Over the past few weeks, Norfolk’s own Town Administrator Jack Hathaway has captured a new perspective of our gorgeous town with the help of his “very tall assistant” and new addition to the Norfolk family. We wanted to know more about Jack’s experience with the quadcopter and what else we can look forward to seeing aerial footage of in addition to Norfolk Center, Freeman-Kennedy School, KP High School, Old Town Pond, and DPW Solar Fields that he has already captured!
Q: What prompted you to utilize a quadcopter and camera to capture images of Norfolk?
JH: I love technology and enjoy being creative. Unfortunately I don't have a creative bone in my body. Taking videos and pictures of the town allows me to be creative without having to rely on my artistic talent.
I became interested in quadcopters after seeing my brother in law use one up in Maine. He was able to quickly document much of the York, Maine beaches and neighboring property. I mentioned the concept to a number of the town's department heads over a few months and almost all of them came up with ideas to use the copter. We can save some money- such as paying someone to climb and inspect the water tanks which will save enough money to pay for the copter. We can do other videos for economic development purposes and help promote the town for commercial development.
We also plan on using the copter to inspect and document the condition of the roofs of town buildings.
I've also begun creating some "promotional" videos of town property; The Freeman Kennedy School, Town Hill, Old Town Pond and the Playground at Rockwood Road. I've put these up on the town's Facebook page
Q: Have you run into any technical difficulties in your quest for these beautiful images?
JH: I have. Early in the days of iMovie, I was pretty good with home movies. The size of these files are so enormous and iMovie has changed quite a bit, I find that I need to sharpen my skills. I'm sure my friends at NCTV will be able to help me.
Q: How long did it take to learn how to fly and what is the most challenging part of airborne navigation?
JH: It was very easy to learn. If you've had experience with video games in the last twenty years, you know how to run a joystick. The best part is this copter will hover if you let everything go and return home if you push the panic button. It is helpful to have a young set of eyes helping you so that she (my daughter, Christina, in my case) can keep an eye on the helicopter while I run the camera and controls.
Q: What are your future plans for your new friend and associated videos and photos?
JH: I'm going to continue documenting the buildings in town and the natural resources (ponds, lakes, fields, etc). We will also start documenting the water towers and see if we run into any hurdles there. I suspect that won't be too much of a problem.
The fun part will be finding out from other people what suggestions they have for the helicopter. I know parades and Community Day will be fun.
We can’t wait to see what else Jack and the town capture with their new quadcopter and we will certainly be happy to help with skill-sharpening!
To see the footage Jack has already gathered, head on over to the town’s Facebook page and keep an eye out for more videos!