University of California
Informatics and GIS Program

Posts Tagged: workshops

Drone Technology Workshop at Desert Research Extension Center Crosses Borders

Earlier this month, IGIS held another two-day workshop on using drones for agriculture and land management. As with previous workshops, the material included drone technology, safety and regulations, principles of remote sensing, mission planning, flight operations, and data analysis. Although the winds were too strong on the first day to fly, we couldn't have asked for nicer weather the second day and everyone got to try to their hand at the flight controller.

UC Cooperative Extension Advisor Pratap Devkota practices flying a drone while IGIS drone instructor Sean Hogan (left) looks on


Wes Matejovsky from the Imperial Irrigation District brings in a drone in for landing

We were also quite fortunate that the timing coincided with DREC's Farm Smart program. Farm Smart is a winter educational outreach program at DREC which caters to 'snowbirds' who descend upon the Imperial Valley from all over the country each winter to enjoy the pleasant weather. For six weeks, Farm Smart organizes half-day visits to the center including presentations, cooking lessons and a tractor tour of the center. Sean Hogan gave presentations to three Farm Smart groups on their farm wagons, explaining the how modern drones work and are being used to monitor crop health and growth. The local paper, The Imperial Valley Press, covered the day and wrote a story that appeared the following day.

Sean Hogan explains drone science for Farm Smart visitors

We were especially pleased to have a good contingent of workshop participants from Mexicali across the border. At a time when the headlines are filled with talk about walls, it was heartening to see the great potential for cross-border collaboration in ag technology. Many of the participants were from the Faculty of Engineering at La Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, where they are working on developing new sensors and navigation systems. Another group of participants came from the Imperial Irrigation District, whose many responsibilities includes monitoring hundreds of miles of irrigation canals.

From our perspective, the value of workshops goes well beyond the development of technical skills and knowledge. We love to hear about different applications of spatial technologies, and bring together diverse audiences with different areas of expertise and interests. These are the core ingredients of innovation and collaboration, which is the essence of Cooperative Extension. From this perspective, the DREC workshop was not only a great success in teaching a couple dozen people how to fly drones, but will continue to yield benefits that we can hardly anticipate.


Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 8:20 AM
Tags: DREC (1), drones (1), IGIS (1), workshops (3)

PRP Science Engagement Workshop

I recently attended the Pacific Research Platform Science Engagement Workshop hosted by CITRIS and Calit2 at UC Merced. The PRP is a "data freeway" currently being developed by researchers at UC San Diego and UC Berkeley to connect the major research universities and other research institutions on the west coast with the goal of sharing large datasets and computational resources at speeds of 10-100 Gbps.

The focus of the workshop were a number of digital archaeology projects that were either already using the PRP architecture or had the potential to do so. It was quite interesting to see the efforts being undertaken to preserve at-risk heritage sites using drone imagery, 3D scans of artifacts and 360° virtual reality imagery. All of these techniques produce massive datasets (often several terabytes) which require extensive post-processing and therefore are exactly the type of projects that the PRP was designed for.


 After the presentations, we headed over to UC Merced's new WAVE (Wide-Area Visualization Environment) facility to check out some of the virtual reality imagery that had been discussed. The WAVE consists of twenty 4k 3D monitors arranged in a parabolic curve to create an immersive VR environment. We saw several incredibly detailed image sets of archaeological sites in Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Belize that had been processed and were being served through the PRP architecture. The effect was quite impressive, it really was the next best thing to being at the actual site.


All in all, this was a real eye-opening workshop that gave a compelling picture of the future of sharing and visualization of Big Data.

Posted on Monday, September 26, 2016 at 1:18 PM
Tags: Big Data (1), Drone (1), workshops (3)

Google Earth Engine @ the GIF!

Students, researchers, mappers, and big data enthusiasts took place in an exciting 2 day Google Earth Engine workshop this last week hosted by the GIF and the Google Earth Engine Team. We had an exiting overview of the latest and greatest research adventures from Google by Kelly lab alum Karin Tuxen-Bettman including advances in some of what Google Earth Outreach team is involved in...

As well as new/upcoming ventures
The Earth Engine team led some great tutorials getting people well versed in JavaScript and using the Earth Engine playground, and Earth Engine API. Having beginner and advanced workshop tracks during the two day event allowed for both broad and deep participation from researchers across the Berkeley campus. Take a look at the packed agenda and more here!
We also had a stellar panel of UC Berkeley professor Jeff Chambers and graduate students Sophie Taddeo, Alexander Bryk, and Lisa Kelley who shared an intimate view of how they were using Earth Engine in their research. The panel shared stories of using Earth Engine to evaluate disturbance in tropical forests, map the movement of wetlands, and meandering rivers, as well as looking at agroforestry systems in Indonesia through a socio-ecological lens.
Thanks to Google and the Earth Engine Team for guiding, the GIF for hosting, and all of the participants for engaging in an action packed two days!
Posted on Monday, August 24, 2015 at 3:38 AM
Tags: gif (1), google (1), Google Earth (1), learning (1), workshops (3)
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