Monitoring Oil Reserves from Space

08/04/2014. By Bruno Sánchez-Andrade Nuño (Chief Scientist, Mapbox) and Dan Berkenstock (Chief Product Officer, Skybox Imaging).

Skybox Imaging is making it easy to monitor oil reserves and other resources from space. Oil is typically stored in tanks with roofs that float to avoid breathing and evaporative losses in the space between the top of the oil and the tank ceiling. With the roof’s moving and basic trigonometry, Skybox’s satellite images can be used to estimate the fill and volume of oil containers. The ratio of length of the tank shadow casted over the outside versus the inside is proportional to be volume of oil inside the tank.

Below is an analytics use case created by Skybox co-founder Dan Berkenstock and Skybox Product Manager Ty Kennedy-Bowdoin using two SkySat-1 images of the Ras Tanura Oil facility in Saudi Arabia leveraging Mapbox's visualization tools. Using the method described above on both images, it's possible to monitor the change in volume for each tank:

Ras Tanura Najmah compound, Saudi Arabia

Here is the math of how this works:

This method can be easily expanded. Aggregating the volume values using the radius and shadows plus sun elevation we can fill the values in the formula and estimate the overall storage for the facility and how much the ship docked on the first image could have taken on board.

  • Area of the cylinder: taken directly from the image since we know the resolution.
  • Height of the cylinder: Using the the length of the shadow on a flat surface and the solar elevation (from the time/place but also typically part of the image metadata).

Mapbox's satellite pipeline allows them to process all kinds of imagery sources into orthorectified single strips and beautiful global mosaics. Continued integration between Skybox and Mapbox will further simplify the process of accessing and analyzing timely satellite imagery.


The Copernicus Masters EO Competition 2014

25/04/2013. By Andreas Jelinek, Marketing and Sales, European Space Imaging.

Copernicus Masters is a competition focusing on finding new applications for satellite data. The European Space Imaging and Skybox Imaging High-Res Challenge is seeking new and viable application ideas utilizing the sub-daily availability of very high-resolution (VHR), multispectral satellite data from the Skybox Imaging satellite constellation. This year is the first time the competition is open worldwide to participants. The winner will be awarded a European Space Imaging data package of Skybox Imaging satellite imagery worth up to EUR 20,000 for use in further developing the winning application. Applications are open until July 13th.

Getting involved is easy!

ONE:  To be part of the challenge you need to register online at After registering you  will have access to the Challenge guidelines and online proposal forms. Then you can then log-in at any time to complete and submit your proposal.

TWO: Before you get started we suggest you read the Challenge guidelines carefully to make sure you describe your idea properly. This step will ensure your idea gets through to the first round of judging. Beware. If your proposal is incomplete or addresses the incorrect criteria it will not make it through.

THREE: If the guidelines are not clear and you need further clarification, or you require special information participants are free to ask for information. You can email or ring the Copernicus Master’s organizers directly.

FOUR: Don’t fence yourself in. The European Space Imaging and Skybox Imaging High-Res Challenge is calling for ideas which specifically use SkySat imagery. But this data can be combined with the ESA Core Datasets and potentially any other data or imagery you can imagine. 


For more information about the Copernicus Masters:



VANCOUVER, April 3, 2014 / UrtheCast Corp. / Urthecast is extremely pleased to announce its first release of Earth imagery, captured by UrtheCast’s medium-resolution camera (MRC) onboard the International Space Station (ISS).

“This is a pivotal moment for the company and for everyone who’s been a part of the vision that we set in motion in 2010,” stated UrtheCast Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Scott Larson. “Our team has been working extremely hard to make certain that we reach this goal of democratizing a very powerful perspective on the world. We couldn’t be more grateful to the incredibly determined engineering teams at UrtheCast, RSC Energia, and Rutherford Appleton Laboratories.”

Captured on March 28, 2014, at 1pm GMT, this image is centered around the city of Moneague, Jamaica, and has a 6-meter GSD (Ground Sampling Distance). The photo is approximately 3200 x 8000 pixels, and covers approximately 300 square kilometers. The MRC is a multispectral, nadir-pointing imager that captures 6-meter class, 50-km wide swaths of still imagery, which will be made commercially available on the UrtheCast platform. While the images will be made available on an individual basis, they will also be processed and constantly streamed to the UrtheCast platform. This will be realized on the interactive platform as a near realtime flyover view of the planet directly below the ISS as it orbits the globe 16 times every day.

In preparation for the unveiling of its full color, Ultra HD Earth video from space, UrtheCast remains focused on the commissioning and calibration of its cameras, in addition to ground system testing and the continuation of its business plan.

To view additional UrtheCast images as they are released, visit

(15 April 2014) Surrey Satellite Technology US (SST-US) today introduced the Surrey V1C color video-imaging satellite, a new compact design with high-quality imaging at sub-one-meter resolution.

Priced at less than $20 million, the V1C design has significant space heritage and provides a 10-kilometer color video imaging swath.

The Surrey V1C satellite will collect high-definition, natural-color (red, green, blue) video with better than one-meter ground sample distance (GSD) resolution over a 10-kilometer-wide swath at up to 100 frames per second. In addition to video, the camera can operate in still scene imager mode. The Surrey V1C spacecraft is based on the new SSTL-X50 satellite bus derived from mission-proven Surrey spacecraft designs. The satellite has large onboard data storage capabilities for store and forward as well as real-time downlink technology.

SST-US announced plans for the Surrey V1C satellite in booth #2090 at the GEOINT 2013* Symposium being held this week in Tampa, Fla.

“The demand for high-quality, wide-swath video solutions from customers engaged in business analytics and U.S. geospatial intelligence missions has been a key driver behind the development of our current suite of affordable, high-value small imaging satellites. The V1C delivers next-generation video capability at a very low cost, helping close the video-derived products business case and serve intel mission profiles that require constellations for a robust end-user information products,” said Doug Gerull, SST-US’s chief operating officer.

SST-US has been developing a new complete suite of high-value, affordable small satellites for U.S. geospatial intelligence missions, Gerull explained. This suite includes the Surrey V1C and the Surrey L1 half-meter electro-optical imaging satellites announced at GEOINT. These mission-configurable spacecraft are applicable to a broad spectrum of intelligence collection requirements, such as surveillance, detection, and identification.

SST-US developed the Surrey V1C for organizations that need satellite data to be collected and analyzed quickly for situational awareness and activity-based intelligence (ABI) applications related to rapidly changing human or infrastructure conditions on the ground.

“The primary use of video imaging from space is to quickly understand activity on the ground and make informed decisions in short periods of time. The basic limitation of time-over-target for video can be overcome by a constellation of satellites made economically feasible by a low cost per spacecraft,” said Gerull.

Demonstrated architectures and cost-effective prices mean Surrey’s geospatial intelligence satellites are well suited to multi-satellite constellation configurations. Many on-orbit configurations are possible depending on the number of satellites launched—Surrey V1Cs can deploy in phased orbits trailing one another by 30 to 60 minutes, in order to provide nearly continuous video coverage during specific times of the day.

SST-US’s new manufacturing facilities in Englewood, Colorado, allow the build of V1C satellites in the U.S. and accelerate Surrey’s already proven fast build times. The Englewood facility is currently processing the Surrey Orbital Test Bed mission which will host high-value payloads from customers such as NASA JPL.

Leveraging Surrey’s 100 percent successful 41 satellite mission legacy, SST-US is also positioned to assist satellite customers with launch services and satellite command and control.

About Surrey Satellite Technology US

Surrey Satellite Technology US LLC (SST-US), a wholly owned subsidiary of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), is a Delaware-registered company with its principal offices located in Englewood, Colorado. Since its incorporation in 2008, SST-US has been addressing the requirements of the United States market and its customers for the provisions of small satellite solutions, applications, and services for Earth observation, science, technology demonstration, and communications. The activities of SST-US draw extensively on the heritage, background, and capability of all elements of the Surrey group, with a proven track record in provision of high-quality, rapid, cost-effective small satellite solutions, applications, and services.

Since 1981, Surrey has launched 41 satellites as well as provided training and development programs, consultancy services, and mission studies for NASA, the United States Air Force, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and other institutional and commercial customers with its innovative approach of “changing the economics of space.”

(source: Surrey Satellite Technology US)

VANCOUVER, Jan. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - UrtheCast Corp is very pleased to announce that its two earth imaging cameras have been successfully installed on the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS).

Contrary to the online broadcast of the installation, the telemetry was received by Mission Control Central near Moscow.  During the installation, we were able to complete all of the intended tests during the spacewalk. At this time, all telemetry received and analyzed is within our expected results.

(Jan. 27, cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazansky performed a spacewalk (EVA-37a) to reinstall the two UrtheCast cameras that were previously installed and removed during a spacewalk on Dec. 27, 2013 (EVA-37).)

"We're again extremely grateful to Energia and Roscosmos for providing such quick and efficient technical support throughout the camera installation process," explained UrtheCast's Chief Executive Officer, Scott Larson. "With the cameras now successfully installed and communicating with Mission Control, UrtheCast can now focus on the routine commissioning of the cameras in preparation for the unveiling of our Ultra HD, color video of Earth."

About UrtheCast Corp.

UrtheCast Corp. is a Vancouver-based technology company that is developing the world's first Ultra HD video feed of Earth, streamed from space in full color. Working with renowned aerospace partners from across the globe, UrtheCast has built, launched, installed and expects to operate, two cameras on the Russian segment of the ISS. Video and still image data captured by the cameras will be downlinked to ground stations across the planet and displayed on the UrtheCast web platform, or distributed directly to exclusive partners and customers. UrtheCast's cameras will provide high-resolution video and imagery of Earth that will allow for monitoring of the environment, humanitarian relief, social events, agricultural land, etc. Common shares of UrtheCast trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange as ticker 'UR'.

For more information visit our website at

UAV applications presented at ESRI PUG - London '13


See the agenda of the recent ESRI PUG in London

Day 1 -  14th November 2013





Calum Shand, Shell UK Ltd and Stuart Thomas, Cyberhawk

The Innovative Acquisition of Hi-Res Base Map Imagery from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles & their Web Map Application for Shell’s Scottish Terminals

The Shell Geo-Information Team in Aberdeen had been working on a new Web Map for their Scottish Onshore Terminals but had struggled to find any quality, low cost base map imagery. In a moment of serendipity, we discovered that multi-rotor UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) had been deployed at the Brent Delta Platform for the purposes of Inspection & Integrity monitoring (as part of a wider Decommissioning Project). On learning that Cyberhawk, the Scottish based commercial UAV service provider, also had a Survey Division, we opportunistically “piggy backed” their Engineering Inspection Campaign for the procurement of Geo-referenced Aerial Orthophotos at the respective Mossmorran, Braefoot Bay & St. Fergus Terminal sites. The paper highlights how the imagery was acquired via a fixed wing UAV (a “first” for Shell) and then integrated with other data sets as we sought to deliver a general purpose/emergency response style Integrated Web Map. At the time of writing, the scope of the project has now matured to include “Google Streetview” style 360° imagery & more multi-rotor Oblique Photos which can be leveraged for both Engineering & Situational Awareness purposes. This paper shall be co-authored & presented with Cyberhawk who will summarise their own learning’s with regards to constraints, acquisition / processing workflows & image optimization.

David Edem, Tullow Oil

Tullow Oil is committed to planning and monitoring its East African onshore operations especially around well sites and camps, which includes well pad restoration, planning facilities locations, new roads, as well as species monitoring. These assignments require ultra-high resolution (<10cm) aerial imagery taken at regular and flexible intervals and traditional aerial surveys by manned aircraft / satellite imagery are expensive and often lack the required resolution.
The Tullow GIS team has adopted UAV technology to solve this challenge. Lightweight hand launched fixed winged UAVs are being used in East Africa to acquire aerial imagery at 5cm resolution with same day image processing and delivery. The UAVs are quiet, battery operated, with a flight endurance of up to 45 minutes, are easy to use and can be rapidly deployed.
This paper will share Tullow’s experiences of UAV implementation since 2011, including obtaining governmental permissions, operational challenges and existing/potential applications of UAV technology.



Tullow enhances decision making with GIS

The independent oil and gas exploration and production company, Tullow Oil, is using geographic information system (GIS) technology in conjunction with unmanned drones to obtain highly accurate site information, cost effectively. This innovative initiative is helping the organisation to improve both operational efficiency and its sustainable approach to oil exploration in Africa.

Tullow Oil has active exploration programmes across several African countries and a high success rate in discovering commercial hydrocarbons. Key to all exploration projects is the need to survey sites to gather information that is vitally important for decision-making. The company now uses Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to fly over these locations and acquire aerial imagery in ultra-high resolution. These images are then combined with other key datasets utilising Esri technology to give the organisation a near real-time view of its exploration sites.

“Our utilisation of GIS and UAV technology adds significant value to Tullow’s operations. The integration of ultra-high resolution images from 
UAVs with Esri technology provides a visual and analytical platform that delivers key information for decision-making.”

David Edem, Head of Technology Delivery, Tullow Oil

This combined use of GIS and UAVs is expected to deliver sustainable long term cost savings. The in-depth analysis facilitated by Esri technology enables Tullow Oil to examine well sites in precise detail and consider a wide range of environmental and operational factors. Managers can make quick development decisions about African wells based on accurate, up-to-date information from their desktops, rather than having to commission expensive and time consuming on-site surveys. GIS is also integral in helping Tullow Oil monitor the impact of its exploration activity on the environment. Imagery acquired before, during and after drilling can be combined using Esri technology to create a
seamless, interactive picture of change over time. The clarity this provides then helps Tullow to demonstrate to government and other stakeholders its ongoing commitment to its environmental obligations by restoring the land to its original pre-drilling condition.

Source ThinkGIS online



UrtheCast Camera Installation Update

VANCOUVER, December 30, 2013 | UrtheCast Corp. (TSX:UR) (‘UrtheCast or ‘the Company’) announces that on Dec. 27, 2013, its two Earth observation cameras were installed as planned on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS). However, Mission Controllers were unable to confirm that the cameras were receiving power from the ISS. As a safety precaution, the cameras were removed and re-stowed inside the ISS pending resolution of the problem. UrtheCast expects to provide further information and the date of the rescheduled space walk by mid-January or sooner as information becomes available. At this time, the Company expects that there will be little or no material impact on its business plan for 2014.

The installation of the cameras proceeded according to plan and without incident. During a spacewalk, Russian cosmonauts were able to transport the cameras to their mounting position and install them quickly and efficiently. However, soon after installation, the Mission Control Centre (MCC) outside of Moscow was unable to receive any data from either camera (contrary to what was reported during the live transmission of the spacewalk). Without this data, engineers in the MCC were not able to confirm that the cameras were receiving the power necessary to allow them to survive the temperature fluctuations of the space environment. As a consequence, senior technical personnel from UrtheCast and RSC Energia (UrtheCast’s Russian partner) jointly decided that the safest and most prudent course of action was to uninstall the cameras and bring them back inside the ISS to be reinstalled at a later date, once the data transmission problem has been solved.

UrtheCast’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. George Tyc, was present at the MCC throughout the operation, along with the Company’s Chief Engineer for Space Systems, Mr. Greg Giffin. Said Dr. Tyc, “The fact the neither camera could communicate with the MCC strongly suggests that the problem lies inside the ISS and it is not a problem with the cameras or external cables. This kind of issue has been encountered before on the ISS and can be fixed in the near-term. Bringing the cameras back inside to be installed another day was simply the right engineering decision.”

RSC Energia has formed a Commission to quickly analyze and fix the problem and it has already held its first meeting. This is standard procedure at RSC Energia, which has a long and very successful history with manned space systems — it has established a rigorous process to deal quickly and efficiently with anomalies of this type when they occur. The Commission will work in close cooperation with UrtheCast’s engineering team. Once the Commission completes its assessment and has determined the timeline for the fixes required, a second spacewalk will be scheduled to reinstall the cameras.

“Delays like this happen in space. That’s the nature of the business,” explained Scott Larson, UrtheCast’s Chief Executive Officer. “The critical thing is to proceed carefully and deliberately, without taking undue risk. Fortunately, our project is on a manned platform, which gives us the ability to respond to incidents of this kind as they arise. The right decision was made to ensure the long-term success of this joint project. We are grateful for the extraordinary professionalism and dedication of UrtheCast’s and RSC Energia’s technical personnel.”

UrtheCast will provide an update with further progress regarding the cameras’ rescheduled installation as information becomes available, which will be confirmed by the results of the Commission. In the meantime, UrtheCast is focusing its efforts on the commissioning and testing of the other parts of the system and will continue its business development efforts.

About UrtheCast Corp.

UrtheCast Corp. is a Vancouver-based technology company that is developing the world’s first near-live high-definition video feed of Earth, from space. Working with renowned aerospace partners from across the globe, UrtheCast has built, launched, and expects to install and operate, two cameras on the Russian segment of the ISS. Video and still image data captured by the cameras will be downlinked to ground stations across the planet and displayed on the UrtheCast web platform, or distributed directly to exclusive partners and customers. UrtheCast’s cameras will provide high-resolution video and imagery of Earth that will allow for monitoring of the environment, humanitarian relief, social events, agricultural land, etc. Common shares of UrtheCast trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange as ticker ‘UR’.

Source UrtheCast

New UAV tech center for remote sensing projects

CATUAV has started this week the construction of a tech center for UAV, robotics and remote sensing civil projects. The CATUAV Tech Center (CTC) will be open to any company, research center, university or individual interested on using its UAV airfield and facilities in order to develop, test and/or certify UAV technology.
The center is settled in Moià, 45 km north from Barcelona (Spain), in a 14 Ha terrain. The first step of the project includes the construction of a building of near 300 square meters that will have offices, UAV workshop, UAV laboratory, UAV control center, UAV hangar space and on-site accommodation. The building will be perfectly integrated under a UAV airfield that is 350 long and 100 meters wide and completely free of obstacles and radio-electric interferences. 
The center construction will end before summer 2014 and it will open on September 2014. For more information about it you can visit its web page:

(Oct 2013)

More drones in NOAA tests

The skies above the Florida Keys may soon have multiple drones aloft with word that the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will begin testing the unmanned craft for Sanctuary duty. More drones coming today in Keys testTest flights are scheduled to begin today in waters off the Upper Keys as well as Lower Keys.

Federal scientists hope the drones, which boast real-time video and photo capability – can help monitor wildlife at close range with minimal disturbance.

“Testing unmanned aircraft in the diverse habitats of the Keys will help demonstrate the applicability of this technology in supporting science and resource protection in ecosystems around the world,” said Sean Morton, sanctuary superintendent.

The drone being tested, known as the PUMA UAS, is a 13-pound, battery-operated aircraft with a nine-foot wingspan. It can be hand-launched and recovered from land or at sea.

And the drone can fly for up to two hours on a single charge, according to the manufacturer.

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s interest in drones comes on the heels of a test flight conducted last month at the behest of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, hoping to use drones to spot hidden water holes that breed mosquitoes in remote off-islands.

A North Carolina company, Condor Aerial, did one demonstration flight Aug. 26. Then on Monday of last week, Mosquito District Director Michael Doyle met with Kevin Brown, a Marathon man who hopes to start selling “unmanned autonomous vehicles” or UAVs.

The Marathon-based contractor brought a working craft known as the DJI Phantom and S800 model “multi-rotor” drone that uses rotors for lift. The Condor drone has wings and a single rear propeller that more closely resembles a bird in flight.

The district has not made a decision about proceeding with drones, but the Condor Aerial system, with training, would cost about $80,000 to start. The S800 craft would cost the district less than $10,000 after being modified for mosquito control use, according to Brown.

NOAA’s foray into drone technology for the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary is examining how unmanned craft can approach wildlife with minimal disturbance, according to Morton.


Sep 09, 2013

Small, lightweight JIB antennas from Northrop Grumman's Astro Aerospace business unit will help provide a new maritime identification capability for Canada's three RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) Earth observation satellites planned for launch in 2018.

Astro Aerospace will provide 13 self-deploying, monopole JIB antennas as part of an Automated Identification System (AIS) being added to the identical radar-imaging satellites under a contract from RCM prime contractor MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.

The RCM satellites will provide C band radar data to RADARSAT-2 users and add new applications made possible through the three-satellite constellation. Improvements include faster recurring area coverage of Canada and reduced risk of a service interruption.

"Our JIB antennas will be part of the key hardware in this world-class constellation of synthetic aperture radar satellites that will add a ship identification capability for enhanced monitoring of Canada's coastal zones," said Astro Aerospace General Manager John A. Alvarez.

"Astro Aerospace has delivered more than 1,000 JIB assemblies for many important missions with 100 percent deployment success."

With an adaptable design configuration, JIB antennas can be tailored to specific applications. They are available in monopole diameters from one-half inch to 1 3/8 inches and any length up to 25 feet. The RCM AIS antennas stow in a low mass and compact 4-inch by 4-inch by 2.5-inch canister.


Sep 11, 2013


Inmarsat and Telespazio are teaming up to develop joint offerings for energy and machine to machine (M2M) customers in the European Region. Mobile satellite services (MSS) have long been an established part of the communications mix in the energy sector, frequently operating in areas that are remote from fixed-line and wireless networks.


Both companies will look to collaborate on specific projects to enhance their services and product offerings for this industry, particularly in the high growth area of M2M and remote applications.


The companies are co-exhibiting at the Offshore Europe conference and exhibition, which takes place in Aberdeen, Scotland (3rd to 6th September, 2013). They are presenting their joint capabilities in mobile and fixed broadband services for the oil and gas sector, with solutions that include Inmarsat's portable BGAN, BGAN Link, BGAN M2M services and terminals.




Inmarsat will also have on display its next generation, high speed, mobile broadband satellite service, Global Xpress (GX), which is planned for global availability from 2015.


With Inmarsat's and Telespazio's full energy portfolio presented at the show, both companies will be able to illustrate the tailored connectivity services that can be used throughout the various phases of the oil and gas project lifecycle, helping to introduce operational efficiencies and bring fields on-stream quicker and at a lower cost.


Senior Vice President, BU Networks and Connectivity of Telespazio SpA, Marco Brancati, said: "It is an additional opportunity to further improve the successful long term relationship between the two companies in the Satcom market, representing as well a unique guarantee for energy sector customers for reliable, up to date and high quality solutions provisioning."

President of Inmarsat Enterprise, Ronald Spithout, said: "The significance of our two companies working together on new offerings will provide important benefits for the energy sector. It opens up new possibilities for both companies."


Regional Vice President, Inmarsat Energy Europe, Leszek Bartnikiewicz, said: "This will be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the joint capabilities of both companies and to showcase how Inmarsat is able to support its Distribution Partners."



(By Ryan Koronowski on August 26, 2013)

The FAA issued an approval in July that paved the way for a “major energy company” to fly unmanned drones in U.S. airspace. Yesterday it became clear which corporation would be using drones to aid its Alaskan oil drilling efforts: ConocoPhillips.

This marks the first time a private company has received permission to fly “unmanned aircraft systems,” UAS — or drones — in America for non-experimental purposes.

“Until now, obtaining an experimental airworthiness certificate — which specifically excludes commercial operations — was the only way the private sector could operate UAS in the nation’s airspace,” the FAA announced last month. FAA hailed the move as “a milestone that will lead to the first approved commercial UAS operations later this summer.”

“A major energy company plans to fly the ScanEagle off the Alaska coast in international waters starting in August.”

That “major energy company” is ConocoPhillips, as reported by Petroleum News.

AeroVironment, one of the two companies that manufacture the drones approved for use by ConocoPhillips, hailed the approval at the time: “This marks the first time the FAA has approved a hand-launched unmanned aircraft system for commercial missions.”

Thus far in American history, the only drones buzzing around have been operated by public entities like the University of Alaska, or by manufacturers that were testing the technology.

The drones will initially be used to survey ice floes and migrating whales as the company mounts oil exploration efforts. ConocoPhillips also expects to use them for emergency response, oil spill monitoring, and wildlife surveillance. Other drones have been tested or talked about for use in pipeline and wellhead inspections in remote areas.

The company is still playing its cards close to its chest, telling Petroleum News, “we’re not quite ready to go into full talk mode about it.”

In 2015, the FAA will open up American airspace for the commercial use of drones. Many have raised concerns about this, as these aircraft can hover above private property, taking pictures for much longer periods, and much more inconspicuously than conventional manned aircraft.

They also crash more frequently than normal aircraft, they can be hacked, and don’t have the sensors to spot approaching aircraft.

Conservative conspiracy websites like Infowars and Fox News Insider have long made claims that the Environmental Protection Agency was using “spy drones” to monitor pollution and land use, allegedly endangering farmers and ranchers.

It was shortly thereafter pointed out that EPA has been flying normal manned flights for a decade to verify compliance with environmental watershed laws — meaning regular people taking photos out of four-seater planes.

This didn’t stop Republicans in Congress from attempting to stop EPA from using drones


Drones Used for Inspection in Arctic Oil Area

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued Restricted Category type certificates to a pair of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), leading to the first approved commercial UAS operations this summer. A major energy company plans to fly the ScanEagle off Alaska in international waters. Plans for the initial ship-launched flights include surveys of ocean ice floes and migrating whales in Arctic oil exploration areas. The PUMA is expected to support emergency response crews for oil spill monitoring and wildlife surveillance over the Beaufort Sea.

The 2 newly certified UAS — Insitu’s Scan Eagle X200 and AeroVironment’s PUMA — are “small” UAS each weighing less than 55 pounds. They are about 4½ feet long, with wingspans of ten and nine feet, respectively.

The major advantage of having type-certificated UAS models available is that they can be used commercially. The Scan Eagle and PUMA have received Restricted Category type certificates that permit aerial surveillance. Until now, obtaining an experimental airworthiness certificate – which specifically excludes commercial operations — was the only way the private sector could operate UAS in the nation’s airspace. Previous military acceptance of the Scan Eagle and PUMA UAS designs allowed the FAA to issue the Restricted Category type certificates.

Issuing the type certificates is an important step toward the FAA’s goal of integrating UAS into the nation’s airspace. These flights will also meet requirements in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that define Arctic operational areas and include a mandate to increase Arctic UAS commercial operations.


Adding Projects

When adding a project to the wiki database, be sure to add labels so that it may be sorted into the correct funding category. Labels used are esa, ec, fp7 and gmes. There is no need to add a label "project" since it is placed under the projects and programmes page. However, it may be useful in the future.....!!

You can also add labels for the companies participating to link and appear on their pages in the future.

For more information, see the help page on Adding Eo Projects.