Cordilleran Section - 113th Annual Meeting - 2017

Paper No. 40-2
Presentation Time: 1:55 PM


RALSTON, Edward, 1645 AlaWai Blvd, PH1, Honolulu, HI 96815,

UAS in geological task and program pursuits have obvious values, from lower cost, to lower risk, to higher resolution imagery, to heretofore unavailable imagery collection perspectives. Because UAS systems are locally controlled, the cycle time is faster and ability to re-cycle, based on discovered signature, is virtually instantaneous. Advances in miniaturization, precision manufacture, onboard flight management and sensor analytic software are continually increasing the capability of UAS in progressively smaller packages.

The technology advances driving UAS design and operation are, however, generally happening ahead ability of regulators to create rules and laws for safe, noninvasive use of this technology, whether Federal FAA level or local ordinance. Further, the process between Federal and state-local rulemaking will always have one out of phase with the other.

Besides air safety, which is the regulatory focus of FAA regarding UAS, the aspects of overhead surveillance and the physical decoupling of the operator from the sensor create important stresses in the civil codes for privacy and civil rights protection. As a result, a cohesive set of rules and laws that overlie UAS operations has yet to be developed.

This is the situation faced by scientists and program planners seeking to use UAS in valid scientific pursuits today. Yet in order to proceed, compliance with regulations must occur. Understanding the background of the rule domains, including air safety, landownership, and privacy, can help inform a way forward.

Discussed here will be a current status of what can be done today, what the options are, and how you can move forward with UAS. Each program that works thru the regulatory procedures assists with establishing the ‘art of the UAS’ which in turn helps the regulators themselves.