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Informatics and GIS Program

IGIS Blog

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 (17), UAS (3), UAV (9)

2018 ESRI Dev Summit

Last week saw the ESRI Developers Summit come and go in Palm Springs, CA.  The Dev Summit is billed as being “designed to show you how to build cutting-edge apps using advanced mapping technology from Esri.”  ESRI highlighted many of their new technologies including the ESRI Javascript API that has been updated to support 3d web maps on mobile devices, the ability to incorporate virtual reality/augmented reality VR/AR into your apps, and many other new features.  They also highlighted new tools and some of the added functionality to some of their existing tools such as the Python API for ArcGIS and the addition of the ability to work with Rasters in the r-bridge package.  To see for yourself what ESRI was highlighting at this years Dev Summit watch the videos of the plenary below.

2018 ESRI Dev Summit Plenary Part 1

2018 ESRI Dev Summit Plenary Part 2

2018 ESRI Dev Summit Plenary Part 3

Posted on Monday, March 12, 2018 at 8:52 AM
Tags: 2018 (1), CA (1), Dev Summit (1), ESRI (12), Palm Springs (1)
Focus Area Tags: Innovation

Meet Jacob Flanagan – IGIS Latest Drone Scientist

IGIS is thrilled to welcome Jacob Flanagan to our team. Jacob will be with IGIS through the end of June 2018 as a Drone Technician and Data Analyst.

Jacob comes to IGIS with a broad background in UAV technology, GIS, computer science, and remote sensing. Prior to joining IGIS, Jacob worked with GreenValley Int'l, where he spent several years designing and developing application software for LiDAR data, spatial databases, technical documentation, and user support.

This is not the first time we've had the fortune to work with Jacob. Those of you who have attended some of our drone workshops may remember his demos of an 'octocopter' drone, large enough to carry a heavy LiDAR sensor. He was also a presenter and flight instructor at the 2017 DroneCamp, and has been involved in drone mapping missions at the Hopland REC.

Jacob joins the rest of the IGIS team as our latest FAA certified UAS pilot, and will be involved in a number of research and extension projects. Please say hi to him if you run into him in the ANR building, our next DroneCamp in San Diego, or somewhere in a field looking up at the sky with a drone controller.

 

Jacob Flanagan
Posted on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 8:54 PM
Tags: IGIS (55)

IGIS Teams Up with The Wildlife Society for Drone Mapping Workshop for Biologists

Last week at the Hasting Natural Reserve in Monterey County, IGIS joined forces with The Wildlife Society Western Section for a workshop on drone mapping for wildlife biologists. Over three days, 25 participants learned about drone technology, the science behind mapping with drones, regulations at both the federal and state levels, flight operations, data processing and analysis, and 360 drone photography. The workshop was hugely successful.

Drone Mapping Workshop, Hastings Reserve

 

Sean Hogan explains drone equipment

 

 

 

 

The workshop once again proved the value of collaboration. The Hastings Natural History Reservation, a UC Berkeley field station under the UC Natural Reserve System, was a superb location for the workshop, and Resident Director Vince Voegeli took good care of us. IGIS team members Sean Hogan, Andy Lyons and Jacob Flanagan, provided the core of the technical material building upon earlier workshops include last year's DroneCamp. Steve Goldman, UAS Coordinator for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) spoke about the use of drones in CDFW including their recently finalized regulatory policies and procedures. Steve Earsom from the US Fish and Wildlife Service recorded a similar presentation for participants. Professor Emeritus David Bird from McGill University educated and entertained the audience with several presentations about UAVs in wildlife research over his long and distinguished career. All of this was put together by TWS Western Section Workshop Coordinator and master planner, Ivan Parr.

Left to right Ivan Parr, David Bird, Steve Goldman, Sean Hogan, Jacob Flanagan, Andy Lyons

We are looking forward to more drone mapping workshops and love the collaborative model that combines institutions, technical backgrounds, and applications. Our next multi-day drone workshop will be another offering of DroneCamp coming this summer. Stay tuned for an announcement in the near future.

 

Posted on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 1:58 PM
Tags: drones (17), IGIS (55), workshops (4)

2017 in Review: Focused on the Long Wave of Progress

It's amazing how quickly 2017 flew by. The dominant theme of current events this year seemed to be that of change, and not always for the better. But as the news cycle spins faster and faster, we in IGIS continued to focus on the long wave of progress, building bridges between ANR's research and extension mission and the super-exciting developments in geospatial technologies and data. Our year was extremely busy. A few of the big highlights are below.

 

Strategic Planning. We started out 2017 winding up an internal strategic planning process we began in 2016. After numerous discussions, reflections, and iterations, the result was a draft Strategic Plan for our program based around five core goals.

  1. Provide GIS training and support services across the ANR continuum and program implementation cycle
  2. Expand ANR's capacity for drone research and applications
  3. Strengthen collaborations within ANR, UC, and beyond
  4. Be a bridge for ANR to access cutting-edge geospatial data, tools, science, and research
  5. Sustain and develop ANR's flux tower network

Our Strategic Planning will continue in 2018 so we can incorporate the key recommendations from our Five-Year Program Review.

 

Five-Year Program Review. 2017 marked our Program's fifth anniversary (talk about time flying!), hence it was time for our Five-Year Review. This was a welcome opportunity as a lot has changed since IGIS was established in 2012, and we needed to assess what we've achieved and where we need to focus moving forward. The Review started with a presentation by Maggi Kelly to Program Council in January 2017, and concluded eleven months later in December 2017 with a presentation by Committee Chair Michael Cahn on the Review's key findings and recommendations. In between were numerous information requests from the Review Committee, an extremely interesting Ripple Effect Mapping stakeholder exercise in June, and a lot of behind the scenes work by the Review Committee including meetings, surveys, phone interviews, and writing. We are enormously grateful to all the members of the Review Committee, Michael Cahn for chairing the process, Jennifer Caron-Sale for coordinating everything, and all of the stakeholders who provided input through surveys, meetings, and interviews. We are looking forward to hearing the final recommendations by Program Council and Vice President Humiston early next year, and have already started to implement many of the draft recommendations. We want to use this information to make IGIS more effective and useful in the future.

 

Drone mapping the Mojave dessert,
Drone Services. As expected, our drone services program continued to take off in 2017. Thanks to the incredible efforts and boundless energy of Sean Hogan, we mapped over 4000 acres using RGB, multispectral, and thermal cameras. One of the bigger missions was 2500 acres of the Mojave desert, which Sean and Andy Lyons mapped over a week for a project studying desert tortoise habitat. To help carry the load, all IGIS staff obtained their FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot licenses in March, and we now have basic drone equipment at all staff locations. This new capacity was put to good use shortly after the wildfires in northern California, when Shane Feirer flew a series of missions for UCCE Forest Advisor Yana Valachovic and fire ecologists seeking to understand fire dynamics and impacts. We also partnered with Drone Scholar on the novel #Fly4Fall project, and helped collect images of vegetation changing color worldwide.

 

DroneCamp 2017. Another ambitious undertaking this year was our inaugural offering of a multi-day workshop called DroneCamp. We've been doing one-day drone workshops for awhile now, but the three-day DroneCamp was designed to give participants exposure to the full range of skills needed to collect data with drones safely, legally, and effectively. 36 participants from all over California and as far away as Hawaii came to Davis for three intensive days at the end of July. The curricula included a wide range of topics from mission planning, to flight operations, to visualizing the processed data. It was a huge amount of work but very successful and we've enjoy staying in touch with everyone through the new California Drone Mapping email list we launched in August. Watch this space for an announcement about DroneCamp 2018!

 

CA Land Use and Ownership Portal
CA Land Use and Ownership Portal
GIS Service Center. The GIS Service Center continued to provide support services for all things GIS in ANR. From 20-minute consultations during our online office hours, to large projects lasting several months, Shane Feirer and Robert Johnson handled over two dozen projects this year in addition to maintaining all the GIS licenses for the Division and keeping several important ANR websites up and running. A couple of projects that came to fruition in 2017 were the California Land Use and Ownership Portal, which we developed for Specialists Van Butsic and Luke Macaulay and was recently featured in Cal Ag, and the Coyote Cacher citizen science mobile app for UCCE Advisor Niamh Quinn, which is quite literally putting coyotes on the map in Southern California. We have also been working hard as the lead unit for a climate adaptation resource website for the Office of the Governor that will debut in 2018 (stay tuned for more). To keep everything organized and track progress, Shane and Robert developed a sophisticated project tracking and billing system using Google apps powered by scripts that automate tasks and generate reports (Advanced Google Apps workshop anyone?)

 

Workshops. Our workshop calendar filled up quickly. Aside from DroneCamp, we held 7 workshops on drones, 4 workshops on GIS and mobile data collection, 2 remote sensing workshops, and one workshop on spatial analysis with R. These were held all over the state in collaboration with more hosts than ever before, including RECs, UCCE offices, 3 UC campuses, and for the first time ever a private aerial imaging company. In-person workshops are a lot of effort, but we enjoy doing them and many spin-off projects have come out workshop conversations. Our workshops are complemented by an increasing number of resources on our website, including Tech Notes on important workflows and a growing number of videos on our YouTube channel. In 2018 look for a new training needs assessment that will help us continue to meet the professional development needs of the Division.

Drone workshop at DREC, February 2017
 

Connecting with Policy Makers. Policy moves slowly, but it's sets the stage for almost everything we do and is an important part of the long wave progress. Sean Hogan had a busy year, starting with a trip to Capitol Hill in April where he met with California's representatives to discuss the critical role the federal government plays in remote sensing. In November, he testified at a NIFA listening session in Sacramento, laying out what USDA can do to help the ag industry reap the benefits of the many advances in data science and technology, and later gave presentations to the Ag Commissioner offices in Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties. We've also stayed active with the CA Economic Summit, where Maggi Kelly co-chairs the Action Team for Working Landscapes, and other events with a lot of government presence such as CalGIS. We've also been following and writing about the proposed license changes for the extremely important National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP), and standards for open data stewardship that are gaining traction and already required in the EU. Closer to home, we are proud to be one of the lead drone units within UC, and have stayed active in conversations with the UC Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety on policies and procedures that ensure ANR operates drones in compliance with FAA regulations, and also joined an interagency UAV Working Group chaired by the California Natural Resources Agency.

 

Looking ahead to 2018. In 2018, we are looking forward to incorporating the recommendations from our Program Review and completing our Strategic Plan. A big theme for 2018 will be finding more and better ways to connect with and stay in touch with all parts of ANR, and expand the reach of our small staff. We already have a number of new projects in the pipeline that will keep everyone busy, in addition to the usual portfolio of ongoing GIS support, workshops and drone services. Our research work will continue tackling some of the big technical bottlenecks in working with drone data, including data management, image processing, and extracting more juice from the high resolution 3D data. We're all going to the Statewide Conference in April and will be taking part in several sessions - see you in Ontario!

 

Happy New Year everyone from us at IGIS and ANR.

Posted on Friday, December 22, 2017 at 12:18 PM
Tags: IGIS (55), Year in Review (1)

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