The demand for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) is a rapidly diversifying area of technology that continues to generate enthusiasm and imaginative applications in public, private
and military sectors. Unmanned systems remove the human form factor of vessel design, allowing many tasks to be accomplished much more efficiently, at a lower cost, and with lower environmental impact. With extensive wilderness areas and long
stretches of unprotected, unmonitored coastline, the use of this technology is especially appealing in Canada.
In geomatics, there are already a variety of possible UAV applications including scientific research, imaging spectrometry, cartography,
aerial photography, mineral exploration, emergency and disaster monitoring, weather reconnaissance, agriculture spraying, and many more. The data is collected using different types of sensors, including standard cameras, infrared and near infrared
cameras, as well as radar and LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) systems. Magnetometers and sensors for other electromagnetic radiation, such as microwave and ultraviolet, are also used.
Unfortunately, the possibility of using UAVs by the
geomatics community is limited because of the absence of straightforward UAV policies and regulations, which results in several issues. The objective of this paper is to provide a general overview of UAVs as spatial data collection platforms in the
geomatics arena. Section one of this paper focuses on regulations which apply to UAV platforms, not on onboard sensors, used for scientific research and commercial purposes in Canada. This section presents privacy and intellectual property rights
concerns as well as data processing challenges associated with the use of UAV platforms for spatial data collection. Finally, the last section presents examples of UAV regulations from different countries.