First course on UAS for environmental monitoring

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Last week Lyndon Estes and Kelly Caylor were in Italy to help teach a new course on UAS for Environmental Monitoring. The course was organized by Kelly and Salvatore Manfreda, and run under the aegis of the University of Basilicata. Xurxo Gago from the Universitat de les Illes Balears provided instruction on multicopters and estimating crop water use from thermal imagery. The classes were held in the ancient city of Matera, while flight training and data collection practicals took place in farmland to the south near Metaponto.

By the end of the week, 17 students successfully ran a data collection mission (using fixed-wing UAS from, processed the resulting imagery into orthomosaics and DEMs, and did some initial data analysis, including a comparison of leaf area index measurements made in the field, UAS-derived BNDVI, and Landsat-derived NDVI (Marc Mayes from Brown University found that Landsat 8 had imaged the area during that week, making a very nice comparison). The student presentations and lectures are available here.

They hope to run this course again next summer, so please watch Lyndon’s website if you are interested in learning how to use UAS to close the gap between field and spaceborne observations.

Click here for some photos or video.