FAA Grants CompassData Exemption for Commercial Operation of UX5 Unmanned Aircraft System

CENTENNIAL, Colorado, Apr 30 2015– CompassData, a worldwide provider of geospatial data and services, is excited to announce that they have been granted an exemption by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the commercial operation of their Trimble UX5 Unmanned Aircraft System within the U.S. The exemption was granted under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA).

Section 333 of the FMRA grants the Secretary of Transportation the authority to award exemptions from FAA rules limiting the commercial use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) pending the finalization of the Small UAS Rule. The Small UAS Rule, which would allow routine use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in today's aviation system, will be the primary method for authorizing small UAS operations once it is complete. In the interim, Section 333 exemptions offer a pathway for civil UAS operators who desire safe and legal entry into the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS).

“With three Trimble certified remote pilots on staff, CDI is one of just a handful of companies with UX5 flight experience. There are numerous applications associated with the commercial use of UAS within our profession and we are anxious to begin offering these services. This exemption allows us to expedite the required FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) process and deploy our UX5 into the field in a more timely manner”, said Hayden Howard, CompassData Vice President. CompassData is pleased to be one of the first small companies to receive the FAA exemption.

The UX5 was specifically selected by CompassData as it is designed and engineered for mapping and surveying professionals who require high accuracy deliverables. CDI will utilize the UX5 commercially for aerial data collection which will be applied to mapping and land surveying projects.

The high resolution imagery obtained through UAS technology can be used for a variety of land management purposes including asset mapping, change detection, range management, wildlife monitoring, surface mine monitoring and livestock management. There are also derivative products that can be generated from the flight data including digital elevation models (DEM), digital surface models (DSM) and elevation point clouds. From inventory volumetric calculations to berm height calculations for regulatory compliance and surface area and distance measurements, the potential uses of these products are plentiful.

The use of UAS technology for mapping and surveying applications is an economical alternative to traditional manned aircraft image acquisition operations. The commercial use of the UX5 UAS, granted to CDI through the 333 exemption, has the added benefit of reducing noise and air pollution, as well as increasing the safety of life and property in the air and on the ground. If your project requires high resolution aerial imagery, please contact CompassData.

About CompassData
Established in 1994, CompassData specializes in providing ground control points (GCPs), remotely sensed imagery, and QA/QC services and software. With over 33,000 archived GCPs, the CompassData archive is the largest commercially offered database of permanent, photo-identifiable GCPs in the world available for off-the-shelf delivery. CompassData performs custom ground control collection, capturing and delivering points of guaranteed quality anywhere in the world within two to six weeks of order placement. DO200A-certified GCPs and orthoimagery are used to support aviation mapping projects, with over 450 airports in the archive (and growing daily) available for off-the-shelf delivery. GCPs are used extensively to orthorectify or correct aerial, satellite and UAS imagery as well as LiDAR data. CompassData GCPs and patented QA software are utilized to verify the accuracy of imagery, LiDAR and GIS data sets. Remote sensing satellite operators also rely on GCPs to calibrate newly deployed sensors.

Hayden Howard
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