Nunavut Arctic UAV, a made-in-Nunavut aerial imaging provider, is hoping to train more people to fly drones in communities across the territory thanks to a partnership with C-Astral and the Arctic Perspective Initiative (API).

“We’ve trained about 10 to 12 UAV pilots, but the interest is so high we should branch out,” said Arctic UAV chief executive officer Kirt Ejesiak.

API is dedicated to creating access to the technology and enabling sustainable development of autonomous culture, traditional knowledge, science, technology and education opportunities for people in the North.

Ejesiak notes that the applications for UAV data collection are numerous: the film industry, tourism, climate change monitoring and even caribou monitoring. He figures the technology and know-how should be in the communities, offering employment and small business opportunities.

“We see this as the future,” said Ejesiak. “It’s a great opportunity for folks in the communities to do something that can earn a decent wage.”

Regarding caribou, communities can collect their own data via aerial surveys.

“I think that’s always the dilemma between communities and governments – who is presenting the data and how are they interpreting it. I think it’s critical for the data to be in the hands of the communities. Then we can have a rational conversation,” said Ejesiak.

The first training program will take place in Iqaluit this spring, and the partnership will branch out to interested communities.

– Michele LeTourneau