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Desktop vs Cloud Drone Software

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

cloud software


A lot of industries are assessing how they use their specific software and what advantages and disadvantages there are in the way their software is set up for their business, the drone industry is no different.

In the drone industry, it’s becoming more important to consider what type of software you are using and what limitations or capabilities come with it that might affect your workflows and your team members.

So the question is, what is desktop software and what is cloud software, what are the differences between the two, and what are the pros and cons of both?

In this article, we will endeavour to answer these questions to give you a better understanding when it comes to cloud vs desktop-based drone software.

What is Desktop Software?

Desktop software is, as the name suggests, software designed for a desktop computer. This requires the user to physically install the software onto the machine and run the software from that machine or desktop computer.

What is Cloud Software?

Cloud software is software that is based remotely and accessible via an internet connection or 'in the cloud' where cloud means a remote location. This remote location is generally a bank of hosted servers.

Cloud software is software that is based remotely and accessible via an internet connection or 'in the cloud' where cloud means a remote location.

How are Desktop and Cloud Software Different?

As you can see from the above statements, what is desktop software and what is cloud software the main difference when we are discussing cloud software is that there is no need for the end-user to install any software onto their desktop as the software is accessed remotely via the cloud.

But what are the other differences?

  • 🖥️ Devices: Cloud Software is web-based and accessible through any compatible web browser from any internet-enabled machine. Unlike desktop where you are tied to the machine, it is installed on.

  • 🪛 Management: When the software is cloud-based it is managed by the host, unlike desktop-based software where it is managed by the end-user.

  • 🔄 Updates: This is also true for software updates, if the software is desktop based the end-user will have to periodically update the software to the latest version to iron out bugs or security flaws. When in the cloud these updates are managed by the host with no end-user interaction required, this means you are always getting the latest incarnation of the software and it is always up to date with the latest fixes.

  • 👥 Collaboration: Cloud-based software can also enable teams to collaborate on projects together over the internet without having to each individually have that piece of software installed on their device or desktop and then share the data.

  • 💰 Costs: Cost can be considered a difference, the desktop equivalent software may require a powerful machine to run the application which will have a cost implication. Cloud-based software is hosted so it is the job of the host to provide a powerful enough remote machine to run the software.

  • 🔒 Security: Data security, although your desktop-based software may be considered safe from hackers when your software is cloud-based there are integral layers of security and encryption that ensure your data is stored safely and securely.

Software Pros and Cons

There are pros and cons to both desktop and cloud-based software solutions which will in turn ultimately be the deciding factor in what software you should use.

So what are the pros and cons of both desktop and cloud solutions?

The tables below clearly show the pros and cons of each software type:



Desktop Software

Data Upload:No need to upload data as everything runs on your computer.

Installation: Requires installation, you will need to know if your machine has the required disk space and specification to run the software.

Costs: Typically allows buying the software outright by owning a perpetual license.

Updates: No Automatic Updates, you may be vulnerable to bugs and security flaws

Integrations: More useful if you would like to process the data with multiple software on the same machine.

Backups: No Automatic Save possibly means you might lose work if your computer or the program crashes

Speed: Speed of use, dependant on machine specifications

Collaborating: Hard to share work with your team and collaborate on the same project.



Cloud Software

No Installation is required - you can be up and running in a minute

​Requires good internet speeds - otherwise, data uploads will be slow

Easy collaboration - you can share and collaborate on projects with your team instantly

​Typically involves a monthly or annual subscription fee

Automatic updates - you can be assured that your software will be automatically updated all the time.

Integrations with other software typically require API integrations between companies.

Automatic Saving - your work will always be saved and maintained in the cloud. No additional disk space is needed.

Which Software is Best for your Organisation?

Now you have an insight into Desktop Software vs Cloud Software how do you decide with is best suited to your organisation?

Below you will find several key questions to help you decide which is best suited to you and what we would recommend.

Questions to ask?

  • Are you a sole trader, a small team, or a large organisation?

  • What specification of desktop machines do you currently use?

  • What level of internet speeds do you have access to?

  • Do you foresee your software needing constant updates?

  • is sharing, collaborating, and having one centralised view of the data important?

  • what’s your overall budget?

Our Recommendations

If you are just starting up as an operator we would recommend a desktop-based solution with the plan to transition to a cloud-based platform when your organisation or workload grows.

If your business is at an enterprise-level we would highly recommend cloud-based software

At Hammer Missions, we have chosen to provide cloud based drone software as we see the future of drone work being performed by drone teams and our goal is empower those teams with the right tools.

3D Mapping and digital twin inspection with Hammer Missions
3D Building Inspection in Hammer Missions


We hope this guide helps you understand more about the difference between desktop software and cloud software. If you'd like to learn more about how to capture high-quality data and get the most out of your drone missions using our cloud-based platform, please feel free to visit our learning resources.

If you haven't got a Hammer account as yet and would like to try Hammer Missions you can get started on our free trial.

To learn more about our enterprise solutions, including mission collaboration, data processing, and AI solutions, please contact us at

We look forward to hearing from you.

— Team at Hammer Missions

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