Gernot Paulus holds a PhD from the University of Salzburg in Austria and has been appointed Professor for Geoinformation at the Department for Geoinformation and Environmental Technologies at Carinthia University of Applied Sciences in Villach, Austria in 2002. One of his major research interests is the integration of small RPAS and different sensors for high resolution data capture and multidimensional spatio-temporal analysis and visualization. He has been awarded a Fulbright research grant at San Diego State University in 2016.
The major goal of this exploratory project “Drone Zone Austria” is to design a web portal as innovative contribution to air traffic management by safe drone mission planning. The web portal will provide a map-based representation of the legally defined 4 areas of operation for professional and recreational drone missions in Austria. Furthermore, it will include a flight plan safety check incorporating documentation functionality based on the requirements defined in the legal operation approval. In Austria these 4 areas of operation are defined as (I) undeveloped, (II) uninhabited, (III) populated and (IV) densely populated in narrative form, but without a clear precise spatial map- based delineation. Common used data sources like Google Maps, Google Earth or Bing Maps have no legal reliability and actuality, but are used as main spatial information for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems mission planning. The key foundation of the web portal is a geospatial “Drone Zone Model” derived from available and up-to-date high quality “trusted” geo data sources (e.g. address locations, road network, aviation control zones), which are provided by the Austrian public administration and the Austrian Aviation Control as a result of the Open Government Data Initiative and the European INSPIRE Geodata Infrastructure directive. RPAS mission planning is a spatial task that needs high quality, accurate and up-to-date situational awareness information about the area of interest for safe planning and operation. Currently, no solutions respectively tools providing all necessary information needed for spatial RPAS mission planning exist – neither in Austria nor on the international level. The expected results are intended to provide the foundation for a comprehensive joint international R&D proposal for designing an adaptable and unified “Drone Zone Europe” web portal in order to support unified, “one-stop-shop” safe spatial drone mission planning throughout Europe. This project is funded by the National Austrian Aviation research program “Take Off”.