In the New Zealand Herald an article entitled ‘Spy drones on NZ defence wish list’ discusses the possibility of UAVs or drones being used to monitor the waters off the coast of New Zealand. The idea is attractive. It allows for almost continual monitoring at lower cost and with high quality remotely sensed data.
This recipe does not escape the attention of other nations though. Can Canada, for example, ever expect to patrol all it‘s northern borders, the US it’s extents of the vast Mediterranean area, which contains a vast number of vessels and airborne traffic?
The concept of aerial drones for these types of applications makes perfect sense. At the same time, it does not take much of a leap in logic to think about creating data for cities and rural areas using aerial drones. Although as one might expect, not everyone can head on down to Walmart or Metro and buy one off the shelf. The air space would become much more regulated.
Many of the geospatial tools and technologies we see today such as geographic information systems (GIS) and automated survey instruments could readily link to these data sets and provide a wealth of information for developing spatial data infrastructure (SDI) and 3D city models. They would also enable agricultural and forest production to become much more tightly linked to models.
A competitive UAV market would invariably result in improvements of service for buyer’s and increased innovation on the manufacturer side.