From a public safety perspective I am curious to see if state Boards will be suing law enforcement agencies and fire departments in the future for creating orthomosaic imagery and point clouds for their investigations. They are not commercial agencies and they are not selling their ‘products’ to anyone nor are they using the data to determine boundries or contour lines.
From a commercial perspective, as long as the entity makes it clear that their product is not for use in boundry determinations or other legal actions that licenesed surveyors are required for then this is a clear overreach of a Board that likely received complaints from active surveyors in this area. A licensed pilot who goes through the trouble of getting their license and runs a business is still subject to all rules and penalties if they are not doing things properly. If they provide a product to a customer and it is used improperly — they are responsible for any consequences of that. If DSPs are sued because they represented a deliverable as a ‘legal’ and precise representation of certain boundries without the help of an actual surveyor then that is their mess to deal with. Other DSPs that are creating deliverables that have nothing to do with surveying need to be left alone otherwise.
If DSPs are creating point clouds to measure volumes at a mining site — licensed surveyor needed? If a property owner simply wants contour information of their own property without respect to legal boundries — licensed surveyor needed? If construction companies are using drones in their progress updates and project tracking (BIM) - licensed surveyor needed?
Further info — an example state statute from Nebraska definitions:
Land surveying means the establishment or reestablishment of corners and boundaries and the location of lots, parcels, tracts, or divisions of land, which may include distance, direction, elevation, and acreage, and the correct determination and description of lots, parcels, tracts, or divisions of land for, but not limited to, any of the following purposes:
To furnish a legal description of any tract of land to be used in the preparation of deeds of conveyance when the description is not the same as the one in the deed of conveyance to the current owner or when bearings, distances, or measurements are needed to properly describe the tract being conveyed;
To furnish a legal description of any land surveyed to be used in the platting or subdividing of the land;
To determine the amount of acreage contained in any land surveyed; or
To furnish a topographic plat of a lot, parcel, tract, or division of land and locating natural and artificial features in the air, on the surface or subsurface of the earth, and on the beds or surface of bodies of water for the purpose of establishing the facts of size, area, shape, topography, and orientation of improved or unimproved real property and appurtenances to the real property.
Notice the wording is all about ‘legal descriptions’ of corners, boundries, parcels, tracts, etc. and establishing ‘[legal] facts of size, area, shape, topography...’ etc. to the ‘real property’. Since drone operators cannot provide legal descriptions of these things then their deliverables should not be represented as such, but should not be absolutely barred from creating similar products that don’t represent to be ‘legal descriptions’, but are simply illustrations and representations of a property — free speech or not.