October 2015
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Drones for LA County?

There has been a lot of news in recent weeks and months regarding drones and I wanted to tie it into some things related to planning, GIS and our aerial imagery programs.

There was an article in the October 2015 issue of Planning Magazine about UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles – commonly referred to as drones) – and how they could be used for planners (the article was titled – “Drones Eye View”.)  There is a section about risks and liability issues too; and this is important, of course.  It’s a good read, if you can access their website you can view the article: https://www.planning.org/planning/2015/oct/drones.htm (this was originally posted in an internal post to planning staff for the LA County Dept. of Regional Planning – sorry if you cannot access).

There have been some discussions about using drones to capture our aerial imagery.  While there is no plan for us to do in the near future for the Los Angeles Region Imagery Acquisition Consortium (LARIAC); the companies we work with are exploring this.  There’s no reason we couldn’t use a company to supplement or augment the work of traditional airborne systems either.

Here are a few links to recent, related articles on this subject:

  • Drone Users to Face New Rules (LA Times article on front page last week, Tuesday 10/20/15) – click here.
  • How the movie industry is moving towards drones (versus helicopters) for some shoots – click here.
  • Editorial about registering your drone and why it’s a good idea (also from 10/20/15)– click here.
  • Cool drone video of Los Angeles (from Curbed LA article) – click here.

So while there are no plans for us to buy and operate a drone for our use in the LA County Department of Regional Planning, it doesn’t mean that in the future we wouldn’t or couldn’t hire a company to provide imagery or video captured from a drone.   There are lots of potential benefits of this technology and also some obstacles to be overcome.  I just wanted to provide some information since this is getting a lot of headlines.

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