Are the Outputs Derived from “Drone or UAS Survey” May be Used in Land Titling in the Philippines?

RATIONALE:

The practice of Geodetic Engineering Profession, although technical in nature, is governed by laws, rules and regulations, administrative orders and memorandum circulars.

The emergence or existence of the cutting edge technology in the field of surveying and its quick adoption by the Geodetic Engineers is indeed for the advancement of knowledge and the practice of the Geodetic Engineering Profession.

However, we should not be overwhelmed by the technology and jumped immediately into its application. But instead, we should first put an emphasis on the theory, concept and principle of the said technology.

Moreover, we should first also look at the laws, rules and regulations, administrative orders and circulars issued by the government agencies concerned applicable to the new or existing technology.

This will prevent misconceptions and misinterpretations in applying the existing technology, the so called “drone or UAS survey”.

Are the outputs derived from “drone or UAS survey” may be used in the land titling of surveyed lots using the said technology?

LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS, ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS AND CIRCULARS APPLICABLE TO “DRONE OR UAS SURVEY”

  1. Republic Act No. 9497 – “Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008
  2. Republic Act No. 8560 as amended by Republic Act No. 9200 “Philippine Geodetic Engineering Act of 1998”
  3. a. DENR Administrative Order No. 2007 – 29 –“Revised Regulations on Land Surveys”
    b. DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2010- 13 – “Adoption of the Manual on Land Survey Procedure
    c. LMB Memorandum Circular No. 2017- 003 – “Adoption on the Alternative Use of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) in the Conduct of Land Survey.
    d. LMB Technical Bulletin No. 2, Series of 2017 – “Guidelines on the Use of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) in Support of Land Survey

OFFICIAL DESIGNATIONS OR TERMS FOR DRONE, UAV AND UAS UNDER R.A. 9497

In the Philippines, under Republic Act 9497, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has the jurisdiction over the regulation of the technical, operational and safety of the aviation

Under the said law:

Aerial work refers to an aircraft operation in which an aircraft is used for specialized services such as agriculture, construction, photography, surveying and other services.

Under Part 11 of the Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations (PCAR), it provides:

Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) is unmanned aircraft which is piloted from a remote pilot station.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) is a remotely piloted aircraft, its associated remote pilot stations, the required command and control links and any other components as specified in the type design.

The terms RPA and RPAS are in accordance with the international aviation-related agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which is a specialized agency of the United Nations.

THE APPLIED SCIENCE IN DRONE OR UAS SURVEY UNDER R.A. 8560 AS AMENDED BY R.A. 9200

The practice of the geodetic engineering profession is governed by the “Philippine Geodetic Engineering Law” or Republic Act 8560, as amended by Republic Act 9200.

Under the said law:

The practice of the Geodetic Engineering is a professional and organized act of gathering physical data on the surface of the earth with the use of precise instruments.

It is also the scientific and methodical processing of these data and presenting them on graphs, plans, maps, charts or documents.

One of the surveying and mapping works of the geodetic engineer is the conduct of photogrammetric survey and technical preparation of its survey plans.

Two (2) of the subjects covered by the Geodetic Engineering Board Examination are:

  1. Theory and Practice of Surveying – Photogrammetry
  2. Cartography -Plotting and Mapping of Photogrammetric Survey

BASIC CONCEPTS OF PHOTOGRAMMETRY

In essence, photogrammetry is a science of making measurements from photographs.
Surveying is a procedure where measurements are usually made directly on the object in the field.
In Photogrammetry, the object is first recorded through photographs and the measurements are done later on.

Three (3) classifications of Photogrammetry:

  1. Terrestrial Photogrammetry
  2. Aerial Photogrammetry
  3. Space Photogrammetry

Before, in Aerial Photogrammetry, a high precision camera is mounted in an airplane (manned aircraft) and multiple overlapping photographs are being taken as the airplane flies over the terrain.

The said photos are processed in a large instrument called stereo-plotters or other instruments.

When RPAs (unmanned aircrafts) were introduced, it replaced the airplanes (manned aircrafts).

Hence, by using RPAS (consisting of RPA, sensors, GNNS/ RTK receiver, communication link and softwares) gathering and measuring data through photos have become inexpensive, economical and less labor-intensive.

More importantly, the turnaround of Aerial Photogrammetry using RPAS technology became very much faster than the manned surveying done in the past.

PHOTOGRAMMETRY AND ISOLATED SURVEYS UNDER DENR ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 2007-29 “REVISED REGULATIONS ON LAND SURVEYS”

DENR Administrative Order No. 2007-29 provides:

Section 21. Types of Survey Instruments.

The following instruments shall be used in the conduct of surveys for the issuance of land patent, leases, adjudication of titles and for other administrative or judicial purposes:

b. Aerial photogrammetric instruments which are used in aerial triangulation, compilation and feature extraction using aerial photograph high-precision cameras mounted on an aircraft

Section 36. Types of Maps

e. Photo Map – shall be a continuous representation of the ground obtained by assembling together individual photographs taken from an aircraft, into a composite picture, scale and the effects of tilt are corrected, shall be known as Orthophoto Map.

Section 64. Isolated Surveys- Survey returns for the different kinds of surveys shall be submitted to the LMS for verification and approval.

Isolated Surveys:

  1. Public Land Subdivision (PLS)
  2. Group Settlement Survey (GSS)
  3. Townsite Subdivision Survey (TS)
  4. Survey of Public Lands (H, F, S, Csd, Ccn and Ccs)
  5. Private Land Surveys (Psd, Pcn and Pcs) and other surveys

ISOLATED SURVEY PLANS UNDER DENR MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 2010-13 “ADOPTION OF THE MANUAL ON LAND SURVEY PROCEDURES”

DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2010 -13 provides:

Section 180. All plans of isolated surveys which shall be used for administrative or judicial registration purposes shall be drawn on the LMB prescribed survey plan format.

SURVEY PLAN UNDER LMB MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 2017-003 –“ADOPTION ON THE ALTERNATIVE USED OF UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEM UAS IN THE CONDUCT OF LAND SURVEY”

LMB Memorandum Circular No. 2017-003 provides:

Section 6.1 Preparation of Survey Returns. The following maps/documents files shall form part of the required survey returns that shall be submitted by Geodetic Engineers (GE) for IVAS.:

6.1.1 Survey Plan. The survey plan shall be plotted using the prescribed LMB form pursuant to Section 180, DMC 2010-13

LMB PRESCRIBED SURVEY PLAN FORMAT

OVERLAY OF THE SCALED ORTHOPHOTO TO THE LMB PRESCRIBED SURVEY PLAN FORMAT

The overlaid orthophoto map on the LMB prescribed survey plan format shall be used for computerized projection and for future reference.

Hence, the following can be deduced:

  1. The LMB Memorandum Circular No. 2017- 003 provides that the LMB prescribed survey plan format shall still be used for administrative or judicial registration purposes and not the Orthophoto Map.
  2. The output derived from “UAS survey” which is the Orthophoto Map is used for verification, projection and reference purposes only.

SETTING THE PERMANENT POSITION OF LOT CORNERS UNDER DENR MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 2010-13- “ADOPTION OF THE MANUAL ON LAND SURVEY PROCEDURES”

DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2010-13 provides:

Section 126, Section 127 and Section 128:

  1. All parcels of land to be surveyed shall be tied to the nearest known reference points such as Geodetic Control Monuments, BLBMs and BLLMs and other reference points.
  2. If the said reference points are lost and cannot be located or found to be disturbed, lot corner monuments of approved surveys can be used as reference points.
  3. Recovered lot corners of approved surveys can be considered as reference points when at least three (3) well defined, permanent, undisturbed and with high degree of positional accuracy can be established on the ground.
  4. Common point shall then be selected among the said lot corners to determine the relative position between the survey in progress and the previously approved surveys.
  5. When the position of the recovered corners is equal to and does not exceed 10 centimeters, the coordinates of the selected common point shall be accepted and adopted as the position of the subsequent surveys.

Indubitably, the detailed survey procedures in setting the permanent position of lot corners are crucial and indispensable in order to avoid the following:

  1. Overlapping of surveys;
  2. Surveys with gap and;
  3. Ill-positioned surveys.

ESTABLISHMENT OF BOUNDARY POINTS AND STAKE-OUT ACTIVITIES UNDER LMB TECHNICAL BULLETIN NO.2 , SERIES OF 2017- “GUIDELINES ON THE USE OF UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEM (UAS) IN SUPPORT OF LAND SURVEY”

LMB Technical Bulletin No. 2, Series of 2017 provides:

A.4.1.8 IVAS Pre-requisites for Geodetic Engineers:

In the conduct of survey using UAS the following pre-requisites must be considered by the Geodetic Engineer:

a. UAS survey can be used if boundary points are placed on the ground prior to UAS data acquisition. These include but not limited to cadastral survey, original survey and verification survey.

b. Survey processes that require stake-out activities may not be possible using UAS. These include but not limited to relocation survey or subdivision survey.

Hence, the following can be deduced:

  1. The “drone or UAS survey” is not capable of performing old approved surveys adjustment in setting the permanent position of lot corners to avoid overlapping of surveys, surveys with gap and ill-positioned surveys.
  2. The “drone or UAS survey” can be employed only if the boundary corners or markers are being first established on the ground before the data can be acquired by the said application.
  3. The “drone or UAS survey” is not applicable where a survey process requires setting of monuments or markers of the corners of the boundaries and the subdivision lots

Therefore, considering the above discussions, we may finally conclude that:

  1. The outputs derived from “drone or UAS surveying” which is the Orthophoto Map cannot be used as a basis for land titling in the Philippines.
  2. The non-applicability of the “drone and UAS Survey” in old surveys adjustments and setting of permanent position of lot corners of Isolated Surveys cannot be used as a basis for land titling in the Philippines.

Nevertheless, we should continue to acquire more knowledge and adopt the RPAS technology in Aerial Photogrammetry since there are many applications in other industries that are beneficial and profitable to our profession, such as:

  1. Topographic Survey and preparation of Topographic Survey;
  2. Mineral and Mining Surveys and preparation of Mining Plan;
  3. Engineering and Construction Surveys;
  4. Agriculture;
  5. Real Estate;
  6. Urban Planning and many other services.