $150 test taking fee

Two: Wait for confirmation

Once you’ve contacted the testing coordinator, they will contact a local proctor to administer your test and confirm your scheduled date. Once everything is finalized you will receive a confirmation email with the testing location and details.

Three: Show up on time and prepared.

You will want to make sure you show up on time and are prepared to take the exam. It is recommended to show up 30-45 minutes in advance. If you cannot make your appointment, be sure to call and reschedule 48 hours in advance, or your $150 will be forfeited and you'll have to pay another $150.

  1. Once you've arrive, you will want to lock all of your personal belongings in the car. All needed materials will be provided by the Proctor. You will just need, yourself, proof of Identification, and a four function calculator, if you’d like.

  2. Bring proof of identification to the proctor, sign in, and take a seat in the waiting area until it is your time to take the exam.

  3. You will want to use any extra time to get water, use the restroom, and/ or review before you go into the testing room. Once you have entered the testing room, the proctor will expect you to remain there until you are finished with the exam.

Four: Taking the exam

Once it is your time to take the exam, the proctor will lead you to a private and secure room. There will be at least 3 recorded computerized testing stations (supplied with) a copy of the (airmen book), scratch paper, and a writing utensil. It is up to you if you would like to bring a basic calculator or not. Odds are you won’t need it, however you are prohibited from bringing in any other electronics or pre-written notes into the testing room.  If you do not have anywhere to store you belongings, no worries! The testing center will allow you to leave them in the waiting area. However, there may be others also waiting and the center will not accept responsibility for your belongings.

  1. Before starting, the proctor will walk you through how to take the test and what to do once you’ve completed it.

  2. Take your test!

Test Details:

  • You have two hours; that’s 2 minutes per question. Which is more than enough time considering every question will be in multiple choice format.

  • You can increase the font size in the testing software.

  • You can go back and change the answer to any question, until you choose to finish your test.

  • If you’re unsure about any question, take your best guess, and then click the Mark button. Marked questions show up in the index with a question mark.

  • Before you submit your final test, carefully review all your marked questions. Use the process of elimination to reduce the possible answers.

Five: Receiving your results.

Once you’ve submitted the examine, you’ll see your score immediately. You will be allowed time to review your results. If you studied, you’re almost certain to pass!

If you fail, no big deal. You can take the test again within 2 weeks

Once you pass, you will be given a sheet of paper that contains your testing information along with your grade and an official testing center seal. You will also be given information on where to go online:

  • Register your results on the FAA database.

  • Apply for your temporary certificate that you will need until the official plastic one arrives in the mail.

  • And, opt out of the option for your address to be given to the public.

Six: Now you are free to fly.

Here at Botlink we have a free to download app on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The Botlink Capture App allows you to say goodbye to complicated flight control. Takeoff, landing, and everything in between is 100% automated. Pause and resume flights with a tap, track flight progress, and monitor your drone. Give it a try today and make flying much easier!


How: (to prepare for the test)

  • The FAA is your friend. They have study guides and practice tests that cover the full bank of questions. The Airman Knowledge book is also a helpful tool that can be used.

  • You can also find online courses, Youtube tutorials, books, or local classes

  • Youtube walkthroughs are very helpful and make it much easier to understand some of the trickier areas.

  • Look at more than one of these resources to make sure all ground is covered and that you have a good grasp on the material.


What is the FAA & what are their responsibilities:

Part 107 rules and regulations:


Study guide I used:

Dronebase Study Guide:

6 steps to become a drone operator:

In person training:

Entrepreneur roundtable:

The Right Drone for Your Department

The Right Drone for Your Department

Your agency is looking for a drone? That is awesome because drones are now being used for traffic reconstructions, leading search and rescue missions, and monitoring crowds. They are making the work of officers more effective and much safer. Do you want to be able to do your job better, more effectively, and remain safe? Great! You have come to the right place. We have put together a quick guide to help you determine the right drone for your department!

Download Your Own Pre-Flight Checklist

 Download Your Own Pre-Flight Checklist

As more and more people are adopting and utilizing drone technology, drones are becoming easier and easier to operate. They now require less steps to take off and get your tasks done. So, with it being so simple, how do you make sure that there are less complications that could potentially arise? Easy. By taking the proper steps and precautions to prepare your drone for flight. But how do you remember everything you need to do? Simple, with a Pre-Flight Checklist! Download your own Pre-Flight Checklist from Botlink here!