Ada County is launching a new effort to use aerial drones to photograph parts of the county and provide “an inexpensive way to make data-driven decisions.” The effort started with the county commissioners this week directing their information technology department to submit an application to the FAA. “We hope to start the program by surveying the landfill,” said Commission Chairman Jim Tibbs. “We want to ensure that we are maximizing use of that property in the most responsible way, and then expand the program accordingly.” Using drones to gather the data, he said, “can provide it quicker, more detailed and for a fraction of the cost of manned aircraft.”
Under FAA rules, the county expects numerous restrictions, including flying only during daylight, staying under 400 feet above ground level and not flying over subdivisions or other residential areas. The county expects the FAA approval to take at least two months.
Tibbs said the county commissioners see the move as a way to “be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, while also continuing to move Ada County forward in technology.” Specifically, the county will use the drones for “georeferenced aerial photography.”