Leveraging Drone Technology for Enhanced Geospatial Applications: Insights from the 2024 NCAUG Symposium

Enhanced GeospatialEnhanced GeospatialExploring UAV Innovations in Geospatial Technology at the 2024 NCAUG Symposium

by DRONELIFE Contributing Editor Paul Rossi

Stay tuned for the upcoming Weekly Wings Podcast, a discussion of trends and technology from the pilot’s point of view.  Hosted by Paul Rossi on DRONELIFE.com! 

At the recent North Carolina ArcGIS Users Group (NCAUG) 2024 Symposium, I had the unique opportunity to delve into the evolving role of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in geospatial technology, particularly in water resources management and environmental assessments. The event, held at the Chatham County Agriculture & Conference Center in Pittsboro, North Carolina, brought together industry professionals, researchers, and practitioners to share knowledge and best practices in UAV technology and its integration with geographic information systems (GIS).

One of the key highlights was the session led by Justin Fraser from Langan Engineering, focusing on the precision required in drone flight planning for surface water sampling. The accuracy of GPS in ensuring consistent data collection points during repeated visits is crucial for maintaining the integrity of environmental data. This insight is particularly relevant for us as we look to enhance the GPS functionalities of our drones to support environmental engineers in their critical work.

UNC Wilmington’s Devon Eulie gave a presentation on using drones to manage terrain around the USS Battleship North Carolina, which opened up new avenues for drone applications in ensuring accessibility to historical sites. By managing coastal erosion and improving terrain, drones prove instrumental in preserving these landmarks while enhancing visitor experiences.

Brandon Puckett’s, (NOAA National Ocean Service) discussion on the extensive use of UAVs for oyster reef management along North Carolina’s estuarine coastlines highlighted the scale of potential drone applications in marine habitats. Over 10,000 miles of coastline are being actively monitored and managed using drone technology to support sustainable fisheries and conservation efforts.

The Lightning Panel discussion was another focal point, shedding light on the challenges and advancements in drone hardware and software integration. The importance of adhering to security standards, like those mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations was emphasized, underscoring the need for reliable drones that meet these stringent requirements.

Jon McBrideAmong the attendees was Jon McBride, The Droning Company, a recognized expert in the field of UAV technology. McBride’s enthusiasm for exploring advanced UAV applications was particularly evident during conversations on thermal imaging, where he engaged actively with both speakers and participants. His insights into the potential of thermal imaging for environmental monitoring and resource management were informative, showcasing how this technology can be leveraged to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of UAV-driven data collection.

Additionally, the outdoor UAV demonstrations by Langan Engineering and Nine Ten Drones showcased the practical capabilities of drones equipped with high-resolution thermal cameras and advanced zoom payloads. These demonstrations, particularly the use of Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) navigation for increased data accuracy, were a testament to the sophisticated level of technology available to end users.

The 2024 NCAUG Symposium was an enriching experience that highlighted the dynamic capabilities of UAV technology and its growing importance in various geospatial applications. Be sure to check out the NCAUG Fall Conference website for the latest information and registration details for the conference on September 23-26, 2024

nine ten dronesnine ten dronesPaul Rossi is the Chief Operations Officer and Chief Pilot atNine Ten Drones, a N. C.-based drone services company, training center, and reseller.  Rossi is also the Outreach Coordinator for the North Carolina Chapter of AUVSI.  A graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and the U.S. Army Aviation Logistics School, Rossi is passionate about the aviation industry.  He holds both a private pilot’s license for manned aircraft and a Part 107 Remote Pilot’s Certificate.  You can see more videos and product information on the Nine Ten Drones YouTube channel.

Miriam McNabbMiriam McNabb

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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