Some reading this blog may come from the traditional aerial survey world going back to the large format film from cameras from airplanes which started in World War II reconnaissance missions. The industry globally is going through a transition (United States lagging behind other countries), on moving much of the surveying down to the crowd-sourced level.
Current scanners for LiDAR and imagery on UAVs are not up to the same standards of larger, more powerful versions put in to aircraft, from single to dual prop and larger. What UAVs do bring with today’s technology is surveying on the local level. It allows the average citizen, which is often a business orientated person to capture and process data themselves. While the industry is still in its startup phase, not only will new companies come about, but established companies grow their new business unit for data capture, but also processing, interpretation, and training. This means a diverse and varied group of future business opportunities as initial flight costs will drastically drop for some grades of image capture. It will cost much less to put a UAV into the air than a traditional aerial survey aircraft. Given the direction technology is going, UAV sensors will continue to slowly move towards current aerial survey sensors in airplanes.
Of course proper regulation is needed, while the FAA is still weighing the balances of UAV flights with safety and privacy, it will also respect the growth in commerce opportunities.
(c) 2014 Charles Schoeneberger