Case Study with Larry Pruitt

About Larry Pruitt

Larry's background is in IT and software development.  Before founding Sierra Aeriform, he spent the prior fifteen years as a solutions consultant for a government-contracted software company.  He always had a belief that low altitude/high resolution imagery would become very important.  In 2015, Larry founded Sierra Aeriform as a drone service company providing flight services and post production services.  Sierra Aeriform continues to provide essential high resolution imagery and mapping data to a multitude of companies today.  Its primary business involves engineering/survey work, multispectral/RGB mapping in the agricultural industry, as well as performing utility inspections for a large power and gas provider in California.

For most of my life I have believed that there was a lot of business value to have low altitude/high resolution imagery. Today it has become reality.

Interesting Facts

A couple of Larry's favorite projects he's worked on over the years include:

  • Working with a mining company, where they were able to replace the company's old volume calculation methods by reducing the time and effort to calculate their data, as well as improving its accuracy.
  • On the Agriculture side, utilizing two pilots, they flew simultaneous drones with different cameras at different altitudes. Capturing multispectral data on one and RGB data on the other, the end solution to the farmers was helping them manage water and monitor pest infestations.

Tools of the Trade

Most of the post production work Sierra Aeriform performs involves utilizing either Pix4D to process map data, or Virtual Surveyor to create surface, perimetric, and aggregate volume data to survey.  Prior to purchasing a Puget Systems Workstation, Larry primarily utilized various PCs purchased through big-box names like Dell and HP.  Some of the less frequently utilized softwares they use include Adobe Acrobat Pro as well as GlobalMapper.

We needed a system that was geared for our heavy Pix4D processing. Our old system was [built] over 4 years ago and developed in-house. We are very pleased with our new Puget System. Our processing time has been reduced to 25% of our previous workstation.

Technical Challenges

Larry began to take on jobs that would more frequently require between 1000-3000 images, all which had to be processed on the system in a timely fashion, in order to turn around and provide valuable data back to his clients.  Depending on the specific job, it was taking Larry's previous system between 12-24 hours to process a job and turn that data back around to his clients.  Often, this would limit the amount of comparative runs Larry could perform to provide greater context to his clients.

The Solution

Larry knew coming into the discussion with his consultant Mark Anthony that he needed a serious upgrade from the systems he was used to acquiring. He worked with us to configure the following workstation:

  • Motherboard: Gigabyte B550 Vision D
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16-core
  • RAM: 64GB DDR4-3200 MT/s
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB Founders Edition
  • SSDs: Seagate Firecuda 520 Gen4 1TB M.2 SSD
    Samsung 860 Pro 2TB SATA3 2.5inch SSD
  • HDD: Western Digital Ultrastar 4TB SATA3
  • Case: Fractal Design Define 7
  • Power Supply: Super Flower LEADEX Platinum 850W
  • CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12AP

Puget Systems hand-built this customized workstation based on Larry's needs, to optimize for fast processing times in Pix4D and other photogrammetry applications, as well as excellent cooling and long term reliability.

The increased speed of our Puget System allows us to process the same data multiple ways. For instance we might process a mission with several ground control points and then reprocess it with one GCP to test the difference. Due to the extreme amount of time required by our previous workstation, we would never have taken the time to do that.