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The “Teaching with Drones” web meeting in higher education, hosted by Esri, highlighted the increasing use of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), including drones, for data capture and the rising demand for skills in UAV piloting and data processing in universities. The meeting featured presentations from three experts:

Dr. Wing Cheung: A professor at Palomar College and a co-founder of their drone technology program, Dr. Cheung discussed integrating drone data into GIS (Geographic Information System) classes, its impact on student careers, and challenges in the field. Resources related to his work include the program at Palomar College, a blog, labs, and lessons from the UASTEP project, and an alumni story.

Dr. Bo Yang: An interdisciplinary post-doctoral scholar at the University of Central Florida, Dr. Yang leads UAV research in the Citizen Science GIS group. He co-leads an NSF-funded coastal mapping project using UAV remote sensing and GIS analysis, encompassing public participatory GIS, UAV training, and community outreach. He shared experiences of running this project, even during the pandemic. His resources include a project page, a UAV mapping StoryMap, and an open access training course.

Cody Benkelman: A product manager on Esri’s Imagery Team, Benkelman focuses on 2D and 3D drone imagery products. He discussed the latest updates in Esri technology for drone data processing applicable to teaching and research. Resources he provided include the free version of the Site Scan Flight app, ArcGIS Drone2Map, lessons from Learn ArcGIS, and various webinars.

These presentations and resources indicate a growing integration of drone technology in educational and research settings, emphasizing practical applications in GIS, remote sensing, and community engagement. The availability of the meeting’s recording and slide decks further supports ongoing learning and development in this rapidly evolving field​

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