skip to main content

Title: Developing an Introductory UAV/Drone Mapping Training Program for Seagrass Monitoring and Research
Unoccupied Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drone technologies, with their high spatial resolution, temporal flexibility, and ability to repeat photogrammetry, afford a significant advancement in other remote sensing approaches for coastal mapping, habitat monitoring, and environmental management. However, geographical drone mapping and in situ fieldwork often come with a steep learning curve requiring a background in drone operations, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing and related analytical techniques. Such a learning curve can be an obstacle for field implementation for researchers, community organizations and citizen scientists wishing to include introductory drone operations into their work. In this study, we develop a comprehensive drone training program for research partners and community members to use cost-effective, consumer-quality drones to engage in introductory drone mapping of coastal seagrass monitoring sites along the west coast of North America. As a first step toward a longer-term Public Participation GIS process in the study area, the training program includes lessons for beginner drone users related to flying drones, autonomous route planning and mapping, field safety, GIS analysis, image correction and processing, and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification and regulations. Training our research partners and students, who are in most cases novice users, is the first step in more » a larger process to increase participation in a broader project for seagrass monitoring in our case study. While our training program originated in the United States, we discuss our experiences for research partners and communities around the globe to become more confident in introductory drone operations for basic science. In particular, our work targets novice users without a strong background in geographic research or remote sensing. Such training provides technical guidance on the implementation of a drone mapping program for coastal research, and synthesizes our approaches to provide broad guidance for using drones in support of a developing Public Participation GIS process. « less
; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Aerial drones are becoming an integral part of application domains including but not limited to, military operations, package delivery, construction, monitoring and search/rescue operations. It is critical to ensure the cyber security of networked aerial drone systems in these applications. Standard cryptographic services can be deployed to provide basic security services; however, they have been shown to be inefficient in terms of energy and time consumption, especially for small aerial drones with resource-limited processors. Therefore, there is a significant need for an efficient cryptographic framework that can meet the requirements of small aerial drones. We propose an improved cryptographic framework for small aerial drones, which offers significant energy efficiency and speed advantages over standard cryptographic techniques. (i) We create (to the best of our knowledge) the first optimized public key infrastructure (PKI) based framework for small aerial drones, which provides energy efficient techniques by harnessing special precomputation methods and optimized elliptic curves. (ii) We also integrate recent light-weight symmetric primitives into our PKI techniques to provide a full-fledged cryptographic framework. (iii) We implemented standard counterparts and our proposed techniques on an actual small aerial drone (Crazyflie 2.0), and provided an in-depth energy analysis. Our experiments showed that our improved cryptographicmore »framework achieves up to 35× lower energy consumption than its standard counterpart.« less
  2. Geospatial technologies and geographic methods are foundational skills in modern water resources monitoring, research, management, and policy-making. Understanding and sustaining healthy water resources depends on spatial awareness of watersheds, land use, hydrologic networks, and the communities that depend on these resources. Water professionals across disciplines are expected to have familiarity with hydrologic geospatial data. Proficiency in spatial thinking and competency reading hydrologic maps are essential skills. In addition, climate change and non-stationary ecological conditions require water specialists to utilize dynamic, time-enabled spatiotemporal datasets to examine shifting patterns and changing environments. Future water specialists will likely require even more advanced geospatial knowledge with the implementation of distributed internet-of-things sensor networks and the collection of mobility data. To support the success of future water professionals and increase hydrologic awareness in our broader communities, teachers in higher education must consider how their curriculum provides students with these vital geospatial skills. This paper considers pedagogical perspectives from educators with expertise in remote sensing, geomorphology, human geography, environmental science, ecology, and private industry. These individuals share a wealth of experience teaching geographic techniques such as GIS, remote sensing, and field methods to explore water resources. The reflections of these educators provide a snapshot of currentmore »approaches to teaching water and geospatial techniques. This commentary captures faculty experiences, ambitions, and suggestions for teaching at this moment in time.« less
  3. GIS data layer on crop field boundary has many applications in agricultural research, ecosystem study, crop monitoring, and land management. Crop field boundary mapping through field survey is not time and cost effective for vast agriculture areas. Onscreen digitization on fine-resolution satellite image is also labor-intensive and error-prone. The recent development in image segmentation based on their spectral characteristics is promising for cropland boundary detection. However, processing of large volume multi-band satellite images often required high-performance computation systems. This study utilized crop rotation information for the delineation of field boundaries. In this study, crop field boundaries of Iowa in the United States are extracted using multi-year (2007-2018) CDL data. The process is simple compared to boundary extraction from multi-date remote sensing data. Although this process was unable to distinguish some adjacent fields, the overall accuracy is promising. Utilization of advanced geoprocessing algorithms and tools on polygon correction may improve the result significantly. Extracted field boundaries are validated by superimposing on fine resolution Google Earth images. The result shows that crop field boundaries can easily be extracted with reasonable accuracy using crop rotation information.
  4. In this paper, we propose a drone-based wildfire monitoring system for remote and hard-to-reach areas. This system utilizes autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with the main advantage of providing on-demand monitoring service faster than the current approaches of using satellite images, manned aircraft and remotely controlled drones. Furthermore, using autonomous drones facilitates minimizing human intervention in risky wildfire zones. In particular, to develop a fully autonomous system, we propose a distributed leader-follower coalition formation model to cluster a set of drones into multiple coalitions that collectively cover the designated monitoring field. The coalition leader is a drone that employs observer drones potentially with different sensing and imaging capabilities to hover in circular paths and collect imagery information from the impacted areas. The objectives of the proposed system include: i) to cover the entire fire zone with a minimum number of drones, and ii) to minimize the energy consumption and latency of the available drones to fly to the fire zone. Simulation results confirm that the performance of the proposed system- without the need for inter-coalition communications- approaches that of a centrally-optimized system.
  5. This paper presents a gesture set for communicating states to novice users from a small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) through an elicitation study comparing gestures created by participants recruited from the general public with varying levels of experience with an sUAS. Previous work in sUAS flight paths sought to communicate intent, destination, or emotion without focusing on concrete states such as Low Battery or Landing. This elicitation study uses a participatory design approach from human-computer interaction to understand how novice users would expect an sUAS to communicate states, and ultimately suggests flight paths and characteristics to indicate those states. We asked users from the general public (N=20) to create gestures for seven distinct sUAS states to provide insights for human-drone interactions and to present intuitive flight paths and characteristics with the expectation that the sUAS would have general commercial application for inexperienced users. The results indicate relatively strong agreement scores for three sUAS states: Landing (0.455), Area of Interest (0.265), and Low Battery (0.245). The other four states have lower agreement scores, however even they show some consensus for all seven states. The agreement scores and the associated gestures suggest guidance for engineers to develop a common set of flightmore »paths and characteristics for an sUAS to communicate states to novice users.« less