It’s December now, which means the holidays are in full swing. It also means that it’s time to string up one of my favorite decorations: holiday lights. As the days get shorter and darker, I find that there’s nothing like some festive lighting to bring a little holiday cheer.

A few years ago, I shared a story about how I saved time using a drone to plan how many holiday lights to buy. This year, my coworker told me about how she used a drone, plus Skyward Mapping & Modeling, to plan her own holiday light setup. I thought it was too good not to share!

The challenge: how to hang 144 feet of holiday lights

My coworker told me that putting lights on the front of her house was the easy part. The challenge was adding lights to the backyard, where she’s planning to have gatherings during the holidays.

She found a great deal on string lights and bought three boxes that were each 48 feet long, for a total of 144 feet of lights. But she needed to figure out how to arrange them in a way that would light up the common areas, plug in conveniently, and didn’t leave any excess at the end. It was a bonus if it eliminated the manual way of doing this: long piece of string, measuring tape, and having to climb up and down the retainer wall. 

She realized that Skyward Mapping & Modeling was the perfect tool to help her out. A few minutes with a drone could save her hours of planning in the yard.

Creating a quick orthomosaic map with a drone

My coworker used her drone to do a quick survey flight over the house, collecting a grid of images. She uploaded those images to Skyward Mapping & Modeling, which processed her survey into a 2D map and 3D model of the house. Once it was done, she accessed the map and model right in Skyward’s Projects tab.

2D Orthomosaic Map of House

For her light planning purposes, she just needed the 2D map along with Skyward’s line measurement tools. That way she could figure out exactly what shapes she could make with her lights with a few clicks of a mouse — rather than running around the yard, trying to keep 144 feet of lights untangled as she rearranged them.

Choosing a pattern for her holiday lights

She sent me screenshots of a few different patterns she tried on the 2D map as she experimented with what would work best. First she tried a W shape:

W-shaped Measurement Line in Skyward

Then a zigzag box:

Box-shaped Measurement Line in Skyward

And a couple of different triangles:

Triangle Measurement Line on Left in SkywardTriangle Measurement Line on Right in Skyward

None of that looked quite the way she wanted it to, and the distances were always just a little off. So after some experimentation, she ultimately decided on a bowtie shape that would fit her yard just about perfectly.

Bowtie-shaped Measurement Line on in Skyward

Bringing the holiday cheer to life

When my coworker strung up her lights last weekend, it worked with only the slightest of adjustments. She loves how much brighter and more festive her backyard is now, and I think the end result looks great. And the whole process was made that much faster and easier with the power of Skyward.

Holiday Lights Hanging in Yard

If you’d like to hear more about Skyward, you can join our upcoming webinar, Skyward’s Drone Insights Platform: The End-to-End Mapping & Modeling Solution. We’ll be walking through the entire Skyward platform, including mapping a site that’s quite a bit more complicated than a single house.

Happy holidays, everyone, and fly safe!

Webinar on Skyward's Drone Insights Platform