First I want to start with saying that Dronescene is a super tool and clearly a lot has gone into it. You can tell there’s a but coming…
But (!) I feel there is a potential issue that is detrimental to the site as a whole. Permissions.
So, I’ll admit I’m certainly one who’ll follow the spirit of the law rather than exact letter of it and land owner permissions is a thorny and difficult subject for all in this hobby. It’s also clearly up to the individual pilot to determine where they feel comfortable flying.
But if we’re creating something for others to follow, and that information is wrong, then this just leads to problems. There are sadly too many instances on Dronescene where the post says ‘land owner permission not required’ and this just isn’t the case. In many instances not only are you not allowed to fly there ad hoc, permission would rarely be granted. Forestry Commission / Forestry England and National Trust land all falls into this category.
In many cases, yes, a description is given with a take off point is on public land and the spot can be flown. However, just going on where I have local knowledge I can see many posts where not only is the suggested spot in a restricted area, there would simply be no place to take off / land from that would be legit. This is fine if it’s 10mins from home when you find this out, but makes me extremely wary of travelling further afield without further research into the location.
As I started with, I think Dronescene is a superbly useful tool and I’ve used it on many occasions to find potential locations. But if you’re creating a post, and don’t know or aren’t sure about permissions, please do help the community and try and make this clear.
It is only a tool though and OS maps will give you public footpaths, laybys etc.
I combine them all. Plan a walk and take the drone. Take the drone to a layby and don’t bother walking… its all in the maps!
First I have to say I use Drone Scene much more than I contribute to it.
It’s impossible — even if every contributor was kind to add 100% complete and accurate info — to say to anybody referencing information on Drone Scene, “you absolutely 100% can fly here,” because everybody’s circumstances are different. It may give people a false sense of entitlement and security.
Each flight I make, I may draw on the great resource that is Drone Scene, but there are other factors that come in to play, many of which vary. Landowner’s permission plays a part, but also can I get there, what about parking or walkable from public transport? Which drone, time of year, weather, is the Sun going work with me or against me? Can I setup and take off without an audience? Can I identify alternative landing locations? Is my skill level good enough? How would it look if I had to answer to an authority about the decisions leading up to my flight?
I use DroneScene, but not in isolation. Everybody’s different, each person’s risk assessment will be different. If DroneScene says it’s okay it might not be.
It’s a good resource — it brought me to GADC — but for every location, one must do further research, and even when that research suggests things may be okay, a long journey may still lead to a disappointment in that it might not turn in to a successful flight at that location.
Very happy to hear yours and other member’s voices on this.
Personally, and I’m sure this thread will get moved to the dedicated DroneScene section is a ‘flag this location’ button where you could report to admins that the data is out of date. You can then have a discussion (argument) with an admin on what needs editing/removing.
Of course there is the GADC thread for the location. Broadway Tower/Derwant Dam good examples of recent locations where things have changed somewhat since the original posting or more information has come to light.
Another feature request, that may be impossible to implement is that ‘trusted’ (people that stick around GADC and contribute) people local to an area say within a 20 mile radius can edit locations within their remit to keep the original entry as up to date as possible.
All edits would need to be moderated by an admin to ensure no sabotage is taking place or someone is being a bit too snowflaky.
Requests for locations to be deleted would need to be agreed by at least the majority of the admin team and and local expert(s)
I mean anything within 20 miles from me I’d be happy to drive out too and check it’s up to date by request. Maybe a bit like a local council and road repairs, certain locations would need to be flagged to be checked every 3 years if no one has posted to the thread to ensure it’s still accessible.
Dronescene is fine as it is, it’s up to the pilot to check where they intend to fly especially if they’re making a special/long journey to it. The details can be out of date the day after it was posted.
Seriously? I simply wanted to raise what I and others see as a potential issue. And you quote reply with a snarky comment. Let’s be more than this.
I think if we had issues and complaints en masse then it would be looked at.
But a couple over many thousands of clicks ?
a sat nav would be a good example. roads change all the time and the sat nav doesn’t keep up. if your sat nav directed you off the edge of a cliff would you willingly drive off the edge? Just because your sat nav said there is a bridge there to cross? but you can clearly see its no longer there?
its a tool/reference/guide nothing more. keeping it 100% upto date and accurate would be a mammoth task and as stated above a location can change the following day after its been added.
Devils advocate, apps like Waze allow a user to made modifications and they get implemented pretty quickly. Dronescene allowing user edits is advantageous in that regard as I doubt many people click onto the GADC discussion threads from the entry. I appreciate its not that simple and to compare dronescene to Waze which makes a ton from advertising is also not the same.
I don’t think the idea should get shot down however simply because ‘that’s the way it’s always been’
So I’ve worked on crowd sourcing data projects before and it does seem to me that having some way that the entries can be updated would be good. The data will always have to come with a warning that it’s the users responsibility to check - as said, “a location can change the following day after its been added”. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t try to make sure the information is as useful as it can be.
We’d want to think carefully about ideas - we don’t want to end up making lots of work for the people running the site for little or no benefit.
Before we start thinking about what could be done, can we be clear how it works currently?
So currently you fill in the “add location” form on Dronescene - Where can I fly my drone in the UK? - Error - I guess this goes into some kind of database and a post is made in the Where to fly your drone in the UK - Grey Arrows Drone Club UK category automatically for you? Is it moderated or does it appear straight away? Is there any way to edit any entry at the moment?
the sat nav doesn’t keep up.
Actually any decent sat nav company does try and keep up and will issue regular updates - tho as said, Dronescene is very diffrent to a sat nav company or Waze so it’s not a direct comparison.
I never use dronescene simply because of the above issue. As said the permissions are incorrect in most cases, there are certain places on there which you are highly likely to get some form of aggro if you fly them.
Do you use it with the locations layer unticked or just not us it all ?
How do you research where to fly out of curiosity, do you always gain landowners permission for TOAL ?
This is very important and thank you @DaveJaVu for bringing it up
When adding a location people should tag as appropriate
As well as the important
Dronescene is a guide, use it as a guide, not a bible. For the little that my opinion is worth, Dronescene when used as a guide is perfect as is.
All the other apps you use for weather, flight info etc. are just guides, even Drone Assist is not 100% accurate all the time.
Personally I think @DeanoG60 and @Diveuk have nailed it by saying it’s a reference tool and should be used as such. The site should not be used as a defence to the authorities if you get yer collar felt.
It is a pity that Drone Scene can’t exploit its data gathering so the admin can somehow be rewarded for their efforts. Even a “buy me a coffee” style token gesture would be adopted by most members I’m sure.
For Dronescene to add permissions (required or not) would 1) require a insane amount of work and 2) Would likely be out of date within days. As a few have already pointed out, it is a guide nothing more, it is not and never will be a comprehensive map showing you where you can and cannot fly, no matter where you choose to look, along with permissions required (or not)… Just look at OS, just think how many years they have been around, mapping just the UK alone and all the detail they cram in. Sure it would be amazing to have a system, that could inform you categorically, depending on the drone you are flying, whether it is legal and whether you need any specific permissions. but with things as they are right now, that just doesn’t exist.
For me, I have a sub 250 DJI Mini 2, so apart from certain restricted areas, that are well documented. I can for the most part, fly my drone wherever I want and I tend to fly in places where very few people ever go and the few that I do see (walkers, people with their dogs, cyclists, horse riders) hardly ever notice there is a drone in the air and if they do, they don’t give it much thought. No more than they would any other aircraft flying in the area…and that’s the thing, if we can only educate the public sufficiently, these little drones will simply be nothing more than another aircraft, joining the dozens they are likely to see every day, from commercial jets, private planes, light aircraft, police / rescue helicopters, military, hot air balloons, paragliders etc
For me it all comes down to common sense at the end of the day, though common sense is severely lacking in the world, but that’s another story
For me dronescene tends to be an idea giver more than anything else, with the added bonus of being able to check both DJI and actual airspace restrictions in one place.
At no point have i checked the permission status as like said it could change, and that is my responsibility to check.
Dronescene is a tool, and a great one at that, but bottom line is that it’s the operator’s responsiblity to fly safely. If you were pulled for doing something wrong you’d be no more likely to get away with it by saying ‘Dronescene said it’s Ok to fly here’ than you would if you were caught speeding and your excuse was ‘but my speedometer goes up to 200mph’. If I add a location I’ll usually mark it as ‘Landowner permission requirements unknown’ and leave it up to the user to decide.
Suggestion 1: Looking at the comments so far, it seems people don’t really use the “landowners permission” feature, don’t trust the data and aren’t keen to work on it … in that case, should it just be removed?
Suggestion 2: Interesting point … Can we do anything to encourage clicking through? Maybe a box something like:
This way if anyone does have more up to date information about a location, they can add it directly to the thread - something we are all quite happy doing already and requiring no extra dev work.
The text in the box encourages people to click through and see all the posts, which means:
- they see the latest info
- people who mainly browse the map are also encouraged to look at the forum
Of course, anyone can post a comment to a thread - as many people correctly point out, the reader should always verify the information themselves. But that’s already true, so no change there.