I am African, very conservative in nature. There was a time one had to go through the Department of Defense to acquire a map of an area from the Survey of Kenya. That time came to pass. I understand such measures are taken out of security concerns, but hey! We should loosen a bit and explore alternatives lest we be overtaken by events.
In a very short span of time, we have seen an upgrade in the surveying sector, from Total stations, to GPS receivers and RTKs, CORS and finally Drones are here with us. The skepticism associated with the aforementioned matches the one described earlier. For one to be allowed to use a drone for their private or commercial undertakings, they have to pass through the KCAA and the DoD (Department of Defense). Few issues were raised because there was no policies or regulations governing the use of the same in the airspaces. Paul Datche, a passionate Surveyor who has carried out drone surveying in other countries narrated on the importance of drones and the efficiency the same brings to our day to day activities in one of the Young Surveyor’s Jadili initiative back in April. But we remain optimistic that those regulations will be laid out soon for Geospatial Engineers and the general public to enjoy the myriad benefits accompanied with it.
Just to highlight some of the advantages of the drones in this industry, the Agricultural sector should lead the pack. It will help in remote monitoring and precision framing. With regards to the loads appended to the drones, like Lidar, it would be easy to get images and elevation models that would really help in analyses and subsequently decision making. Surveying long corridors for line features like pipelines and roads can be extensive and tiresome using the normal methods like Total station. It is also a wastage of time. Drones provide an efficient cost effective alternative for the same.
As much as these drones could their implications in terms of battery life and initial costs, they payback period can be considerably low and the benefits that comes with it surpasses ones imagination.