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Nicholas School of the Environment

Drones for Conservation Research

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Description

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS, also known as drones) are game-changing tools used for on-demand aerial surveys and mapping. For a land trust, UAS can offer significant benefits in survey efficiency, economy, frequency, and quality, but knowing when and how to utilize the technology can be challenging. There are many types of aircraft, support equipment, and software available, making informed adoption of these tools essential.

The Duke Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab is offering a new, web-based course to help land trusts determine if and how UAS can be applied to their holdings. Our research group is a leader in the use of UAS for conservation and management, with over 1300 hours of flight time from surveys conducted across a variety of tropical, temperate and polar environments.

The Course Will:

  • Describe UAS contributions to baseline documentation, surveys, monitoring, landowner relations, and volunteer programs.
  • Introduce UAS workflows, including aircraft preparation, flight planning, and data processing.
  • Showcase different types of UAS data products, their applications, and how to analyze them.
  • Evaluate different types of small UAS, sensors, and support software to determine which combinations meet land trusts’ budget and goals.
  • Investigate which types of holdings can benefit from UAS, and which are better left to “boots on the ground” or other remote sensing methods.
  • Discuss the regulations and restrictions on UAS use, and what they mean for land trust monitoring.
  • Create a network of environmental professionals working on similar projects across the globe.

Who should attend

This course is broadly intended for environmental professionals including, academic lab managers or project leads from NGOs, government agencies, consultants, technical specialists or participants in collaborative projects. Potential application to environmental research fields including: animal management/conservation, coastal management/river & flood assessment, ecology, forestry, terrain monitoring, expeditions and adventure guiding, geomorphology and resiliency projects.

Experts

David is President & CEO of the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management (CAPDM). He began his work experience as a research scientist before launching a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry in a variety of senior sales and marketing leadership roles across Canada...
Alexander (Alex) Seymour is a researcher and GIS analyst at the Duke Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab (MARRS). Alex hold a Masters degree in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University, and specializes in spatial analysis and remote sensing for the benefit of conservation and rese...
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