Bristol Mapup

Last night was the inaugural Bristol Mapup – Organised by Wilfred Waters.

Wil is a mapping expert, having worked as a geospatial analyst since 2008: first in Australia, then Cambodia, Kuwait and Qatar. He has been published in the Journal of Spatial Information Science (JOSIS) and has founded “mapups” in each of these countries. Having recently moved to Bristol, this new spot would be no exception.

What’s a Mapup?



noun : mapup; plural noun: mapups

1. an assembly of people who work or have interest in the Geospatial sector, especially for a relaxed discussion to share ideas and experiences.

Mapups are set up to discuss the past, present and future of maps – with topics covering everything from historical expeditions, to modern mapping technology, to the philosophical debates around the power of maps.

Geospatial forums such as this one offer a unique opportunity for enthusiasts, experts and business leaders to keep up with the latest trends in mapping.

Wil invited DronePrep along to his first Bristol Mapup after finding us through Engine Shed – we have been fortunate enough to be affiliated with Engine Shed (An event venue, office, and coworking space in Bristol) through Geovation DronePrep was on Cohort 8 of the Geovation Accelerator Programme, backed by Ordnance Survey and HM Land Registry, which is currently open for applications!

There’s an incredible community of geospatial fans, software engineers, startups founders and creators in both hubs – definitely worth looking into if you want to learn more about GeoTech startup life.

It was a relaxed, sunny and very windy(!) evening on the terrace overlooking the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, with some excellent GeoChat.

Topics included; how we got the idea for our business, product or project, which ones we’re particularly proud of, how we raised capital / got the idea off the ground and really importantly, the viability of the geospatial startup scene in Bristol. 

“It’s really important for us to keep up to date with the latest and greatest in GeoTech as we plan, scope and deliver on our own software enhancements. The DronePrep Map is a new product, but we’ve big plans for new features and additional products.”

Big thanks to Wil for the invite – we’re very much looking forward to the next mapup!


Are you working in the Geospatial industry or have a keen interest? Do you live/ work in or near Bristol? Get in touch and join us at the next mapup.

DronePrep joins Microsoft for Startups programme

We are delighted to announce that DronePrep has been accepted onto the Microsoft for Startups Programme.

Microsoft for Startups is a global program dedicated to helping startups successfully scale their companies by providing access to powerful technology including Azure and GitHub Enterprise coupled with a streamlined path to selling alongside Microsoft and our global partner ecosystem.

The recently launched, new DronePrep platform has been built using Microsoft technologies and we couldn’t be more excited to be working with Microsoft for Startups to enhance, grow and scale our software.

Kiplin Hall – Drone Access Policy

Kiplin Hall is currently operating an ad hoc Drone Access Policy during CV19 due but they are very much open to welcoming flying requests and ideas.

The new Drone Access Policy will be published later this month but in the meantime please do reach out to with any flying requests or ideas for Kiplin Hall to consider including in their Drone Access Policy.

Within the Kiplin Hall Drone Access Policy we are currently exploring a number of exciting ideas with the Kiplin Hall team to help the Drone Community fly whilst also helping Kiplin Hall Estate benefit from opening up parts of their estate for Drone use at different times.


  • At present we are defining Kiplin Hall’s Drone Access Policy to include:
  • A dedicated Flying Field for Hobbyists on the Estate away from Hall visitors
  • Out of Hours Flying Experiences
  • Ways for Pilots share their wonderful images of the Hall online with Kiplin Hall staff, interest groups and fans
  • How it might be possible to include Drone Flying as a perk of Kiplin Hall membership
  • Preparatory work to accommodate Flying Schools and Residentials (utilising accommodation/amenities on site)
  • Preparatory work at Kiplin Hall (and with Kiplin Hall’s neighbours) to potentially accommodate Drone Enterprise R&D briefs and/or larger flying envelopes for Drone Users
  • Ways to promote Kiplin Hall at a film/tv location.

Bristol City Council – Case Study

How DronePrep can support the Film Industry and help unlock new sites.

As we all stayed at home, protected the NHS and saved lives during lockdown; within our household this saw us spend a lot more time (than usual) in front the television, In embracing this change to the norm I can now admit this actually spurred a few new family games. The favourite of which soon became ‘Guess the Location’

 ‘Guess the Location’ …..A game where we flicked channels until we found a drone clip and then all had to shout out where we thought the shot had been taken.

With ample time reflect on wins and losses; it was amazing to discover how quite so how many mainstream programmes now relied on PfCO Pilots to visually position documentaries, housing shows, news items, dramas etc and with an engaged eye it was also wonderful to see some of our DronePrep community pilots listed in programme credits or see little hints of what was to come on all of your social media feeds.


It shouldn’t have come as a surprise but locations that we all shouted about in our house over and over during this period were in Bristol. After a fashion, shouting ‘Bristol’ became a safe early call tactic. It could win the entire ‘Guess the location game’ for whoever called it early.

During the game the glorious surrounds of Ashton Court, Arnos Vale Cemetery and Queen Square all featured heavily especially in the BBC’s adaptation of the Agatha Christie Novel ‘ The Pale Horse’ but on catch up there was Bristol again in Poldark, The Trial of Christine Keeler and His Dark Materials. 

There was also the delightful 4 parter ‘a House through time presented by David Olusoga’ which showed some truly remarkable aerial shots of the city – as week by week the residents of an 18th-century house in Bristol, uncovering stories of piracy, an abandoned baby, a notorious political writer and a runaway slave.

I did however have a rather unfair advantage; some of the sites where these shots had been taken had been sourced by the Bristol Film Office with the help of the BETA version of the DronePrep Platform. Needless to say I am reigning champion of Guess the Location.




Sourcing New Film Locations & Opening up Locations for all

Setting the clock back to the Summer of 2019 one of the earliest consultation exercises and collaborations DronePrep instigated included the good folk at Ordnance Survey, HM Land Registry, Geovation, Engine Shed and the Bristol Film Office.

I remember vividly our first day with the Film Office Manager as we explored together how we could harness the first interaction of the DronePrep platform we were building to help the Film Office and the Council communicate the right messages to different groups about drone use. 

At the time the Film Office recommended 20 sites within Bristol, owned by Bristol City Council, which it could be possible for production companies to utilise to shoot some amazing aerial vistas of the City.

On our first crunch of Bristol City Council land data within the DronePrep platform we discovered that the Council owned over 8,000 plots of land which were deemed large enough to facilitate drone flight. This was beyond the Film Office’s expectations and from the their perspective there were a number of brilliant unexpected sites on this list which would be perfect for film production companies. 

Together we managed to find new, never flown before sites. near Clifton and Brunel’s Iconic Suspension Bridge as well as new sites in Avonmouth, the City Centre and, obscurely, we even found places outside of Bristol which were owned by the Council such as Seaside Piers and Historic Homes.

As talks progressed we also realised that some of Bristol’s very large greenspaces, were so large, that they could be deemed as non-congested. It is typical for Urban Council’s to restrict all flying to hobbyists due to the 150m congested area rule but using DronePrep data we realised we could open up large sites for responsible use and thus help meet the latent demand for flying whilst helping to inform the community of where they can and cannot fly in Bristol.

Next Steps

Since we’ve launched the BETA version of DronePrep publicly last month we have had a number of enquiries for drone flights in Bristol. Recently some of our member community have collaborated with the Bristol Film Office to cover the Luke Jerram’s Flying Orchestra event from DronePrep locations and we’ve engaged with some more iconic locations within the City. We will bring your further news on those soon.

Kiplin Hall – Case Study

How Stately Home Drone Access Policies can open up new possibilities for Drone Pilots and Estate Managers.

Nestled between the North Yorkshire Moors and the Yorkshire Dales lies a little piece Englands Heritage, Kiplin Hall. 

Avid DronePrep fans will know that Kiplin Hall have been collaborating as one of our early adopter partners for some time and their innovative team can be credited with both their welcoming approach to drone pilots but also for embracing, and tapping into the growing Drone tourism market, in the UK.



The Hall, a fine example of Jacobian architecture and landscaped grounds, has stood proud for nearly 400 years and has many stories locked within its walls which the volunteers at Kiplin gamely share with delight on opening days.

Whilst many already flock to Kiplin Hall to engage with state-side ancestral links to Maryland (in the USA), to learn about the English Civil War or to learn about the how the Hall was saved and restored to is former glory by the team; the Not for Profit company which has the responsibility of maintaining and enhancing this national treasure have also innovated and diversified to ensure that visitor gate receipts can keep this grand old building relevant and accessible to all.

Bar a couple of exceptions Drones Flying for hobbyists is not yet permitted on National Trust or English Heritage sites however there are 1,600 independently owned Stately Homes which can made an independent decision on their Drone Access Policy. 

Kiplin Hall is amongst one of the first UK Stately Homes to explore the value of implementing and communicating a Drone Access Policy to enhance opportunities for their estate and tackle some of the risks presented by rogue drone use.

DronePrep have been working with Ordnance Survey, HM Land Registry, BetaDen and many others to to help pilots answer the question ‘Where can I fly my drone’ we’ve done this by mapping these constraints in the DronePrep map.

At the same time we are helping landowners (of all kinds) and conservation agencies understand and communicate what is, and isn’t acceptable, from their land via the drone access policies listed on our platform.

In many cases a balance can be struck which encourages opportunity for all through responsible flight.

In the last two years the DronePrep team have undertaken extensive research and consultation with both Drone Pilots and Landowners to help us understand more what could be done to open up opportunities for both groups. 

What we found –  Pilots

Quote ‘Pilots love Stately Homes and would follow a Drone Access Policy if it is visible and communicated to them effectively.’ 

There are 200,000 Hobbyist Drone Pilots in the UK. From the pilot’s perspective it is a rewarding hobby but knowing where you can, and can’t fly, historically has been a challenge.

There a number or interactions in low-level airspace to consider including urban area restrictions, bylaws, landowner permissions, SSSIs considerations which all need to navigated to fly legally, safely and compliantly. 

Stately Homes are typically set in spacious grounds and in theory many Stately Home locations offer the space to separate out different users to accommodate responsible drone flight and to indentify suitable flight paths away from other constraints. 

Like with other hobbies (such as photography, travel writing and heritage/history touring) drone pilots already tend to fall into these well established hobby and tourist groups and they essentially want access to the most celebrated buildings and landscapes in the UK to supplement their existing interest with their new drone hobby knowing that there imagery could help raise awareness, and showcase, where these beautiful places are to inspire others. 

What we found – Landowners

Stately Home / Estate owners have often reported a negative experience from a drone user that had flown over their estate without permission but also had more positive experiences from PfCO and good news outcomes from drone pilots who engaged directly.. 

When consulting with landowners we found consistency the following themes 

  • PfCO pilots had helped Stately Homes with marketing and maintenance jobs

  • Rogue / unplanned drone activity overhead attracted safety concern/privacy/nuisance complaints from paying guests, 

  • Rogue / unplanned drone activity overhead spooked livestock or impacted protected wildlife species

  • Rogue / unplanned drone activity caused anxiety – many landowners linked rogue drone use to rural crime events on the Estate or shared concerns about their liability in the event of a collision with building or person.

  • Landowners were seemingly unaware that the majority of the 200,000 strong Drone Hobbyist market were responsible and would adhere to Drone Access Policies if it was made visible to them

  • Landowners tend not to publicise their Drone Access Policy to the Drone Community

  • Landowners were unaware that Drone Access Policies could be designed to facilitate and integrate flying by responsible hobby drone pilots within their Estates

  • Stately Home Owners were largely unaware of the value of #DroneTourism and that Responsible Drone Pilots also tended to belong to the same audiences they wanted to attract to their premises 

  • Stately Home Owners were largely unaware that opportunities existed to supplement Estate Income via accommodating Drone Training, Drone Events, Commercial Drone Partnerships and Drone R&D projects.

Kiplin Hall

Kiplin Hall is currently operating an ad hoc Drone Access Policy during CV19 due but they are very much open to welcoming flying requests and ideas.  

The new Drone Access Policy will be published later this month but in the meantime please do reach out to with any flying requests or ideas for Kiplin Hall to consider including in their Drone Access Policy.

Within the Kiplin Hall Drone Access Policy we are currently exploring a number of exciting ideas with the Kiplin Hall team to help the Drone Community fly whilst also helping Kiplin Hall Estate benefit from opening up parts of their estate for Drone use at different times.

You can view the full policy from The DronePrep Map.