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Drone Surveillance?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jaywils, Jul 28, 2015.

  1. jaywils

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    I would like to crowd-source the opinions from this forum on drone surveillance. A few weeks ago one of our neighbors posted a GoFundMe.com request asking for funding to acquire a drone equipped with an infrared camera. This would be used to scan for illegal homeless campfires in the surrounding areas, private and public, that could (and has) led to wildfires (this is in northern CA). Since then, the email list server has had the full spectrum of opinions, most of them emotional rather than rational.

    However, we're in uncharted territory here, legally and otherwise. My main question would be why is this responsibility relegated to a private individual, and not a tool owned and operated by the Fire Department?

    Nonetheless, if any of you have any knowledge on this issue, I would appreciate your thoughts. I am specifically looking for cases where private and/or public use of drones for surveillance is used, and even more specifically for illegal encampments and pro-active fire control.

    FYI, this is PART of the message the neighbor sent:

    ...with drones, we can monitor the dense area around our neighborhood and report the GPS coordinates and pictures for the authorities to take action. With the dry environment caused by the drought the risk of fire is at the highest levels given that campfires are prevalent. The time to act is now.

    However, the drones needed to accomplish the right level of resolution and GPS, cost approximately $4,000. I am asking for help to fund this activity to create a robotic neighborhood watch.

    As a member of the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), I am already concerned with our safety in case of a natural or man-made disaster. Now we need to be pro-active to keep our community safe.

    thanks in advance
     
  2. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    The practicalities look doubtful.
    What range would their drone have?
    What area do they need to patrol to provide meaningful coverage?
    If they are looking for a quadcopter rather than a winged drone, they are going to have a very small range - and would need to fly for several hours just to cover a 2x2 mile area.
    What are the rules regarding night flying?
     
  3. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    I agree with Meta, a fixed wing drone would be a better choice for a large area. A quad would be good for pinpointing the offenders once you know the general area.
     
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  4. Marlin009

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    That's easy - $$$. You're out.
     
  5. sdtrojan

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    Technically, night flying is a no go, therefore what he is proposing is illegal. Interesting, but illegal.
     
  6. Zerone

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    I'm new to this forum, but not new to thermal imaging, which I think is what you might be refering to in your request for information.

    Although thermal imaging uses the IR spectrum it is not the same as using IR for night vision, so works just as well in daylight as it does at night. Thermal imaging uses heat radiation, not light or reflected light radiation. As for the practicality of using a quadcopter, as opposed to a fixed wing aerial vehicle I not too sure, but a decent thermal imaging camera can cover quite a large area from a height of 400ft.

    I would not have thought that there would be any legal restrictions flying over a forest, but I don't know the legal system in the US.

    If you look at this link http://www.dslrpros.com/ it shows a Phantom equiped with a Thermal imaging camera, but the version (on the same site) using a Titan heavy lift copter would obviously be able to carry a larger payload with better camera and additional battery packs. It's all down to money really, but what you require is possible.

    There are lightweight PTZ thermal imaging cameras available, but they still weigh about 2 - 3 lbs, without a power source and video transmission system. I think they start at about $4,000, so it would not be a cheap experiment.

    Hope that helps. Oh! and hello everyone.;)
     
  7. Ken Cruise

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    IR equipped P3's are out there. They are illegal in N.C. without permission and of course FAA exemptions. In NC we fly them for agriculture to detect moisture levels, among other things, by emitting and detecting several wave lengths and types via specialized equipment. Most are custom built experimentals drones due to the size and weight like Zerone stated but P3's hover very well making them great for surveillance and time-lapse photography.
     
  8. LUISMARTINEZ

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    Neighborhood watch taken to the nth degree, someone has too much time on their hands. What else is he going to "surveil"?
     
  9. Justgregg

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    Nah..dont use air craft. Start a crime stopper program..this case a fire watcher program. Offer a cash reward to the discovery and conviction of a fire starter. You open the door for any type of surveillance and it gunna get ugly. There is enough halo cameras now in Denver where you cant pic ur nose without being watched!!
     
  10. Bryce

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    Sounds like he just wants his neighbors to help pay for his hobby.
     
    SilverStone641 likes this.