Aerial drone imaging takes off in S Cape
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.
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.
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.