Paid FAA to register your hobby drone? Here’s how to claim a refund

Remember the December 2015 rule set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that required all drone hobbyists in the United States to register their UAVs in the national database and pay a $5 fee? The one which not only allowed the FAA to impose a fine on the non-conformists but also to press criminal charges against them and put them in jail? The one which ultimately drove more than 820,000 drone enthusiasts to give their personal information and money to the FAA, making the agency richer by some $4 million? The one which a US appeals court struck down in May this year because it violated the rules set for model aircraft by the FAA itself in its Modernization and Reform Act of 2012?

So, with the court invalidating the registration requirements, a lot of people who were flying drones just for fun were wondering how to take themselves off the FAA database. And what was going to happen to their money anyway? Well, the FAA has now clarified that it is allowing drone owners to delete the data they have provided to the agency, and apply for a refund. To do so, simply take a print out of this form, fill it and mail it to the FAA.

To be eligible for the claim, you would need to certify that your drone is being flown strictly for hobby or recreational use in accordance with community-based safety guidelines. Also, the drone must weigh 55 pounds or less, and must not interfere in the operations of a manned aircraft. For the full set of guidelines, see Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act here.

To be clear, if you are operating a drone for commercial purposes, you would still need to register with the FAA. In any case, the agency is encouraging operators to stay registered voluntarily. And there’s a solid reason behind that. The contentious 2012 law is set to expire in September, after which the FAA is likely to urge the Congress to give it more authority to enforce drone registration. With almost 3.5 million small drones expected to be flying in the US skies by 2021, it is likely that the FAA will get what it wants to boost accountability and responsibility among the users.

Are you going to deregister and claim the refund? We’d love to know your view on this!

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The Mobility Space Report: How much space do car parks take up in our cities?

How much space do car parks occupy in our cities? A quick Google search for the question returns 27 million results, and if you were to scroll through the first page, you get the impression that our cities have way too much parking spaces than necessary. But what does the view from the sky tell us? How much space do they actually occupy?

The Mobility Space Report 

Moovel Lab‘s latest project “What the Street?!” provides a fascinating insight into how urban space is allocated in different cities across the world including Berlin, New York City, Tokyo and Stuttgart (where they have their office) among others.

The concept of “arrogance of space” and how unequally (road) space is being divided in favor of cars isn’t new. What’s interesting is the algorithmic approach that Moovel Labs has taken to highlight the disparity between the different modes of transportation in our cities.

In “What the Street?!”, their team analyzed data from OpenStreetMap to identify streets, railway tracks, parking spaces, bike lanes and dedicated parking for bikes and Instead of creating a “boring” map highlighting the different areas of interest, Moovel’s team, took a rather interesting approach to visualizing all the data by packing parking lots tightly together and rolling up streets and tracks! The resulting visualizing is awesome and of course, you can click on a particular space and visualize its location on a map.

The Mobility Triangle 

Another cool aspect of the report is the mobility triangle that highlights the difference between the different modes of transport people use and how much space is allocated for each mode (Read: How to interpret the mobility triangle).

The Mobility Space Report is #geoawesome and highly recommend that you check it out. If you have some time to kill, try guessing where each of these parking spaces is located in the world!

Guessing the location of Parking lots

More Details and Source Code

If you are interested in learning more about the technical details of the project, check out their blog post. The team also made the source code of the project available under the MIT license, if you’d like to take a deeper look into their algorithms (Moovel’s GitHub).

Currently, What the Street?! is available for Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Boston, Budapest, Chicago, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York City, Portland, Rome, San Francisco, Singapore, Stuttgart, Tokyo, Vienna. Considering that the source code of the project is freely available, you can use it to generate a report of your city.

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