Each week GeoDataPoint finds a selection of good reads related to hot topics in the geospatial community. This week's most interesting news could be a significant step toward relaxing the FAA's ban on commercial drone use. The administration said Monday it is considering giving permission to seven movie and television filming companies to use unmanned aircraft for aerial photography. However, many films have already been putting drones to work despite the ban.
Read more in this report from NBC News: "Despite FAA's ban, drones have already been used by the movie industry, including to film parts of the Martin Scorsese-directed movie "The Wolf of Wall Street." Remote or autonomous aircraft can be a godsend to the filmmaking process. Shots where you'd normally have to use a helicopter — with pilot, copilot, camera operator, and more — can be done from the ground with drones, saving money and manpower."
Last month, NPR's Morning Edition had an excellent piece on drones in film. Listen to and read the story here: "Are Filmmakers Using Drones Illegally? Looks Like It."
The story says: "It is illegal in the U.S. to operate a drone for cash. That's the position of — which is in charge of protecting air space. But at least one industry has decided that it doesn't care and it's going to put drones to work anyway: the film industry." Filmmakers don't want to wait for the legislation to pass, the article reports, because drones are cheap and easy to use. So many in the film industry have adopted a "don't ask, don't tell" philosophy to get that aerial footage for use in movies and commercials.
Search the Internet for drones in movies and you'll find a wide array of articles, commentary and videos showing drones have been used in the film industry for at least the past year without official approval from the FAA. In spite of that fact, the film companies' petition to the FAA is a step in the right direction.