Environmental Science Division (EVS)a Division of Argonne National Laboratory

EVS Geospatial Analysis Center Hosts Upcoming UAS/Land and Natural Resources Monitoring Workshop

July 16–17, 2014

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have made dramatic technical advances in the past decade. Currently, their domestic use is tightly constrained by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. Within the next few years, the FAA is expected to provide a regulatory framework allowing for a greatly expanded role for UAS in domestic airspace in a wide variety of applications, including remote sensing for land and natural resource monitoring.

From hazardous waste site characterization to assessing and monitoring the quality of resources on public lands, UAS can be expected to revolutionize the quantity and quality of data sets available to decision makers, while significantly reducing the cost of acquiring such data sets. Examples include wildfire assessment and response, threatened and endangered species monitoring and assessment, climate change ecosystem adaptations, and atmospheric measurements of the type made by DOE's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program.

The advent of domestic commercial UAS use raises a number of important R&D questions. These fall into two basic categories – hardware/software (e.g., the types of sensors that can reasonably be deployed on current UAS and the supporting requirements for acquiring and managing potentially massive data sets) and methodological (e.g., ways to design efficient UAS data acquisition patterns, address variability in spatial scales associated with acquired data, and integrate the data with more traditional satellite/field-based data collection). In addition, FAA regulatory overlays need to be understood to determine what is possible and what is not.

EVS is hosting a two-day invitation workshop on July 16 and 17 that will explore the application of UAS to challenges in monitoring land and natural resources. Attendees/speakers will include representatives from a number of federal agencies with natural resource mandates and academics pushing the frontiers of UAS applications. Topics to be covered include the evolving domestic regulatory framework, mission support and planning, trends in hardware, and applications to land and natural resource monitoring.

Individuals wishing to participate either in person or via webinar should contact Kathy Eggers (eggers@anl.gov). There is no fee for participation.

Photo courtesy of North American Robotics
Photo courtesy of North American Robotics