UAVs for Aerial Surveying Must be Exempt from Legislation, Says Association

Posted by Betsy Lillian on December 16, 2014 No Comments
Categories : Mapping & Surveying

The Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS), which comprises private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems field, has called on state legislatures to exempt aerial surveying and mapping from any legislation limiting unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

In remarks before the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), John Palatiello, executive director of MAPPS, said photogrammetry/remote sensing provides enormous ‘societal benefit,’ and state legislation that limits the use of emerging UAVs technology will have ‘unintended consequences.”

Palatiello was joined in the state legislative session by State Rep. Shelley Hughes, R-Alaska; State Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Ill.; and FAA Assistant General Counsel Mark Bury. MAPPS is part of a partnership with NCSL that is researching policy issues related to UAVs.

The MAPPS exec noted that the FAA recently approved exemptions for commercial operation of UAVs by two MAPPS member firms, Woolpert and Trimble.

‘Photogrammetry and remote sensing, making measurements from aerial photographs taken from manned aircraft, and satellite images, respectively, to make maps, has been in existence for decades without problem or controversy,’ he said.

‘As much as 90 percent of government information has a geospatial information component, and up to 80 percent of the information managed by business is connected to a specific location,’ Palatiello told the legislators. “Geospatial data enables the delivery of critical government services to your constituents, and the use of UAVs will make such activities more effective and economical.’

Palatiello said UAVs for geospatial collection will not ‘dwell over an individual citizen or home, and will not peer into windows.’ He noted that existing ‘Peeping Tom’ laws also protect individual citizen privacy. He recommended privacy legislation that focuses on the individual citizen in a manner that is ‘agnostic’ to individual technologies, such as a UAV.

Earlier this year, the FAA selected MAPPS to be a part of the agency’s working group on UAVs.

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