Drones: Possibilities and Limitations for Planning Projects

APA North Carolina Chapter


Thursday, September 28, 2017
2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. EDT

CM | 1.25

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Use of drones for recording images and videos has skyrocketed in recent years, and planners see many possibilities for use of this technology to provide information and assist with public process.  There is also increased regulation, and multiple legal restrictions on the use of drones. This session will explore the possibilities and provide planners with information about limitations.

This is a session on emerging issues related to the use of drones in planning. The session starts with the technology of drones with a speaker from the industry followed by discussion of the use of drones in planning. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, have been visible and in use for many years now, and interest in using drones has skyrocketed. In addition to being fun and useful however, UAVs have created increasing numbers of problems including interference with piloted aircraft, invasion of privacy, trespassing, visual and noise pollution, and other nuisances and public safety challenges. The Federal Aviation Authority has published new regulations to govern the use of drones, and local governments are facing challenges, both in regulating use within a jurisdiction, and also using drones. Overhead photographs and videos of land use patterns and corridors can be very valuable in land use plans, preservation activities, and corridor studies.  The North Carolina League of Municipalities recently sponsored a Drone Education Forum in Raleigh.  This topic was also addressed and discussed in depth at APA's 2017 National Planning Conference in New York City. This Greenville session will summarize the highlights and key ideas discussed in those conferences and present information that NC planners need to know about using drones. Panelists will include a representative from NCLM and a licensed drone operator. Images and videos will be displayed demonstrating applications of drone technologies, followed by an interactive question and discussion dialogue.


Andrew Smarra

Invited Speaker

Andrew is owner of Aerial Images Raleigh, and has had an extensive career in aviation before starting this company. With over ten years' experience with GE Aviation as a technician/process engineer, he has worked directly with all facts of the aviation industry and FAA. Andrew holds an Airmen's ... Read More

J.B. Culpepper

Invited Speaker

J.B is a consulting planner with TC-2, LLC in Chapel Hill. She has both city and county government experience with 9 years as Planning Director for Chapel Hill. Recently, J.B. has been involved in community planning for an agin population and has helped arrange and conduct a series ... Read More

Roger Waldon, FAICP

Invited Speaker

Roger Waldon, FAICP, is a Senior Consultant with Clarion Associates. Prior to joining Clarion in 2005, Roger served as Planning Director for the Town of Chapel Hill, NC, for 20 years decades. He is the author of the APA-published book, Planners and Politics, has published numerous articles, and is a ... Read More

Erin Wynia

Invited Speaker

Erin serves as the Legislative Counsel for the NC League of Municipalities and advocates on a multitude of municipal issues for League members. In this capacity, she represents the League members’ interests throughout the legislative process and in negotiations with legislators, legislative staff, and interest groups. While she has gained ... Read More

Contact Info

Benjamin Howell, bhowell@townofmorrisville.org