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

EVS workshop focuses on applications of unmanned aircraft systems to land and natural resource monitoring

July 30, 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.

EVS hosted a two-day invitational workshop on UAS applications to land and natural resources monitoring on July 16-17, 2014. Topics addressed through formal presentations and working-group discussions included the current regulatory framework governing UAS use, technology trends, proof-of-concept demonstrations by various agencies, and obstacles to full use of UAS in the realm of land and natural resource modeling.

The ten federal agencies represented, either in person or via remote participation, were the Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Geological Survey. In addition, researchers from several institutions provided overviews on current advances in UAS applications.

The majority of the workshop’s presentations can be viewed on the EVS UAS Workshop 2014 website. A summary of the workshop findings is in preparation; a version will appear in an upcoming special edition of Environmental Practice to be dedicated to the topic.

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