discussion / Drones  / 26 January 2017

Operational guidance


We are increasingly using drones (primarily DJI Phantoms) and our management feels we should have some institutional guidance for their use, to be superceded by national legislation where it exists.  This is, in part, an insurance issue.  We could write our own from scratch but I wonder whether others have already done this and could let us base our own on that (with due acknowledgement).  Many thanks.

Hi Tony, 

This echos some other converations that have been going on both here on wildlabs (for example, see this thread), which speak to the need for a living guidelines document that covers various aspects of using drones in conservation. There seems to be a call for something that covers both the practical questions of how to get started (e.g. what hardware/software to use, how much will it cost etc), but also the bigger management questions that you've identified. There are a couple of documents being developed independently that I know of, so it seems like an idea to pull them together and develop them as a shared resource that different individuals or organisations could then use to derive their own internal guidelines.

I've started a thread here to pull these conversations into the one place and to help focus energy on sharing rather than replicatation. It'd be great to have your input (and @jprobert 's) to this process to ensure what's produced meets your organisational needs and incorpate's FFI's experience into the guidelines. 



Here in Brazil we´ve been following basic rules that the Nations Aviation Agency has set for a public hearing. However, there some uncertainties, once it was not formally accepted by the government. Having said that, there would be usefull to have a very basic guideline to be shared among those using the technology. For instance, setting max altitude, minimun distance from houses, use in urbarn x natural areas, and so forth.

For the broader science community, the Research Data Alliance is looking at developing best practices for sUAS sensor data standards onboard and offboard, as well as procedurally deveoping a community consesnus around best practice for flights, metadata capture, sensor use (sample frequency, colocation, etc). 

The goal is to ensure sUAS captured data is FAIR (findable, accessble, interoperable, and reuseable) - so as to maximise the impact of the data, and ensure good scientific practice.

The conservation community definitely has its own requirements it would be great to bring in to the conversation too.  See kick off meeting in April  (abstract) and group mailing list here for open comment.