Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) may well be authorized for GIS Data Collection in the foreseeable future.  On Feb 15, 2015 The U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary announced the FAA’s long – awaited proposed regulation for operating commercial unmanned aircraft in the national airspace. Now is the time for GIS professionals to consider how UAS will impact your work and comment on the proposed regulation for the proposed legalization of UAS in commercial or government work.

The newly released FAAs ‘Overview of Small UAS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, make it clear what could be required for UAS operators going forward.

“UAS Operators would be required to:

  • Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
  • Obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating (like existing pilot airman certificates, never expires).
  • Pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.”

More information on the FAA proposed regulations may be found


In addition, Colorado is in the process of legislating two bills SB15-059 and HB15-1115. We are watching these bills very closely to ensure it does not interfere with GIS data collection. On February 24th there will be a committee hearing at the capital. Make your voice heard.


I encourage GIS professionals to consider the impacts the FAA UAS regulations and Colorado Law could have on your work and participate in the proposed regulation process.


There is a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on SB15-059 next week on 2/24 upon adjournment of the Senate.  There isn’t an amended version of the bill available yet.  SB15-059 is last on the agenda, so without a specific start time for the committee meeting, and not knowing how long the hearings on the 3-bills in front of it will take, there is no way to know exactly when the hearing on SB15-059 will begin.

To listen online go to:  http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/cslFrontPages.nsf/Audio?OpenPage