University of California
Informatics and GIS Program

Posts Tagged: drones

IGIS Recognized for Drone Data Management Tools at Geography Conference

At the recent conference of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) in Washington DC, IGIS was recognized for its work in developing open source data management tools for drone data. The AAG is the largest association of geographers, GIS specialists, environmental scientists in the world, and its annual conference attracts over 8,500 people and over 6,900 presentations. IGIS researchers Andy Lyons, Jacob Flanagan, and Sean Hogan won second place in a poster competition sponsored by the AAG Remote Sensing Specialty Group and photogrammetry company Pix4D.

Data management is not the most exciting aspect of working with drones, but it's an essential component when using drones for research mapping. In drone mapping, the drone flies a crisscross pattern over the study area, taking pictures at regular internals. When the flight is over, you have to get the images off the drone's camera, and feed them into photogrammetry software that stitches them together. The software also removes all the overlap, corrects for perspective and distortion, and generate 3D models of the terrain. An enormous amount of data is involved at each step of the process.

Data management involves protocols and file transfer utilities to help you organize data, assess quality, create backups, find and retrieve files, and reproduce workflows. Photogrammetry programs are brilliant at stitching photos into beautiful high resolution imagery, but they don't offer many tools for managing data before or after the processing. This is the gap IGIS is addressing.

IGIS has been working on data management tools for the past couple of years to help us manage the dozens of drone projects we conduct each year on behalf of UC researchers. In keeping with our public mission and research innovation focus, we use open source programming platforms such as Python and R and share our tools on GitHub so anyone can use them.

The poster presented at the AAG conference showcases 5 data management projects. The foundation of all our projects is a directory structure and file naming protocol that encompasses all the types of data in a drone project, including images, ground control points, GIS layers, documentation, intermediate files, and final outputs. Building upon this, the uavimg package for R creates offline HTML catalogs and maps of images, allow for quality control checks in the field and a master catalog to help an analyst find the right set of images for a project. The IGIS Drive Monitor, written in Python, is designed to run on a laptop in the field and automates the process even further by monitoring a USB drive and copying files into the right place automatically. The IGIS Pix4D Controller, also written in Python, runs on a server and automates the next step of the process, launching the Pix4D stitching software when a new set of images is detected, creating a new project, and initiating the stitching process. Finally, the IGIS Drone Data Management Logbook, still being developed, combines functionality of the previous utilities with additional visualization tools for quality control.

Our drone data management utilities are still under development, but they are available currently available for testing (see GitHub links in the poster). If you'd like to be a beta tester, please let us know!). Later this year, we plan on holding a webinar describing how to use these tools and invite feedback from users. Open source software is designed for collaboration, and our ultimate hope is to collaborate with other drone users and programmers facing similar needs. In the meantime, it's great to be recognized by leading experts in the field.

 

Posted on Friday, April 19, 2019 at 8:01 AM
Tags: data management (1), drones (19), IGIS (62)

Monterey is the Place to be for Drone Training in 2019

As drone usage continues to grow exponentially, 2019 stands to be another busy year for the IGIS drone training program. We are pleased to announce two offerings of our popular 3-day comprehensive drone mapping short course, both of which will be held in Monterey County with two outstanding collaborators.

From April 9-12, 2019, we'll be teaching the second annual Drones for Biologists workshop at the gorgeous Hastings Natural History Reservation in collaboration with The Wildlife Society Western Section and the UC Natural Reserve System. This training event specifically caters to the interests of natural resource managers, and includes special sessions on using drones for wildlife research, UAV regulations from the US Fish Wildlife Service, and updates from the CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife. New for 2019, participants will have an option to stay for an extra two days to conduct a mentored research project (can you detect turkeys with drones?), that we plan to collectively write up and submit for publication. If you've never been to Hastings, it's a beautiful 2,500-acre oak woodland reserve in the Carmel Valley with onsite accommodation and training facilities. Registration is now open, with discounted rates for TWS members and UCANR employees.

Data Analysis Exercise, Drones for Biologists Workshop
 
The week of June 17, 2019, we'll be offering our third round of DroneCamp. This is our flagship drone training event, and like previous DroneCamps, the 3-day curriculum will cover an overview of drone mapping technology, regulations, mission planning, flight practice, data processing and management, and analysis with GIS software. This year, we're thrilled to be collaborating with the DART Consortium, a public-private-nonprofit partnership in Monterey centered around developing the UC Monterey Bay Science and Technology Center (UCMBEST), establishing a drone tech R&D park at the former Fort Ord, and developing programs at the UC Santa Cruz Fort Ord Natural Reserve. To add icing on the cake, DroneCamp 2019 will merge seamlessly into the DART Drone Symposium on Friday June 21. The symposium will feature sessions from industry, leading researchers, and service providers. If you've ever sought a truly comprehensive week of drone mapping instruction with updates from the cutting edge, you'd be hard pressed to find a better pairing than DroneCamp plus the DART Symposium. Registration for both events will be open in February.
 
Flight Instruction at DroneCamp

We're thrilled to be providing these two trainings on drone data collection for the public, and even more thrilled to be working with collaborators who complement our areas of expertise with deep dives into technology developments, research, and policy. To use drones effectively involves navigating some deep waters, these workshops will save aspiring drone users vast amounts of time, money and painful mishaps. Hope to see you there!

 

Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at 2:54 PM
Tags: dronecamp (3), drones (19), IGIS (62)

Mapping post-fire landscapes at Hopland Research & Extension Center

The River Fire began July 27, 2018 at 1pm on Old River Road in Hopland. By the evening it had spread, and was threatening numerous buildings in the area. We have a ANR Research and Extension Center (HREC) there, and Shane Feirer from IGIS lives and works here. Evacuations were ordered quickly, and down in the bay area we all held our breath hoping the fire wouldn’t harm people or animals or consume the HREC buildings. By the time it was contained (as part of the Mendocino Complex), it had burned 48,920 acres. We’ve been flying drones over HREC for awhile, and the last month we did more drone flights to map the post-fire landscape. We flew some Hangar 360 flights with a DJI Phantom to get some sweet overviews of the scene (example1, example2, example3), and flew much of the area with our eBee on the first mission and Matrices on the second mission with both multispectral and RGB cameras.

These pics below compare the eBee imagery (2cm) with Planet imagery (3m).





These are pics of the eBee (far left) and the Matrice (far right) getting ready to fly into the blackened landscape, and some snaps from the Hanger pics.





Posted on Monday, October 8, 2018 at 10:24 PM
Tags: drones (19), igis (62)

#DroneCamp2018 is in the bag!

We've just wrapped up #DroneCamp2018, hosted at beautiful UC San Diego. 

This was an expanded version from last year's model, which we held in Davis. We had 52 participants (from all over the world!) who were keen to learn about drones, data analysis, new technology, and drone futures.  

Day 1 was a flight day from half our participants: lots of hands-on with takeoffs and landings, and flying a mission; 
Day 2 covered drone safety and regulations, with guest talks from Brandon Stark and Dominique Meyer;
Day 3 covered drone data and analysis;
Day 4 was a flight day for Group 2 and a repeat of Day 1. 

We had lots of fun taking pics and tweeting: here is our wrapup on Twitter for #DroneCamp2018.





















Posted on Friday, June 22, 2018 at 1:25 AM
Tags: conferences (39), drones (19)

IGIS DroneCamp 2018 Coming Soon!

Hello Everyone,

IGIS is pleased to announce its second offering of DroneCamp! This three-day intensive workshop will take place at UC San Diego, between June 18th and the 21st, 2018, and will cover everything you need to know about drones for mapping, research, and land management.  This intensive bootcamp style workshop will include instruction and hands on training in the following areas:

  • Technology - The different types of drone and sensor hardware, costs and applications
  • Drone science - Principles of photogrammetry and remote sensing
  • Safety and regulations - Learn to fly safely and legally, including tips on getting your FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate
  • Mission planning - Flight planning tools and principles for specific mission objectives
  • Flight operations - Hands-on practice with both manual and programmed flights
  • Data processing - Processing drone data into orthomosaics and 3D digital surface models; assessing quality control
  • Data analysis - Techniques for analyzing drone data in GIS and remote sensing software
  • Visualization - Create 3D models of your data
  • Latest trends - Hear about new and upcoming developments in drone technology, data processing, and regulations

The cost of this three-day event will be $500 for UC Employees and $900 for everyone else.

Additional information and registration info can be found at http://igis.ucanr.edu/dronecamp/. Registration requires a short application (no fee), that will inquire about your background and learning goals. Anyone interested in attending is encouraged to submit an application by April 15, 2018 for early priority registration.  Be aware, last year's event filled up very quickly.

We hope to see you there!

Sean Hogan
UC ANR IGIS
Drone Service Coordinator

Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 3:24 PM
Tags: Drones (19), UAS (3), UAV (9)

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