Are the Brits serious?

I think they’re punking the survey or something? If not we’ll be seeing a lot more accidents? I hope so…with less than 20% of drone owners knowing where they can and cannot fly a drone.

Aerial 3D Mapping

Our goto 3D Aerial mapping died in Oct 2020. So, what do you use then? All embedded 3D aerial maps in our past article have also gone dead with their site going down. We were just wondering if they were brought into DJI and is now the DJI Terra….anyway…

We went back on DroneDeploy and tested a new one, MapsMadeEasy. Here’s what we found. We tried a couple of local installable one too so you are not being slaved to any of these cloud-based service. If they abruptly closed down, you’re left high and dry with all models lost.


We used a 14 day trial license and test out 2 missions.

  • The compare function is awesome
  • Hosting provided
  • High price

DroneDeploy Comparison Tool


The same images taken using the DD app was fed into the MapsMadeEasy cloud engine.

Generation of the model isn’t as good or accurate but it could be that there were lesser images allowed.

Agisoft MetaShape

  • Fairly Priced
  • PDF 3D model export is useful for clients who has minimal knowledge on photogrammetry

There are a lot more options out there but from entry to market to professional views with hosting to local ones that do not tie you to any cloud based application AND do not cost you the cost of a few drones, we hope the above covered them all.

Self hosted allows more control but of course, will need some technical setup. See this  and this for the above self hosted.

If you’re interested, you can find a list of more.

  • Pix4D Mapper photogrammetry
  • AutoDesk ReCap photogrammetry
  • SimActive Correlator3D™ software
  • Maps Made Easy orthophoto and 3D models
  • 3DF Zephyr photogrammetry software
  • PrecisionHawk 3D map software
  • Open Drone Map photogrammetry
  • ESRI Drone2Map for ArcGIS
  • OpenDroneMap

Update: Oct 2020 on drone flying laws in Singapore

EDIT: They changed the name slightly again on 22 Oct 2020, it is now UABTC and not UABT any more but we can’t be bothered to edit the whole post.

There has been some small but important updates.

By Feb 2021, all existing commercial drone operators in Singapore must have the new UAPL – unmanned aerial pilot license. This is a add on to the existing UOP permit. You must still maintain your UOP. yeah, nothing is stopping them to come out with anything new in 2021, 2022 or whatever with UAPL 2.0 and creating something from thin air to add on to the UOP that will make you pay more ON TOP of the UOP you would have already been holding.

Recreational flyers who stick to the law of not flying above 200 feet, has a drone that is less than 1.5kg and do not fly 5km near any aerodomes are ok. Flying the Mavic air, mavic mini, Phantom 3, Phantom 4 are all ok. You just need to register your drone and have a CAAS sticker affixed.

Recreational flyers who fly bigger drones like the Inspire 1/ 2 will need to take the UABT. unmanned aerial basic test.

If you are flying anything above 7kg like the DJI M600 you must have the new UAPL and depending on your activity, you may require the Class 1 or Class 2 activity permit as well.

Man charged with illegally flying drone to take pictures of MINDEF’s Gombak Base, Gali Batu Depot

SINGAPORE: Over three days in October last year, a man allegedly flew a drone over protected areas and took illegal photos of the Ministry of Defence’s Gombak Base and the Gali Batu Depot.

Russell Wong Shin Pin, 20, was given eight charges in court on Thursday (Oct 15) under the Air Navigation Act and Infrastructure Protection Act.

He is accused of flying the drone without a relevant permit at a park beside Cashew Road and Upper Bukit Timah Road on Oct 8 last year.

On the same day, he allegedly flew the drone up to 225m over Gombak Base, which is a protected area, and took a photo of the base with the drone.

Charge sheets state that Wong went to a car park near Stagmont Ring the next day and flew the drone up to 543m above mean sea level and within 5km of Tengah Airbase aerodrome. He did not have a permit at the time, said court documents.

That day, he allegedly flew the drone over Gombak Base and used the drone to take a photo of Gali Batu Depot, which is also a protected place.

Wong is accused of similar acts on a third occasion on Oct 19, 2019, when he went to Dairy Farm Lane and flew a drone up to 574m above mean sea level and within 5km of Tengah Airbase aerodrome. He did not have the relevant permit at the time, said charge sheets.

Wong will return to court on Oct 29.

Under the Air Navigation Act, anyone convicted of operating a drone over any part of a protected area can be jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$20,000 or both. If convicted under the same Act of taking a photo of a protected area using a drone, he could be jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$20,000 or both.

For operating a drone without a permit, he could be fined up to S$20,000 if it is his first such conviction.

He could be jailed for up to two years, fined up to S$20,000 or both if convicted of taking prohibited photos of a protected area using a drone under the Infrastructure Protection Act.

The police said in a news release that they do not condone the flying of drones in an “unsafe and irresponsible” manner, as this poses risks to aviation and public safety and security.

They advised drone users to refer to the website or mobile application to check for areas where flying of drones is not allowed without a permit.

Any drone weighing more than 250g must be registered before it can be used in Singapore.

From Feb 1 next year, some drone users must obtain a certificate or licence before operating their drones in Singapore.

Source: CNA/ll

The 2020 Guide Drone Flying in Singapore

Updated: Oct 2020

The Recreational Flyer

By Feb 2021, you must have obtained a UABT (Unmanned Aircraft Basic Training) cert in order to operate a drone in Singapore if you’re operating a drone that is 1.5 – 7kg. It cost $30 and can be taken at authorised training organisations. As of writing, there are 2 such organisations here. If you’re flying the DJI Mavic 1, 2 Pro, Air, DJI Spark. You just need to have the CAAS stickers, stay below 200 feet, out of 5km of any aerodomes, you do not need a UABT to fly.

The Commercial Flyer

You will need to have a UAPL Unmanned Aircraft Pilot License. In order to get that, you will have to have attended an optional training with an approved training organisation, pay $125 for the theory test, completed a practical test then apply for the UAPL at $500 and has perpetual lifetime. Commercial flyers would have been informed a year in advanced, this is just for info.

The Tourist

You are on short term visit to Singapore, for holiday. If your drone is below 1.5kg, you do not need UABT. See above under recreational flyer.

Drone Registration

After you have hold any of the above, your drone must have been registered with CAAS. The stickers cost $15 each and must be displayed on the drone. Register here.

Fine City

So what if you do not have the above? What are the penalties?

Users who fail to comply with the UA Basic Training requirements could face a fine of up to $50,000, or imprisonment not exceeding 2 years, or both for a first offence and up to $100,000, or imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, or both for a second or subsequent offence. In addition, users who fail to produce a valid UA Basic Training certificate, UA Pilot Licence (UAPL), activity or operator permit during the verification checks by CAAS enforcement officers could face a fine up to $20,000 for a first offence, and a fine of up to $40,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 15 months, or both for a second or subsequent offence.

It is what it is

As of writing, Aug 2020, this is what is being done and what will be done come Feb 2021. There are comments on how this is killing flying in Singapore, how it will stifles innovation or even STEM, education on drones. I think we have to see it from a safety point of view. There has been multiple cases of errant flyers. It was slowly coming to a point where the authorities have to step in. The comparison can be done with the Personal Mobility Devices (PMD) that was recently banned in Singapore. No e-scooters, hoverboards and electric skateboards etc on footpaths.

Do we want this hobby to be completed banned? There are 6000+ drones being registered with CAAS as of writing, do we want to be kept to a specific field, Singapore being already so small, how crowded will this field be?

Man fined $9k for flying drone in Punggol open field without permit

A 41-year-old man who flew a drone without permit in an open field in Punggol was fined $9,000 yesterday.

Tay Miow Seng pleaded guilty in the State Courts on Dec 27 last year to flying the drone for recreational purposes at the field within 5km of Paya Lebar Air Base without a valid Class 2 activity permit and operating it in a manner likely to endanger the safety of aircraft.

A separate charge of unlawfully flying his drone within Coney Island on March 26 last year was taken into consideration during sentencing yesterday.

The court had earlier heard that Tay and his friend Ed Chen Junyuan each flew a drone in the open field in Punggol on June 26 last year.

Both were detained on the same day by the police.

They were the first to be charged with unlawfully flying a drone in Singapore.

Chen was convicted and fined $2,000 last year.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said in a statement yesterday that it “takes a serious view of errant operations of unmanned aircraft which may pose threats to aviation or endanger the personal safety of others”.

It added that it will not hesitate to take enforcement action against operators of unmanned aircraft who contravene regulations.

Penalties for various offences involving unmanned aircraft, such as drones, were raised after Parliament passed amendments to the Air Navigation Act last year.

Those caught flying an unmanned aircraft without a valid permit face a maximum penalty of two years in jail and a $50,000 fine for first-time offenders, and five years in jail and a $100,000 fine for repeat offenders.

Any person who recklessly or knowingly operates an unmanned aircraft in a manner that endangers the life or property of another person can be jailed for up to 10 years, or fined up to $100,000, or both.A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2020, with the headline ‘Man fined $9k for flying drone in Punggol open field without permit’.