Flying Mapping Drones in the U.S.
Eric Gakstatter has recently published some thoughts on the use of drones for mapping purposes in the United States. Switzerland has already experienced some drone mapping projects, e.g. a 3D map of the Matterhorn at a resolution of 20 cm. While it is legal in Switzerland to operate drones of a weight of less than 30 kg without a license as long as the operator holds line of sight, U.S. laws are stricter. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets forth restrictive requirements for public users who must apply for a Certificate of Waiver or Certificate of Authorization (COA) and observe certain rules. Private users face an exception: For non-commercial “hobby” operations under 400 feet AGL (above ground level), no license is required. However, commercial users are still bound to possess a license even below the 400 feet level.
For more information see