Integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems into Undergraduate Geoscience Education and Research

This project supports the development of capacity and curriculum for use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in undergraduate geoscience education and research at Alaska Pacific University (APU). Use of fixed wing and rotary wing UAS (“drones”) for scientific applications is rapidly growing worldwide, but has particular value in Alaska, where large areas of rugged and inaccessible terrain challenge traditional resource mapping and inventory techniques. The next generation of Alaskan geoscientists will require training in this emerging field. I propose the use of APU’s existing fixed wing UAS in two month-long intensive field courses: Geomorphology (September 2014 at the Kennicott Glacier) and Glaciology and Glacier Travel (May 2015 at the Eklutna Glacier). Towards this end, I request funds to support A) PI training in safety protocols and operational practices, B) undergraduate travel to field sites, and C) technology and curriculum development for post-mission data analysis and mapping.

Profile

Name: Michael Loso, Assistant Professor of Earth Science

Institution: Alaska Pacific University

Award: Higher Education, Project

Funding Period: 2014