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Universities Offer New Courses on UAV Technology for Geospatial Applications

Peg Shippert

If you have been paying attention to recent developments in the geospatial industry, you have no doubt noticed the increasing interest in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Systems or UAS/UAV. Sometimes called "drones", especially when used in military contexts, UAV technology is being introduced to collect imagery data for applications ranging from precision agriculture to search and rescue operations.

In recognition of the potential of this emerging technology,the University of Denver's GIS program is currently offering perhaps the first graduate-level course in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for geospatial applications. As Steven Hick, GIS Directory at University of Denver explains,"[emerging UAV technology] is a game changer in how we do business and data collection."

The University of Denver's course description indicates a focus on the intricacies of data collection via UAV, including basic aviation, safety, and mission planning. DU says that a follow-up course on Digital Image Processing (perhaps covering processing of imagery collected via UAV as well as more traditional remotely sense imagery)  is scheduled for the fall quarter.

The University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) is offering a similar course called "Unmanned Airspace Systems (UAS)" this fall,which sounds like it may be slightly broader in its reach. The course is hosted by the Geomatics Engineering and Geographic Information Systems program and will be taught by Jeff Cozart. Similar to the University of Denver course,the CU course will focus on mission planning, and UAS operations, and will also cover data processing and analysis as well as legal, ethical and economic implications of using drones.

Jeff Cozart with an unmanned aerial system operated by the University of Colorado Denver's Geomatics and GIS program.

UAV/UAS technology is here to stay in the geospatial industry. It's good to see universities introducing opportunities to add skills unique to this new paradigm in geospatial technology.

What would you like to see covered in courses about imagery collection via UAV/UAS?

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