Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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Q+A 74 unmanned systems inside October/November 2017 Q G F Q: How could recommendations from the new Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) on operating large Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in Controlled Airspace impact MAPPS members? a: The larger the UAS the longer the fuel life, whether it's a battery or an actual fueled UAS. So the longer the mission, the larger the geographic area that can be covered, the more storage of data that will enable. So as we get to larger UAVs—that will be part of expanding the market, expanding the capabilities and expanding the opportunities to profitably operate a UAS on a greater number of projects. JOHN PALATIELLO is the executive director of MAPPS, one of the leading U.S. associations for fi rms working in surveying, spatial data, geographic information systems, photogrammetry and aerial photography. Q: How has the geospatial industry changed since drones became part of the mapping toolbox? a: That is still a question that is being answered in the market place. I would say that from the standpoint of the level of interest, drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) are the most revolutionary new technology that I've seen in 35 years in my relationship with this community. It ranks up there with GPS, with digital cameras, with soft- copy photogrammetry. …Now when I say that (market) question is still being answered as we speak, given the limitations under Part 107, the use of drones for commercial operations is still in its infancy…so the full deployment of the technology is yet to be recognized. Q: Are there developments on the horizon that are issues for your industry? a: Government competition with private enterprise has always been an issue in the mapping and geospatial world and that's no different with regard to drones. So that is an issue. Q: Have government agencies been more inclined to hire private fi rms or to do their own geospatial work? a: Unfortunately, over the last few years, government agencies have been more inclined to do their own because under FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) rules there's a difference between private aircraft and public aircraft. And so we have felt that there has been an unlevel playing field and that, as the rules for commercial operations have been slow to emerge, that has actually given government a head start on the market and that's been very unfortunate. …There have been instances where there have been government agencies that have drones and they market that service to other government agencies. So yes it's not just one's own work but there are actually competitive situations where it's work for others and reimbursable work where they're actually competing. Q: Are there international trends impacting drone-based geospatial work? a: The phenomena of foreign competition, of foreign companies opening offices in the United States, has not been an acute problem (for MAPPS members) primarily because a lot of what you can do in the geospatial market with a drone falls within state licensing laws' definitions of the practice of surveying. So the ability of a foreign company to come in and just set up shop and operate is somewhat limited because you would have to have a licensed surveyor in responsible charge of that work. Five Good Questions JOHN PALATIELLO

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