Earth Imaging Journal: Remote Sensing, Satellite Images, Satellite Imagery
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April 21, 2016
Global Maps from Europa Technologies help Define No-Fly Zones for Drones

The latest version of Europa Technologies’ global map data products includes layers which can assist in the creation of no-fly zones for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). A recent aircraft-drone collision in the United Kingdom highlights the immediate need for mandatory geographic restrictions on drone operation.

On 17 April 2016, a British Airways A320 aircraft was struck by a drone during its approach into London Heathrow airport. The aircraft, travelling from Geneva, was carrying 132 passengers and 5 crew. The incident has been well publicised in both UK and international press and demonstrates the real danger of operating UAVs in controlled airspace.

BBC News Article – ‘Drone’ hits BA plane: Police investigate Heathrow incident

Many media reports have referred to on-board “geofencing” which is the concept of using GPS (or other positioning technologies) with a reference database of explicit areas which are inclusion or exclusion zones. Should a geofence rule be broken, an action can be taken. In the case of a drone, take-off could be blocked or onward movement restricted. Some makers of popular UAVs, such as Chinese manufacturer DJI, include geofencing in their products as standard.

In February 2016, Europa Technologies announced the latest version of its leading suite of global map data products. In addition to an extensive database of airports worldwide, the Global Insight Plus and Global Discovery data products include a new airport areas layer. Captured from satellite imagery, the new data outlines the operational area of over 3000 international and domestic airports worldwide. The airport areas database is an ideal component to build buffered no-fly zones in and around airports.

Warren Vick, Founder & Director of Europa Technologies comments, “We are united with professional and amateur UAV operators who are concerned with flight safety. The extensive airport areas database in our global map data products is an important component to ensure that prohibited and controlled airspace is observed. With the FAA predicting that there will be over 7 million small drones in US airspace by 2020, it is critical for the future of the industry that mandatory safety controls, including geofencing, are universally implemented.”

About Europa Technologies

Europa Technologies is an award-winning specialist in digital maps and associated services for a wide variety of market sectors and applications. Our resources allow organisations with international interests to better understand their customers, assets and markets, in a geographic context, thereby gaining a competitive or strategic advantage. Mapping products and services from Europa Technologies are used by many Fortune Global 500 companies, governments and missions of the United Nations. The company has global licence agreements with a number of leading Internet-based service providers including Google. Through deployment via Google Earth and Google Maps alone, our world data products have been seen by over one billion people, approximately 1 in 7 of the world’s entire population. The company’s identity is captured in its mantra: “Success, located”.

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