#SheIsEmirati: Dubai's first female drone pilot has been chasing bird's-eye views since childhood
Her dream came true last year when she was announced as Dubai's first female Emirati drone pilot specialised in 3D mapping in Dubai.
In the UAE - a country that champions gender equality - women are leaders, heroes, trailblazers and an inspiration. In the lead up to Emirati Women's Day that's marked on August 28, this 5-part Khaleej Times special celebrates how women brave the odds to make a difference; turn dreams into reality; and help drive the nation into the future. The last part of the series features Maitha Ali AlKhayyal Alnuaimi who droned on to pursue her dreams.
For many, flying a drone would be a simple fascination. But UAE national Maitha Ali AlKhayyal Alnuaimi has been chasing bird's-eye views since childhood. Her dream came true last year when she was announced as Dubai's first female Emirati drone pilot specialised in 3D mapping in Dubai.
"I have always been a fan of aerial photography. Since I was about 12 years old, I was fascinated by overhead shots covering a large landscape of space that would give a sense of geography and provide a sense of scale. But at that time, no one knew about drones and I would wonder how such shots were taken. By the time drones arrived, I had reached high school and I was instantly fired up to use this technology and do something to serve my country," she said.
Maitha graduated with distinction from the United Arab Emirates University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in geographic information system (GIS). She began working on a number of major projects at the Dubai Municipality, dealing with geospatial data.
"I knew I had to work harder and leverage my skills in order to grow and significantly contribute in the progress of my country. So I worked hard on different kinds of projects using drones for collecting geospatial data. These aerial surveys were conducted as part of GIS and we have established a team at the GIS centre focused only on producing high resolution imagery from these drones," she said. "My hard work paid off last year after I graduated from the National Programme of Artificial Intelligence with a diploma in artificial intelligence."
Maitha said she obtained her professional licence as a drone pilot from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority after going through an intensive training. "There were times when I even sacrificed my vacations and social get-togethers just so I could study and work on my projects to get certification of becoming a specialised drone pilot. Working with the Dubai Municipality gave me access to specialised drones that gave me the opportunity to collect a lot of data of and around Dubai."
Maitha now works as the Geographic Information Network section manager at the municipality. She said she feels "privileged, happy and proud" to be an Emirati woman as the country's "wise leadership has always encouraged women to aim high and gave them equal opportunities and incentives as their male counterparts".
"I have always enjoyed full support from my family and they encouraged me to overcome any kind of challenges from a young age. And this is how I am living my dream now as a professional 3D drone pilot. The only challenge I can say I faced was the long working hours under the sun, but I didn't much mind it because I love what I do and this was something I always wanted to do."
Urging Emirati women to pursue their dreams, Maitha said: "Our leaders have always encouraged and supported women to accomplish their dreams and have opened all doors of opportunities. So I would advise every Emirati woman to work hard and follow their dreams and goals."
The man will be deported after completing one-year jail sentence. READ MORE
The erring outlets were detected during 257 inspections launched in... READ MORE
The 18-year-old Indian teenager's story gained much attention in... READ MORE
Customers will be able to get access to fantastic products at great... READ MORE
Police advise motorists to drive with caution during fog. READ MORE
Motorists in Abu Dhabi were also reminded to stick to the 80kmph... READ MORE
The police will spare no efforts to deter the violators READ MORE
Investigation revealed the woman was suffering from serious... READ MORE