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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: https://www.tc.gc.ca/ca-publications/AIM_2020-1_E_RPA.pdf

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.

For Sale: DJI Matrice 210 RTK Industrial Drone

DJI Matrice 210 RTK Industrial Drone. Condition is Used. Less than one year old. Used for LiDAR mapping. Approximately 20 days of flying. Also available are extra accessories left over from a second matrice210 RTK.

List of all components included in package:

  • Aircraft body
  • Remote controller
  • Landing gear x 2
  • CrystalSky 7.85” monitor
  • WCH2 charging hub x 2
  • WB37 Intelligent battery x 4
  • TB50 Intelligent battery x 15
  • TB55 Intelligent battery x 4
  • Battery charger x 2
  • IN2CH charging hub x 2
  • Propellers x 12
  • Power cable x 2
  • USB cable
  • M200 carrying case
  • GPS kit x 2
  • Dual gimbal connector (plus one extra)
  • Single upward gimbal connector x 2
  • Single downward gimbal connector x 2
  • D-RTK ground system kit x 2
  • Datalink Pro air system link
  • 2 sets of manuals
  • OGCP hard case Vision system calibration plates x 2
  • Xenmuse X45 camera (never used)
  • Other misc. extra parts and components

Please direct all inquires to contact@pacificuav.ca

Unmanned Systems Canada Webinar Reviewing Canada’s Drone/RPAS Regulations – One Year Later

Unmanned Systems Canada has recently made available its first webinar of 2020, which reviewed the recent changes to Canada’s regulatory framwork around RPAS/drones and its impacts, available to the public for free.

You can watch the video here on Vimeo.

First Nations Technology Council’s Drone Stewardship Pilot Program a Huge Success

PacificUAV pilot and instructor Pano Skrivanos is proud to announce his involvement in the curriculum development and delivery of the First Nations Technology Program‘s brand new Drone Stewardship Program. The three week pilot course was hosted by Seabird College on the unceded homelands of Stó:lō Nation in January and February of 2020. Twelve students from six BC First Nations were provided with an understanding of drone management through experiential learning, ground school, and applied learning. This course was offered in partnership with Flytbox Aerial Solutions to prepare students for the Transport Canada Small Basic RPAS exam.  In addition, students also received their Restricted Radio Operator Certificate with Aeronautical qualification (ROC-A).

FNTC Drone Stewardship Program
The amazing students from FNTC’s first ever Drone Stewardship Program (photo by Pano Skrivanos)

Pano talks about the Program in a November 2019 interview with FNTC here.

This is the first program of its kind to offer comprehensive training in the theory, set up and application of drones with an Indigenous community context. Future deliveries are planned. To keep updated on the latest news visit the program’s website: https://technologycouncil.ca/drone/

How drone technologies can support Indigenous land stewardship

The following article originally appeared on the First Nation Technology Council’s website here.

Drone technologies have the potential to significantly support Indigenous land stewardship. These flying robots are being used around the world to collect high-resolution remote sensing data of lands and waters. The First Nations Technology Council is excited to announce the launch of our Drone Stewardship Program! This is the first program to offer training in the theory, set up and application of drones with a focus on how drones can be used in Indigenous communities. Applications close November 22!

The course will be co-taught by Pano Skrivanos. Pano’s great-grandmother is from Tia’amin Nation, and he has been working with Indigenous communities for many years as the Senior Business Manager of the GIS and Information Management Program at Inlailawatash Limited. He provides expertise to communities in the areas of land use planning, forestry, surveying, marine conservation, archaeology, wildlife habitat analysis, and forest carbon.

Pano recently spoke to the Technology Council about how drones can support Indigenous land stewardship and self-determination, as well as why he is excited to teach the Drone Stewardship Program.

FNTC: What are some innovative ways that drones are being put to use in Indigenous communities today?

PS: There’s tons of ways. Drones can be used to survey intertidal areas and help pick out fish traps, shellfish gardens, clam gardens and canoe pullouts. You can see these features a lot easier from the air. You can also use drones to create really detailed typography maps of intertidal zones. You can see the shape of the land really clearly that you can’t otherwise see from the land. Drone LIDAR can be used to strip away vegetation, so you can look through trees and shrubs and find features and cultural depressions like pit houses.

A lot of First Nations territories are huge. So with the drone you can get out to these areas that are not really accessible. You can put a drone up in the air and you can survey really large areas. Then you can take photos and video and bring them back and share it with the rest of the community. There’s a lot of Indigenous businesses out there that do aerial photography and aerial video for promotion.

FNTC: What do you enjoy most about getting to work with First Nations communities and supporting them with GIS mapping and drone services?

PS: I get to work on all kinds of really cool projects. I get to help organize traditional use and occupancy data and put it into useable formats. I get to travel around and visit a lot of these communities. For instance I was up in Hartley Bay in July, I’m heading to Williams Lake next week. I was up in Port Hardy just a few weeks. I’d never get to do this kind of stuff if it wasn’t for my job.

FNTC: What are some of the career opportunities for someone with the skills to operate a drone?

PS: There’s tons of opportunities. It’s a real growing industry. The ways drones can be used are just getting bigger and bigger. There’s a lot of potential careers where drones can be used in, like industry, tourism, natural resources. Having the skills to operate a drone is a really good thing to have in your tool box. It’s also complimentary. So if students are already interested in or working in natural resource fields like mapping or archaeology, having the ability to fly drones is only going to help students.

FNTC: What are you most looking forward to about teaching the Drone Stewardship Program?

PS: I’m most looking forward to meeting and working with students. I don’t know who they’re going to be yet, but the plan is to have 12 students from six different communities. So I think that’s going to be really cool. I’m sure they’re going to have diverse backgrounds and different levels of experience.  So that’s going to be really exciting for me. This is my first time teaching this course so I’m going to be open to new experiences. We’re all going to be doing this together. There’s a lot they’re going to be able to teach me as well about how they see drones being useful for them. I have my ideas about that, but I’m sure there’s other applications that I haven’t even considered.

Doing the actual flight training is going to be a lot of fun. We have some exciting plans in place for teaching students how to fly their drones safely.

FNTC: What’s your personal message to communities and students thinking of applying to this program?

PS: It’s going to be really fun! It’s going to be really interesting. I mean drones are interesting. These are machines that fly around and can do really cool stuff. It’s going to be really good opportunity. It’s going to open up doors for people to do all kinds of neat stuff in their communities.

Click here for more information on the Drone Stewardship Program.

By Trevor Jang

Drones, Maps, and Plant Conservation: Surveying and Mapping the Rugged Cliffs of Kauai

The North American Cartographic Information Society recently held their annual meeting in the Pacific Northwest. At this year’s conference there were a number of drone-related presentations. We will share some of our favorites in the coming weeks, starting with this talk about how drone technology is giving Hawaii’s National Tropical Botanical Garden the ability to survey difficult-to-reach vertical surfaces for the first time. Enjoy!

How to use the Drone Site Selection Tool in 3 easy steps

The Drone Site Selection Tool ( https://nrc.canada.ca/en/drone-tool/) is an online map that allows drone pilots to navigate to any location within Canada to help determine where drone flights are prohibited, restricted or potentially hazardous. Created by National Research Council Canada, the tool is easy to use, but many people may not be aware of the addition tools and resources that are available beyond just navigating the map.

How to use the Drone Site Selection Tool in 3 easy steps

Step 1: Navigate to where you want to fly your drone. Use your mouse to pan, and the Ctrl key and mouse scroll wheel together to zoom in or out. You can change the background map via the drop down menu in the top right corner of the map. My personal favorite map background is Night.

Step 2: In the Operations Details tab select your category of operations, basic or advanced. As each category of operation contains different sets of rules that pilots must follow, the selection will change the category of airspace on the map.

Step 3: There are two main tools that are provided that can assist drone pilots with the planning of their operation. These two tools are operation design tools and operation measure tools. Both can be enabled within the Operations Details tab. Simply make sure both the Show Operation Design Tools and Show Measurement Tool boxes are checked. Checking these two boxes enables additions tools for planning your operation. Note that these tools are only available once you’ve zoomed in on the map past a certain level.

Using the Operation Measure Tool

This tool allows you to measure the distance between two points on the map. To start, right-click to set the first marker. Right-slick again to set your second marker. The distance in meters between the two markers will be displayed on the top center of the map. You can adjust the location of each marker by dragging them to a new location. Un-checking the checkbox will remove the markers from the map.

Using the Operation Design Tools

These tools allow you delineate the boundaries of your operation, either by drawing a polygon or a circle. Both shapes can be adjusted by dragging their vertices. You will then be provide with a list of coordinates that bound your operation area.

This tool is still under development and future tools may be added. In addition, reading through the help and frequently asked questions sections are recommended.