LMB adds drones as tool for land survey

January 26, 2018

January 26, 2018

The Land Management Bureau (LMB) recently issued LMB Memorandum Circular (LMC) No. 2017-003 adopting the alternative use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, in conducting land surveys, effective today, January 26.

The Philippines is one of the pioneers in Asia to use drones for land surveying, and subsequently for land titling and registration.

After a series of studies conducted by LMB together with UP Department of Geodetic Engineering (UP DGE), drones provide more accurate information on land parcels through high-resolution aerial photos while still meeting the government’s survey accuracy standards. Drones can cover huge areas in a shorter period of time compared to the traditional survey instruments, making surveying and mapping more efficient. IT can also speed up surveys at a more affordable cost which may result in an increased number of titles issued per year. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) statistics, an average of 166,000 lots is titled annually for the past 11 years.

Ortho-image of a portion of Agusan del Sur Government Center taken by DJI Phantom 4 Advance drone


The LMC indicates that the drones to be used for land surveying should e calibrated and registered first by LMB through its Geodetic Surveys Division. The flights must also conform to the current regulations of Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) – the government agency responsible for implementing policies on civil aviation to assure safe and efficient air travel – in terms of the rights, restrictions, and responsibilities while in operation.

The acceptance and processing of surveys returns from UAS-obtained parcel should be compatible with existing Land Administration and Management System (LAMS) Inspection, Verification and Approval of Surveys (IVAS) procedures under DENR Administrative Order No. 2016-01, entitled “Adoption of Digital Land Survey Data (DLSD) Lodgment as a Standard Format for the Submission and Exchange of Survey Data in Digital Form under the Land Administration and Management System (LAMS)”, consistent with DAO No. 2007-29, entitled “Revised Regulations on Land Surveys”, DAO No. 2010-18, entitled “Improving Managing of Land Information Through the Adoption of LAMS”.

Meanwhile, all the standards and guidelines for operating a drone are found in LMB Technical Bulletin No. 2 series of 2017 – the technical guidelines complementing the LMC.

The policy, standards, and guidelines on the use of drones are consistent with the existing DENR policies in upgrading survey and mapping practices using modern techniques and technologies.

The issuance of LMC is a result of a 2-year collaboration among LMB, The Asia Foundation, Foundation for Economic Freedom, and UP DGE. The project aims to address the poor titling situation in the Philippines by promoting policies, partnerships, and technologies.


By Isabel Almenteros