The Business of Drones — From Spying to GIS

By Vector One ⋅ September 30, 2009

In the New Zealand Her­ald an arti­cle enti­tled ‘Spy drones on NZ defence wish listdis­cusses 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.

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