Saturday, September 15, 2012

Geographic Travels Geo-Literacy Outreach Awards Submission: Sky Eyes: Teaching Geospatial Mapping and Remote Sensing Technology using Arcgis.com and Parrot AR:Drone Remote Controlled Quadracopters

The fourth entry for the Geographic Travels Geo-Literacy Outreach Awards has been officially submitted.  Susan Ann Bickford of the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve and the University of New England has proposed her plan to use drone helicopters and ArcGIS Online as tools to teach geography.

Feel free to comment on the proposal and let the board know what you think!

And remember, you still have until 1 October 2012 to apply for the $500 in awards for promoting Geo-Literacy!
Product Title
Sky Eyes: Teaching Geospatial Mapping and Remote Sensing Technology using Arcgis.com and Parrot AR:Drone Remote Controlled Quadracopters
Explain what your project is and how it would be accomplished.
Originality: I plan to teach the basic concepts of mapping and remote sensing using a combination of ArcGIS.com online map viewer and AR Drone 2.0 Quadracopters (remote controlled aerial drones with onboard cameras).  My first clients will be six area home school students that were participants in the University of Nebraska’s Lego Mindstorm mapping and robotics program this past spring I  plan to expand the program to add Teacher Professional Development (PD) programs. We will use the online mapping software to teach how to digitize trails for a community service project, then use the drones to video what the trails look like from above. The drones have both a front facing camera and a downward facing camera. The video or photographs are recorded to an attached thumb drive. The online map can link to the videos or photos along with hosting a wide variety of attribute information about the trail site.
Explain how your project would be useful in promoting geo-literacy.
Feasibility of Implementation: Both the online mapping site and the software to run the drones are free and usable on any smartphone or tablet device. The AR:Drone Quadracopters cost $300 each and is an entry level student oriented machine., complete with an auto-landing and emergency landing feature. The drone sends out a wireless signal that the smartphone or tablet use to communicate with it.  The tablet does not need 3G/4G capabilities. These basic tablets cost around $200, so each student set up would cost about $500. Because I already have one student set up I would be providing a 50/50 match. If I was awarded the grant, I could rotate several  students through the online mapping tutorial and the drone tutorial simultaneously. 

Geographic-centricity: Using these two pieces of technology, the student will be able to tell a compelling geospatial story by creating a shareable (also web embeddable) map with hyperlinks  to actual current aerial video and photographic recordings. Any of these projects could easily include a time component (e.g. before and after shots of a project) making them not only 3D but also 4D.
Explain what your project’s “afterlife” will be (distribution, legacy, etc.)
Generalizability: The Sky Eyes Project is easily adaptable to any area of the world that has Internet connections. It will open the door to developing skills in more applications of remote sensed data and mobile applications of geospatial technology.

People-centricity:  Sky Eyes can be adapted to any age/demographic group whether in a rural or urban setting. The geospatial stories are all there to tell. This project brings the power of PLAY into the realm of eduction that will appeal to a wide range of K-12, Higher Education and Life Long Learning venues. The basics of map creation and drone piloting can be learned in less than 15 minutes each. More advanced capabilities are built into both the mapping program and the drone program allowing growth in both aspects before moving on to advanced subjects. Currently the demand for geospatially experienced employees outweighs the availability. Real world applications for both of these programs are limitless. We will be sculpting the workforce of the future.

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