Dayaks and Drones - The Movie


Dear All,

Just returned back from the field and somehow one of our works is documented and filmed. This work is part of our larger research on the political-ecology of river in Borneo where land-use change and forest change is part of the research. The lack of the reliable, high-resolution and accessible map for the local communities, NGOs even for governmental offices at local level has been one of the problem contributing to the mess of spatial planning in Indonesia which has lead to the land-tenure conflicts and deforestation. We were at some places in Indonesia to do our research on understanding this rapid transformation and part of it is using DIY drones (we call it MaTA, it is the shortening of UAV in Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesia), while it means also The Eyes).

The film is called "Dayaks and Drones" and as far as I understand it has been screened during the Indigenous People meeting in New York last September (I was still in the rainforest by that time :)). Dayaks are the indigenous communities living in Borneo (Indonesia and Malaysia). There are hundreds of Dayak sub-tribes thus hundreds of completely different languages. The Dayaks are the people well-known as the Forest Farmers and Forest Protectors (they use forest and its surrounding wisely). They prefer to live in the upstream of the river deep down in the forest and they usually live in a longhouse (consists of several "apartments" ). They have their customary laws to protect their customary forest. One of the Dayak sub-tribes, The Iban, is well-known by their tattoo culture, one of the most beautiful in the world.

We will continue our mission again early next year and this time still some (lots) of works in Borneo but we also will go to Papua and Sumatera where the forest (and of course the people and other species) are also having high-pressure from some expansions of various activities. We work together and established what we call at the moment as "Community Drones" where we teach mostly the young people of the local communities how to develop and use the drones and the maps / video they get to protect their area/forest/ecosystem in the way with  more detail, more accurate and more accessible spatial data. At the moment we use both multicopter (sometimes the forest is just too dense) and fixed-wing.

We would definitely like to thanks this forum for all the inspirations and spirits and knowledge of course also to some people that have been keen on supporting in many ways : Chris of 3D, Ed (Peace Drone is an amazing airframe! we will use it for sure), Conservation Drone, Nguyen (for helping a lot with the FX-61 settings), Flight Riot (for the amazing amount of information in mapping with UAV).

Thanks again,



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  • @ Larry: Thanks for the visit and the comments. It's always inspiring to share spirits with others here. Thanks !

    @ Trung Nguyen: Thanks lot! wow! I (we) owe you lot for your patience supporting us setting up the FX61 for mapping. Although it didn't ended up like your setting, but it flies great and long enough to get enough data. Thanks Trung, it's always inspiring to share here and next year the works will expand to Southeast Asian region, hopefully the boys (and girls) on the field can learn fast and lots :).

    @ Jake: Thanks for visiting! Yes Jake FX61 is amazing and 'small' enough to be carried to the field yet "powerful" enough to obtain reliable and accurate data for quite a large area. Credit goes to Trung Nguyen who has inspired us to use FX61. At the moment, due to our limited access to funding, we have to try to build the airframe on our own and try to use whatever we have around (but it is a good way on learning and teaching the others I guess :)). So we are trying to go further with Ansley Peace Drone (or Synapse) for the airframe of Ed from Experimental Airlines. Wow, you have been in Borneo! I hope next time you will be there you can still benefit from the existing rainforest. Thanks again Jake for your spirits and I'll keep you all updated (we will work not only in Borneo next year but also in other islands and countries in Southeast Asia, first :)). Best

  • Great work,good to see a positive use of rc aircraft,like my own FX61.I visited Borneo many years ago when my brother lived there,he worked at the Telisai Satellite earth station.

    A beautiful country ,and hopefully your work will help the villagers protect the rain forest from illegal activities.

  • 100KM

    Rai, thanks for posting.  Kudos to the team on the excellent video.  It's great to see your work starting to bear fruit.  How inspiring to think that a small team with modest resources can play a critical role in shaping the - hopefully sustainable & responsible - development of that region.

  • Thanks for posting. I love to see work that features the positive uses of flying drone technology. 

  • Rai, thanks for the kind words. We would be happy to collaborate if there would be an opportunity to do so.

  • @ Swift, thanks lot. Hope to involve as many 'responsible' local pilots as possible.

    @ Serge wooaaaahhh thanks for your comments and for the spirits from Conservation Drones! I (we) learned (and owe) a lot from you guys, thanks and hope to be able to collaborate sometimes.

    @ Azri , thanks for stopping by neighbor! The fire is mostly from Sumatera (as almost little forest left in Java). Although some cases in East, Central and West Kalimantan might also be the sources. Looking forward to be able to come to Brunei!

  • Great work! I live in Brunei (one of 3 countries in the Island of Borneo) and we occasionally get suffocated by smoke from the forest fires lit either accidentally or deliberately. These fires originate not just in Borneo but from the nearby islands of Sumatera and Java.
  • Great work!

  • Dear John,

    Thanks and thank to this forum to us all here who have been the inspirations behind and providing lots of knowledge and information. Sorry for the English mistakes I have made in the text. We definitely will continue and definitely not limited only to Indonesia as this is our environment, as you said John. Best regards

  • A very well-made film. Thank you for your efforts to help minimize decline in our environment.

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