Capturing and Processing Drone Imagery for Indigenous Mapping

Eariler this month I was given the opportunity to give a presentation on capturing and processing drone imagery for Indigenous mapping at IMW Turtle Island 2021.

In this session I walk through the steps for capturing and processsing drone imagery, beginning with learning how to plan a mapping mission, starting with deliniating a flight area and setting up a drone to fly an autonomous mapping mission. Then I go though the steps needed to process the raw drone-collected imagery into a seamless, high-resolution orthomosaic which can then be incorporated into your maps. Although there are many options available, the focus for this session is on open-source tools.


NAV CANADA’s NAV Drone app now available

NAV CANADA’s new drone flight authorization app is now available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Safely and legally request permission to fly your drone in NAV CANADA controlled airspace, all from the palm of your hand. A web version of NAV Drone is also available on

NAV Drone replaces NAV CANADA’s current online Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) Flight Authorization Request Form and authorization process, which will be available until June 8, 2021. The online form will not approve new RPAS flight authorization requests for flights scheduled past July 1, 2021. Beginning on June 9, all RPAS flight authorization requests must be made with NAV Drone’s mobile or web application.


SṈIDȻEȽ Drone Survey

PacificUAV will be conducting a drone survey at SṈIDȻEȽ on May 25th (weather permitting).

The imagery will support monitoring of ongoing aquatic and terrestrial restoration work, from a simple tracking of the shell hash deployment to identifying the development of mussels, barnacles, shellfish, land and water plants and algae. 

In addition to monitoring the restoration work, the digital image data can be shared and used for all sorts of purposes such as school projects or academic studies. 

For more information visit


Coming Soon! NAV CANADA’s new drone flight authorization tool

Some news today from NAV CANADA on their new drone flight authorization tool. Here’s an excerpt:

NAV CANADA is excited to announce that this spring, you will be able to submit drone flight authorization requests from a mobile device. NAV Drone, a new mobile and web application from NAV CANADA, will help you fly your drone safely and legally in Canada’s controlled airspace.

NAV Drone will be available free of charge on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. A web version of NAV Drone will also be available on, which will replace NAV CANADA’s current online Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) Flight Authorization Request Form and authorization process.

Click on the link below for the complete update:[…]canada-pour-lautorisation-de-vol-de-drones-5422310?e=cb9d56ae0c9:40

Here’s a short video talking about NAV Drone:

Drone Equipment Overview

Ever wonder what a drone operator keeps in his equipment kit? Watch while I go through my gear, everything I use for my drone mapping projects.

New Transport Canada AIM Published

Transport Canada has just published an updated Aeronautical Information Manual (TC AIM). You can access it here.

Highlights include (thank you Ian for this summary):

  • Further guidance on the micro (i.e. <250g) drone category. For example, any payloads, stickers and prop guards can push the weight above 250g and into the small category.
  • Clarification on units of measurement used in aviation (e.g. heights, and imperial measurements), and the need for coordination/standardization when communicating with other airspace users.
  • Operations in the vicinity of aerodromes, airports, and heliports.  Most notably, where you can not establish contact with an airport/heliport operator, the need to make proper radio calls, and as such, the requirements for an ROC-A.

Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual Updated RPAS Chapter

Transport Canada has just published an updated chapter on Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) within the Aeronautical Information Manual (TC AIM). This is a great resource for drone pilots operating within Canadian airspace.

You can download the updated RPAS chapter here:

Unmanned Systems Canada Webinar Now Available: RPAS 101: Flying Safely – and Legally – in Canada

Unmanned Systems Canada has made available its second webinar of 2020, Flying Safely – and Legally – in Canada, available to the public for free.

You can watch the video here on Vimeo.

WebODM and Drone Mapping for the Rest of Us

Mapping with drones is increasing in both popularity and accessibility, and software tools lie within two main categories, commercial and open-source. Where there are advantages and disadvanges to both, there are defninitely more options and resources available on the commericial side. The article below attempts to provide more information on one of the main open-srouce drone mapping tools, WebODM. It’s an excellent article and I recommend reading it in full on the AOPA FOundation website.

Maps and mosaics are among the most powerful products a drone camera can produce, but producers of polished, user-friendly software made for professionals aren’t giving freebies anymore. Open-source software offers hobbyists and soloists an affordable alternative.

The cloud must be brimming by now with pictures taken by drone pilots showing their own houses from various angles and altitudes. Take enough of these, and you’ll realize two things: First, you can only see so much from 400 feet, so if you happen to have more than an acre or two, you’re going to need a map. All of us have faced the difficulty of not being able to back up far enough with our camera phones to shoot group pictures. This is the aerial version of that dilemma, and where photogrammetry comes in.Photogrammetry is simply the creation of accurate maps by combining many images into one. Properly assembled and scaled, the resulting mosaic allows accurate measurements of distance between points. Additional angles and fancier algorithms can facilitate accurate elevation measurements as well. Any attempt to do this manually using common photo editing software will quickly bring about the second realization: Specialized software is essential.

DroneDeploy and Pix4D both offer slick, effective, and user-friendly products backed up by support in various forms, but the developers are capitalizing on the demand and pricing their products too steeply—into hundreds or thousands of dollars per year—to be affordable for training, or just fooling around with maps. Which, it turns out, is fun.

To continue reading the rest of this article visit the AOPA Foundation’s website here.

Nearly 40,000 Drones Now Registered within Canada

According to a recent Transport Canada report dated January 17, 2020, there are now 39,151 drones registered in Canada.

The current RPAS regulations, which came into effect June 1,2019, required all drones weighing more that 250 grams to be registered with Transport Canada. This is done through their Drone Management Portal. The cost to register a drone is $5.

Transport Canada also reports that there are 29,488 people who have their basic operations certificate, and 3,050 people who have their advanced pilots certificate. In addition there are now 467 registered flight reviewers.