One of the growing uses of the UAV platform for industrial applications is carrying  LiDAR to provide for aerial high resolution mapping.  Utilizing a LiDAR payload under an SFOC however does require some additional paperwork & approval, as laser devices are an exception to most standard SFOCs, ie it cannot simply be attached and flown as would a more traditional camera or sensor.

As per the Staff Instructions:

6.6 Authorization for the Use of Lasers

Before a Certificate applicant can operate a UAV fitted with laser equipment, the applicant has to complete a “Notice of Proposal to Conduct Outdoor Laser Operation(s)” and submit it to a TC office…

An aeronautical assessment is then conducted and the documentation is forwarded to Health Canada who validates the Nominal Ocular Hazard Distance calculated by the applicant in the “Notice of Proposal to Conduct Outdoor Laser Operations” form submitted. The normal process time is at least 30 days to review the notification and determine if a laser authorization can be issued.

There are no exceptions to the requirement for this process. For example, even if the aircraft is going to be fitted with a short-range laser rangefinder to act as an altimeter the equipment on the aircraft could cause a hazard to aviation safety therefore an assessment is required.

Refer to sections 601.20 (Projection of Directed Bright Light Source at an Aircraft), 601.21 (Requirement for Notification) and 601.22 (Requirement for Pilot-in-command) of the CARs for further guidance.

Basically to carry a LiDAR based payload, a separate NOTICE OF PROPOSAL TO CONDUCT OUTDOOR LASER OPERATION(S) form must be submitted with the SFOC application, which is passed on to Health Canada for review. This additional process takes at least 30 days.

In addition, specific SOPs for the safe deployment and usage of the LiDAR system should be part of the operator’s operational documents.

From our recent research and discussions with Transport Canada on this matter they recognize the growing usage of these payloads and a more streamlined approach is being developed to allow for easier implementation of LiDAR systems on UAVs. The new approach being discussed would be the establish a list of approved LiDAR devices, that have already gone through the Health Canada process, which could then be utilized by operators without the additional paperwork other than filing for an SFOC with a known device. There is no timeline for when this may be put in place. At this time the process is as noted above as per the Staff Instructions.

CreativeLive – New Skills for Aerial Imaging

Learning is an ongoing life long process.  No matter how deep we are into our specific field there is always the opportunity to learn new skills and pickup new tips.  When your running a business full time however it can be hard to find time to dedicate to education.  This is especially true in the field of aerial imaging, where technology changes so fast and many of us come from non related fields, there can be a lot of new skills to learn from flying the drone, through to editing the imagery, and marketing our services.

We recently wrote about CreativeLive as a learning resource on our sister website blog over at schooner labs as a great online source for education for those with limited time.

CreativeLive uses a freemium pricing model, the classes are free to live stream or can be purchased to watch at a later date if they don’t match your immediate schedule.

Photographer Chase Jarvis and entrepreneur Craig Swanson in Seattle in 2010, they leverage their background to bring a wide range of industry experts as instructors for their courses, giving the viewer some of the best in breed real world experience across the topic areas.

In terms of aerial imaging, CreativeLive offers a number of courses that directly apply to day to day needs around photo editing & video production. There are also a number of aerial & drone specific courses in the available library. In addition they also carry courses on managing your business and getting the most out of social media promotion and branding and related topics.

So when you have some free time between UAV operations, have a look at CreativeLive to see if there may be a chance to learn some new skills you can apply to your aerial imaging business to help move things to the next level.

Note – We are a CreativeLive affiliate and the links provided do provide us a small amount of funding if you purchase any of their offerings.  As with everything we share we only recommend items we truly believe in and have used.  Like you we are just a small business and making every penny count is key in the quickly changing aerial industry.

DJI Reveals Zenmuse X5 at InterDrone

In this episode, the Roswell Flight Test Crew provides same-day coverage from DJI’s announcement of the Zenmuse X5 gimbal for the Inspire One at the InterDrone conference in las Vegas, Nevada. Using a Micro Four Thirds sensor with interchangeable lenses, it provides 12.8 stops of dynamic range and includes the world’s first aerial auto-focus system. It is capable of capturing 16 megapixel still images, supports ISO settings between 100 and 25,600 and provides advanced, 3D noise reduction. At the event same event, DJI also announced the Zenmuse X5R, a 4K cinema camera capable of recording raw CinemaDNG files to a 512 gigabyte miniSSD, as well as the DJI Focus, a wireless follow-focus system.