Updates to Drone Licencing Requirements

Article courtesy of Civil Contractors Federation, Queensland.

 

Recent changes (28th January 2021) have been made to the licencing requirements for operators of drones of less than 2.0kg, when being used for work purposes (previously, these were exempted).

If you fly a drone, or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), for business or use one as part of your job, you must register it before you fly. This applies to all drones that you fly to provide any type of service – no matter how much it weighs. This may include activities such as:

  • selling photos or videos taken from a drone
  • inspecting industrial equipment, construction sites or infrastructure
  • monitoring, surveillance or security services
  • research and development
  • any drone activities on behalf of your employer or business.

In addition; operators of the drones are now required to be accredited as an RPA operator, unless you are a holder of a Remote Pilot Licence.

WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN

The following are now required;

  • You will need to apply for an Aviation Reference Number (ARN) – (here)
  • Once that is done, apply for a RPA operator’s accreditation – (here)
  • Then, if it is not already, you will need to get the drone registered – (here)

Penalties do apply;

  • For an unregistered drone – up to $11,100
  • Flying a drone for work purposes without being accredited – up to $11,100

THE RULES FOR FLYING A DRONE

The do’s and don'ts of flying

You must:

  • only fly one drone at a time
  • always fly your drone within visual line-of-sight — this means: o flying only during the day
  • avoid flying in cloud, fog or heavy rain
  • you can see your drone with your own eyes at all times — not by using binoculars or watching a video screen
  • not flying behind trees, buildings or anything else that stops you seeing your drone at all times.

You must not fly your drone:

  • higher than 120 m (400 ft) above ground level — that's about the height of a 35-storey building or length of a football field
  • closer than 30 m to people — other than those helping to fly or navigate your drone
  • over or above people at any time or height
  • in a way that creates a hazard to another person, aircraft or property
  • near emergency situations
  • in prohibited or restricted airspace (use a CASA-verified drone safety app to help you)
  • closer than 5.5 km to a controlled aerodrome or airfield (usually those with a control tower), if your drone weighs more than 250 g.
  • You may operate your drone within 5.5 km of a non-controlled aerodrome or helicopter landing site only if:
  • there are no manned aircraft (one or more people inside) flying to or from the aerodrome
  • you land as soon as safely possible if you see any manned aircraft flying to or from the aerodrome
  • you stay outside the airfield boundary

Please view Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s website for current regulation and information.

COVID-19

Uncertainty and risk.  Two words most of our customers seek to avoid.  Amidst all the news regarding COVID-19 and Coronavirus, we stand committed to being here for you and keeping our solutions available throughout these difficult times.  We are open for business.

We’ve heard from some customers that they are also implementing work from home strategies and are developing processes to continue working on projects during this crisis.  Our first priority remains the health and safety of our employees, customers, partners and the community.  Another priority is to remain open for business and to continue to provide livelihoods for our employees, partners and customers.  We are in a unique position to have offices in all states and regional areas throughout Australia, allowing our support staff to travel by vehicle to site, rather than rely on air transportation.  This allows flexibility and easy adaptation to your organisations’ needs as we continue to partner together.

Our Customer Service staff are all equipped to work remotely and will be able to answer your calls during usual working hours of 6:00am – 5:00pm (EDST).

Our Field Support team has been provided with a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) specifically for personal hygiene, social distancing, and the disinfection of plant and tools, should they be required on your site.

We will continue to monitor our work procedures and advice by the Australian Government, but in the meantime know we’re here for you!

Call: 1800 800 UPG (1800 800 874)

Taking the future in hand

Trimble this year introduced the GIS market to the TDC150, a product designed for customers who require a simple all-in-one data collection solution for high accuracy GIS field work.

Let’s take a look at some of its key features as highlighted by the Trimble team.

Scalable, High-accuracy Positioning

With the TDC150 in hand, a user can achieve scalable accuracy from a metre down to centimetre level, which is the finest measurement available in the industry. This accuracy is due to a built-in high performance GNSS receiver and antenna tracking multiple satellite constellations and enabling scalable high-accuracy data logging.

Four accuracy configurations are available from Trimble distributors: centimetre, decimetre, sub-metre and metre. Users can upgrade accuracy as needed (and as their budget allows) and that upgrade can be permanent or a temporary monthly option.

“Usually, when you want to collect high accuracy data, you can’t just go with a device in your hand. Usually you have a 2-meter pole plus a controller,” Eric Moisset, Trimble product marketing manager, said.

“With the TDC150, we wanted to be able to collect high accuracy data while holding the device in the hand.”

Precise positioning is also achievable in conjunction with the handheld convenience—thanks to a software workflow supported by both Trimble TerraFlex™ and Trimble Penmap® for Android applications—and a “virtual pole” system, which is accessed from a camera in the back of the receiver.

“We’ve brought something really exceptional to the market,” Moisset said.

“The Trimble TDC150’s virtual pole system configuration is new and customers like it because it’s easy to understand and use in various field scenarios.”

By utilising this back “downward” camera view, users employ a virtual pole to accurately locate the antenna over the desired location on the ground. Through the virtual pole system, the downward camera is displayed with two red “target” circles. The user tilts the device to align the two circles. When both circles turn green and a log button appears, the camera is showing accurate positioning of the antenna.

Modern-day Interface with Android 6.0 Operating System and Rugged Design

With a contemporary and simple interface and Android platform, the TDC150 is able to be customised with the ability to install and run any application from the Google Play Store, third-party applications or any Android-compatible developed software. Additional operating features that allow for easy and reliable field data collection and storage, as well as field-to-office information exchange, include:

  • 1.2 GHz Qualcomm processor paired with 2 GB of memory and 16 GB of internal storage;
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and 4G LTE;
  • GIS mobile apps such as Trimble, TerraFlex, Trimble Penmap for Android and Esri Collector for ArcGIS®; and,
  • a long-life, user-replaceable battery.

The TDC150, with its ultra-rugged and ergonomic, yet easily portable and lightweight design, was developed to withstand drops and shocks that are typical in the field. The device, which is IP67-rated and was tested to MIL-STD-810F ruggedness standards, has a 5.3” touch screen with bright display and a “smartphone feel” for users.

“We believe with this solution we will cover a very wide range of market segments,” Moisset said, “including mining; oil, gas and chemical; forestry; electric and gas utilities; water and wastewater utilities; field service management; geospatial; land administration; local government; military/defence and forensics, among others.”

With a user-friendly interface and a wide range of accuracy options for a variety of field uses, Trimble’s TDC150 is set to be a go-to device for GIS. To learn more about Trimble products, visit here.

 

UPG keeps an eye on Brisbane’s tallest

When one of Australia’s truly landmark projects, the record-breaking Brisbane Skytower needed a real-time monitoring solution they turned to UPG to help. 

Hutchinson Builders, who are constructing the 90 floor, 270m tower that will boast 1141 apartments and will be one of the Southern Hemispheres tallest residential buildings, were restricted by the Civil Aviation Safety Authorities (CASA) height limit of 274.3m over Brisbane’s CBD, which restricts the height the crane can work at. 

The height ceiling has been put on the crane as it is operating in a critical flight path for the nearby Brisbane International Airport and any structure in this zone can interfere with the airport’s radar and navigational control systems. 

Permission was granted for the crane to operate above the height limit during daylight hours only and with strict conditions, including the continual monitoring of the crane height by CASA, based in Canberra, and by Brisbane Airport itself.   

The solution was to place the crane on hydraulic jacks that raise and lower the crane as required.  GPS monitoring units were needed on top of the A-Frame and end of the boom to then transmit the data to a secure website.  

UPG was contracted to install the system and within a week the monitoring system was live, allowing parties from around the country to access a live feed of the data. Trimble 4D delivered this effectively and with a variety of views and information.  

“We created a customised view that displays various graphs and images on a single online page to allow one-stop viewing for all required details,” UPG’s Brent Dawson said. 

The installation of the monitoring technology on the crane was not one for anybody with a fear of heights, as the photos show, requiring the operators to scale the boom to place the NetR9 TIMs. 

The system allows real-time monitoring to ensure the crane is parked safely at night as well as not operating outside the allowed limit during the day or during inclement low-visibility weather conditions.  

“We initially used the UPG Monitoring As A Service (MAAS). Along with our on-site surveyor, their team of experts commissioned and managed the system,” Hutchinson Builders Andy Rivers said. 

“Using MAAS allowed us to have a system deployed and operational, and we could be trained at a later date before taking ownership. After a few months of seeing the long-term benefits, and because the Trimble 4D software is so user-friendly, Hutchinson’s can easily use the system on future developments for monitoring after this project is completed.” 

“As the tallest building in Brisbane, Hutchinson is the first to tackle this hurdle of CASA-controlled airspace, and it seems certain that this method of monitoring will be the industry standard for buildings of the future.” 

“UPG was easy to deal with, met our tight time frame for deployment and provided an active crane monitoring system with results accessible to any interested party anywhere in the country.” 

“The roll out and commissioning was seamless and allowed for operations to continue on-site as planned,” he said. 

“We utilise other Trimble equipment on site for our daily set out and construction work and have never been let down with service from UPG.” 

UPG is delighted to have played a key role in conducting the monitoring work for this landmark project and in assisting Hutchinson in being the first to reach Brisbane’s building height limit.   

UPG has the solution for your project. Contact us today to find out how we can help.  

When the going gets tough

Keeping a close eye on a vital and extensive infrastructure complex in the Northern Territory around the clock and in virtually all weather conditions has become a reality thanks to Trimble technology, UPG (Ultimate Positioning Group) expertise and the foresight of a highly regarded surveying group.

Earl James and Associates (EJA), which was established in 1982, have employed the Trimble T4D system operating with two S9 robotic total stations, supplied by UPG.

The system has enabled automated monitoring of a concrete structure’s subsidence in the Northern Territory since the middle of last year.

The system is configured to measure 70 monitoring prisms installed along the structure every hour around the clock with the results streamed live via the internet.
From this, results and data can be viewed from any connected device for analyses, and configured to send email and SMS alerts should movement be identified that exceeds set parameters.
EJA installed the equipment and system which was then followed by UPG’s T4D ‘guru’ Brent Dawson coming to the site to do training and assist with the system’s configuration.

There were a number of hurdles to overcome in the early stages due to poor internet connection at the site and power issues.

UPG worked with EJA around the clock to ensure delivery of the product met client expectations and our own Brent Dawson was instrumental in problem shooting.
The hurdles were overcome and the system has proven to be reliable despite the extremely harsh conditions the instruments are operating in.

In fact, the system didn’t so much as miss a beat during a recent cyclone in the region, even continuing to stream data while crews cleaned up the site, post-cyclone.

Also, at the time of preparing this article, one of the S9 Instruments currently has 6900 hours continuous operation without issue.

EJA’s Franck Delmas said while Trimble had been its preferred supplier, and in turn UPG, for many years, the service and support was a big part of why the firm continues to work with UPG.

“Brent Dawson really went above and beyond for us to ensure the system was delivering what we needed,” he said.

“The UPG team’s flexibility and drive to deliver what it promises is second to none. We couldn’t be happier.”

Franck also said the use of Trimble S9 robotic stations meant they could be utilised for other work after this project was completed.

“We have a two-year contract on this monitoring project. If that isn’t extended, we know we will be able to put the S9’s to good use in other areas of our business,” he said.

Find out how UPG  can help your operations – call us on 1800 800 UPG.

One of the 70 low profile monitoring prisms on site. These are specifically designed to allow vehicles to run over them.
Custom built weather-proof housing and high gain cellular antenna.
Location on site.