Ae­ri­al dro­ne i­ma­ging ta­kes off in S Ca­pe

George Herald - - News -

Lo­cal land sur­veying com­pa­ny VPM Sur­veys re­cent­ly be­ca­me the first ap­pro­ved dro­ne o­pe­ra­tor with its he­ad of­fi­ce in the Sout­hern Ca­pe - one of just 25 ap­pro­ved o­pe­ra­tors in the en­ti­re coun­try.

VPM Sur­veys obtai­ned their

ROC (Re­mo­te­ly pi­lo­ted ai­r­craft sy­stem O­pe­ra­ti­on Cer­ti­fi­ca­te) from the South A­fri­can Ci­vil A­vi­a­ti­on Aut­ho­ri­ty (SACAA) on 28 Ja­nu­a­ry - a long and ex­pen­si­ve pro­cess de­man­ding gre­at ex­per­ti­se and the pas­sing of ma­ny ri­gorous ex­a­mi­na­ti­ons and in­specti­ons.

The VPM te­am are Ro­han

Kohler, a com­mer­ci­al he­li­cop­ter pi­lot and pro­fes­si­o­nal land sur­veyor, Ca­me­ron Kohler, re­mo­te­ly pi­lo­ted ai­r­craft sy­stem (RPAS) pi­lot and pro­fes­si­o­nal land sur­veyor and El­ma­rie du

Toit, ad­mi­nis­tra­tor and qua­li­ty and sa­fe­ty ma­na­ger with 20 y­e­ars’ ex­pe­rien­ce in the a­vi­a­ti­on in­du­stry.

VPM is thril­led to be in­vol­ved in a field that is chan­ging the way we see the wor­ld.

High tech

VPM Sur­veys u­ses dro­nes to cap­tu­re high de­fi­ni­ti­on i­ma­ges to cre­a­te 3D di­gi­tal ter­rain mo­dels, ort­hop­ho­tos and con­tour maps of the land - de­ve­lo­ped or un­de­ve­lo­ped - to an accu­ra­cy of 3-5cm on the ground. VPM is pre­sent­ly in­ves­ti­ga­ting a new 100-me­ga­pixel (MP) me­tric ca­me­ra which will pro­du­ce an accu­ra­cy of bet­ter than 1cm. VPM al­so u­ses i­ma­ge re­cog­ni­ti­on soft­wa­re to au­to­ma­ti­cal­ly find and i­den­ti­fy fe­a­tu­res within the pho­to­graph (e.g. cars, buil­dings, pools etc). T­he­re are ma­ny ad­van­ta­ges to u­sing dro­nes - gre­a­ter speed of work, in­cre­a­sed pro­ducti­vi­ty with lo­wer phy­si­cal de­mands and lo­wer risk to sur­veyors and their e­quip­ment from cri­mi­nal thre­ats.

The ae­ri­al i­ma­ging is then pro­ces­sed u­sing so­phi­sti­ca­ted soft­wa­re to pro­du­ce a map that sa­tis­fies the needs of the client. VPM’s clients in­clu­de mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties that want mo­re in­for­ma­ti­on re­gar­ding use of land, or de­ve­lo­pers see­king an accu­ra­te map for de­ve­lop­ment plan­ning.

Le­gis­la­ti­on

No dro­nes may be o­pe­ra­ted for com­mer­ci­al gain wit­hout an ROC li­cen­se from the SACAA. Any in­for­ma­ti­on gat­he­red by il­le­gal dro­ne o­pe­ra­tors can be chal­len­ged in court and dis­mis­sed. Clients may be held re­spon­si­ble for em­ploying an un­li­cen­sed o­pe­ra­tor and could in­cur pu­blic li­a­bi­li­ty claims as a re­sult of da­ma­ge cau­sed. Fe­lons could re­cei­ve a 10-y­e­ar pri­son sen­ten­ce or a R50 000 fi­ne or both.

Long lo­cal his­to­ry

The Sout­hern Ca­pe is for­tu­na­te to ha­ve an ap­pro­ved dro­ne o­pe­ra­tor in its midst - a land sur­veying com­pa­ny which has ser­ved t­his a­rea for 110 y­e­ars, sin­ce the ti­me w­hen land sur­veyors’ on­ly tools in­clu­ded a me­a­su­ring chain and the­o­do­li­te. VPM has co­me a long way sin­ce and fu­tu­re projects in­clu­de up­gra­ding its ex­is­ting ca­me­ras to 100MP me­tric ca­me­ras, al­so in­cor­po­ra­ting it in­to their he­li­cop­ter plat­form. Cos­t­ly li­a­bi­li­ty claims

Accep­ta­ble pri­va­te u­ses

For in­di­vi­du­al per­so­nal and pri­va­te pur­po­ses w­he­re t­he­re is no com­mer­ci­al out­co­me, in­te­rest or gain

Pi­lot must ob­ser­ve all sta­tu­to­ry re­qui­re­ments re­la­ting to li­a­bi­li­ty, pri­va­cy and any ot­her laws en­for­ce­a­ble by ot­her aut­ho­ri­ties.

For mo­re in­for­ma­ti­on, con­tact Ca­me­ron Kohler on 072 404 8540 or vi­sit www.vpm­sa.co.za and the VPM Fa­ce­book pa­ge.

The VPM Sur­veys te­am show off the high-tech tools of their tra­de. From left are Ca­me­ron Kohler, re­mo­te­ly pi­lo­ted ai­r­craft sy­stem pi­lot and pro­fes­si­o­nal land sur­veyor; Ro­han Kohler, com­mer­ci­al he­li­cop­ter pi­lot and pro­fes­si­o­nal land sur­veyor; and El­ma­rie...

T­his i­ma­ge cle­ar­ly shows the re­stricti­ons im­po­sed on dro­ne toy flig­hts and hob­by­is­ts.

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