Trimble, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of positioning products, says Colorado's Mesa County has received a Certificate of Authorization (COA) that will allow the Public Works Department to operate the company's UX5 aerial imaging solution.
The COA, an authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allowing the operation of an unmanned aerial system (UAS) in a designated area and not for commercial use, was granted to the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, who manages the county's UAS operations and has been flying systems since 2008.
Mesa County's Public Works plans to use the UX5 for a variety of applications, including determining volumes and compaction of its county landfill, surveying and monitoring capital improvement projects such as roads and bridges, and assisting the Sheriff's Office or other county departments as needed, Trimble explains.
The UX5, which enables the collection of large amounts of data, is an unmanned fixed-wing aircraft targeted at the surveying, oil and gas, mining, environmental, and agriculture industries. The system autonomously captures a series of high-resolution images during flight, which is typically up to 50 minutes and covers as much as 1 square mile when flying approximately 400 feet above the ground. Using Trimble Business Center Office software, images are used to generate 2D and 3D deliverables, such as orthomosaic images, 3D point clouds and contour maps.
The vehicle was already used by Mesa County Public Works to gather aerial images of the landslide that occurred in Western Colorado in May of this year, the company says.
‘Trimble's goal is to allow geospatial professionals to quickly and efficiently capture and convert existing field conditions into actionable information for their customers,” says Phil Sawarynski, business area director for Trimble's geospatial imaging solutions.
Mesa County has received multiple COAs since 2008 from the FAA for public safety purposes. This is the first COA issued to the Mesa County Sheriff's Office that will be used specifically for aerial mapping on surveying and engineering projects, in partnership with the Public Works Department.
According to Ben Miller, UAS program director for the Mesa County Sherriff's Office and coordinator for all its COAs, the county “continues to demonstrate that small unmanned aircraft are not just a tool to save lives, but a community asset that can help save its citizens tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars.’