With new image processing apps, lower price points for drones, and favorable FAA rulings, unmanned aerial systems are becoming more accessible to surveyors. What are the benefits of this new technology for surveyors?
A recent press release from the Federal Aviation Authority announced the agency granted an exemption for a surveying company to use Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in order to encourage innovation in this technology. This means the firm does not have to apply for a drone to have a FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness and it is also not required to adhere to regulations concerning general flight rules, pilot certificate requirements, manuals, maintenance, and equipment mandates. In addition, Point of Beginning reports MAPPS, a national professional association advocating for the geospatial technology section is lobbying state legislature to follow the FAA’s lead by refraining from legislating restrictions on UAS used for aerial surveying and mapping applications. What are the advantages of using drones for surveying?
Reasons to Consider Using UAS for Surveying
Based on the experiences of earlier adopters of this technology, as reported by Popular Science, here are some of the benefits of using UAS for surveyors:
• The resolution of the images captured by the cameras used with UAS is 20X greater than those found on Google Maps
• New image processing apps like Maps Made Easy are not only inexpensive, but they also create highly accurate maps suitable for professional use.
• The entry-level prices of drones have dropped, which makes them affordable. In fact, you can purchase a drone for the price of two hours of flight time with a manned aircraft.
• By using UAS, surveyors can reduce the time to complete projects significantly.
If you decide to start using UAS in your surveying business, remember to review your professional liability policy with your independent insurance broker to ensure your policy covers drone use.