Port Macquarie-Hastings Council harnesses drone technology

Coastal erosion monitoring and construction surveys are just some of the ways the council puts drone technology to use.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council uses drones for aerial survey work in the fields of natural resources, waste, compliance and infrastructure. 

There is a growing capacity to use the new technology in a variety of applications.

Drone technology allows the council to map large areas with highly accurate measurements including altitude, global positioning and high-quality imagery to create 3D surveys. 

Coastal erosion monitoring, asset condition surveys, construction surveys and volumetric assessments at landfill sites are examples of the council’s use of drone technology.

The council is registered and licensed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to operate Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), commonly known as drones.

Take a look at Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s drone video of the Cairncross Waste Management Facility.

Council director Alex Fisher said the drone was operated under strict CASA and privacy guidelines and was an invaluable tool that provided a cost effective service for the council. 

“The use of drones helps to reduce workplace hazards and increases efficiency, accuracy, quality and consistency of our survey data capture,” she said.

Through careful drone flight planning such as the selection of flight altitudes, camera positioning and resolution, the council ensures personal data is not inadvertently collected and the privacy of residents is always upheld. 

The council has included its use of drones within its Privacy Statement and publishes regular community notices about the ongoing use of drones.

A report about the use of drones went before the July council meeting in response to a question from Cr Sharon Griffiths.