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Article

Developing an Introductory UAV/Drone Mapping Training Program for Seagrass Monitoring and Research

1
Department of Sociology and College of Sciences GIS Cluster, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816, USA
2
Hakai Institute, PO Box 25039, Campbell River V9W 0B7, BC, Canada
3
Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network, Smithsonian Institution, Edgewater, MD 21037, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Drones 2020, 4(4), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4040070
Received: 18 September 2020 / Revised: 28 October 2020 / Accepted: 30 October 2020 / Published: 3 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones in Geography)
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 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: drone training; public participation GIS; seagrass; UAV education; UAV training drone training; public participation GIS; seagrass; UAV education; UAV training
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yang, B.; Hawthorne, T.L.; Hessing-Lewis, M.; Duffy, E.J.; Reshitnyk, L.Y.; Feinman, M.; Searson, H. Developing an Introductory UAV/Drone Mapping Training Program for Seagrass Monitoring and Research. Drones 2020, 4, 70. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4040070

AMA Style

Yang B, Hawthorne TL, Hessing-Lewis M, Duffy EJ, Reshitnyk LY, Feinman M, Searson H. Developing an Introductory UAV/Drone Mapping Training Program for Seagrass Monitoring and Research. Drones. 2020; 4(4):70. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4040070

Chicago/Turabian Style

Yang, Bo, Timothy L. Hawthorne, Margot Hessing-Lewis, Emmett J. Duffy, Luba Y. Reshitnyk, Michael Feinman, and Hunter Searson. 2020. "Developing an Introductory UAV/Drone Mapping Training Program for Seagrass Monitoring and Research" Drones 4, no. 4: 70. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4040070

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