Guest Article in California Surveyor: FAA Drone Laws for Surveyors


On the heels of the implementation of the FAA's new commercial drone laws, called Part 107, the team at California Surveyor Magazine once again asked Aerotas to weigh in on what surveyors need to know.

The article covers a number of the key stipulations of the law as they pertain to land surveyors. As surveyors look to the future and consider how to design their drone program so that it will maximize efficiency and effectiveness under the law, one crucial aspect to understand is how the law was designed to allow for future evolution.

The New Drone Laws: What You Need to Know

Rules Built for Flexibility

One of the most exciting parts of the Small UAS Rule is that it expressly states that nearly every restriction can be waived. The waiver process is still a bit of a mystery, but it appears that the FAA is starting by being conservative with these waivers. For example, at the time of writing, the only company granted a waiver to fly a drone over people is CNN, to fly a small drone on a tether under heavy operational restrictions.

Realistically, the waiver process will be too onerous for most surveyors to rely on in the near future. However, the FAA has signaled that it intends to become more liberal with waivers with time and experience. Most importantly, the waiver provision is an encouraging sign that the FAA is setting itself on a trajectory of becoming even more permissive to good operators.

As Aerotas enables surveyors to start mapping by drone through the Aerotas Mapping System, we do so with an eye to how the regulatory landscape will evolve. Smart, forward-looking companies will make sure the operating procedures they put in place are not only efficient and effective for today's regulatory environment, but anticipate the likely path of change coming over the next couple years.

If you want to learn how your organization can start using drones in a way that not only complies with today's regulations but will easily adapt to the future, contact us at