ASPRS Position on the use of UAS in Mapping and Remote Sensing 

Approved at Fall 2013 Meeting

Date: 26 September 2013


UAS based solutions for mapping and remote sensing and implementation of these within the US are a given.

The timeframe is dependent on the finalization of applicable regulation by the FAA and assumption that Congress

and the State Legislatures will not be passing legislation that will prohibit application of these technologies as

additions to the portfolio of tools and technologies that are already being used for mapping and remote sensing.

ASPRS as a scientific association with members worldwide would be amiss if it does not actively participate in the

evolution and introduction of new technologies and methods – such as UAS – that build upon the society’s historical

roots in imaging science and technology in the form of photogrammetry and remote sensing.

Our membership who is focused on earth imaging in the sense of primary data acquisition as well as information

extraction from image data for varies purposes can only grow if we provide the environment and opportunity for them

to learn share and experience geographic information science in terms of the ASPRS vision as stated by Dr

Lillesand: “…. We are attempting to move geospatial information science technology and application forward as a

holistic enterprise – one that recognizes the interdependence among the academic public and private sectors in this

whole arena. We want to simultaneously maximize the scientific societal and commercial benefits to be realized

from geospatial information into the next century.”1

With the above as background the objectives for UAS activities by ASPRS are as outlined below.


The objectives of ASPRS’s UAS related activities are as follows:

  • Recognize that Unmanned Aerial Systems as part of a larger Robotics landscape presents exciting additions to a well established existing mapping and remote sensing science and technology portfolio. 
  • Cast a wide net by recognizing robotic systems and Unmanned Aerial Systems, in particular the context of ASPRS’s Holistic Vision for Geospatial Information Science Technologies and Applications. 
  • Educate the public the media and our elected representatives about the scientific societal and commercial benefits to be realized in the US from this evolving geospatial information technology. 
  • Educate the public the media and our elected representatives on the differences between the military law enforcement and peaceful/commercial use of these technologies – in the process specifically addressing the contrasts between surveillance and mapping / remote sensing to move the discussion beyond privacy concerns. 
  • Outlines ASPRS’s cooperation with other stakeholder communities societies and organizations (FAA, AUVSI etc) in the development of an enabling environment supportive of the use of UAS in Geographic Information Science: ASPRS of course being the go-to association for UAS technology applied to geographic information science. 
  • Explores the need for new certifications or changes to certification criteria to address UAS specific topics as applied to mapping and remote sensing.
  • Explores the need for new guidelines and standards or changes to existing guidelines and standards to address UAS specific topics as applied to mapping and remote sensing. 
  • Continue to inform our membership and other relevant stakeholders on the regulatory landscape for UAS as it evolves.

 PDAD Unmanned Aircraft Systems Committee Activities

UAS Task Force Recommendations (in Progress)