NASA Grant Supports Wildfire Research

2015-09-29

NASA Grant Supports Wildfire Research
Two Northwest Nazarene University assistant professors have been awarded a NASA grant to support their research on wildfire monitoring and assessment technology.
Assistant professor of computer science Dale Hamilton and associate professor of computer science Barry Myers weer awarded a NASA EPSCoR (experimental program to stimulate competitive research) Undergraduate Research Grant.

The purpose of the NASA EPSCoR Program is to provide areas of the country that have often lacked aerospace research more opportunities. The first round of funding was received last fall, which allowed research to begin the end of 2014.

The goal of the project, which has been dubbed FireMAP, is to “provide a responsive, affordable and safe tool to assist with the development of post fire recovery plans and for updating spatial fuel layers to reflect the effects of the fire on vegetation.”

Hamilton and Myers will use an off-the-shelf unmanned aerial system with an attached camera to gather and process data. The drone will be able to fly over affected areas after fires have been extinguished to assess and monitor the effects of the fire. The data obtained will be a significant piece in recovery planning. The use of the system is also an economical breakthrough, as, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, it is roughly 10 percent the cost of using manned aircraft.

In preparation for photographing wildfire burns, the FireMAP team collaborated with Tegan Byerly’s engineering class at Vallivue High School to calibrate the unmanned aerial system imagery. This collaboration was the result of the high school class wanting to contribute to the FireMAP project. By effectively marking a giant ruler across the Vallivue soccer field and flying the drone directly above a designated start point, the team was able to more accurately calibrate the spatial resolution of the imagery taken with the drone at varying heights. By more accurately defining the spatial resolution of the imagery, the FireMAP team was better prepared to go out into the wildfires and acquire more precise data.

This summer, the team used drones to photograph the aftermath of a wildfire, which allowed them to identify where the fire burned, what was burned, and in turn translate the imagery into usable data that can support prevention research.

We are very encouraged by the ability of the prototype systems we built over the summer to classify wildland fire extent and severity from hyperspatial UAS imagery, Hamilton said in a press release. Our initial success in identifying where a fire burned as well as the vegetation types found outside the burn area bode well for the potential that can be achieved with future research.

In addition to supporting the two faculty members, the grant will also provide opportunity for undergraduate computer science students to be involved in the FireMAP project. Six NNU computer science majors, freshman Nicholas Hamilton (Caldwell), senior Tim Mong (Coquille, Oregon), junior Peter Oxley (Emmett), senior Johnathan Hamilton (Caldwell), post bacc. Stacie Zaroban (Boise) and senior Genesis Cruz (Nampa) are the planned research assistants for the wildfire monitoring and assessment project.




FAA Announces Small UAS Registration Rule

2015-12-15
FAA Announces Small UAS Registration Rule
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has just announced a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras.

Japans Clue launches DroneCloud, data management platform for businesses using drones

2015-12-08
Japans Clue launches DroneCloud, data management platform for businesses using drones
Tokyo-based Clue announced in November the launch of a data management service for drones called DroneCloud. The service will offer a platform to manage drone data, such as tracking who operates which drone, managing projects and team members operating drones, as well as managing and sharing drone flight data.

Minnesota DoT Testing Drones for Bridge Inspections

2015-11-30
Minnesota DoT Testing Drones for Bridge Inspections
“We do underneath rope access inspections,” said Barritt Lovelace, a regional manager for Collins Engineers Inc., an agency headquartered in Chicago with offices throughout the country. Basically, we rock-climb bridges. It’s a lot of fun. In Duluth recently, Lovelace stood with a host of others below the Blatnik Bridge to participate in a demonstration of the Minnesota Department of Transportations ongoing study of using drones for bridge inspection purposes.

Over 2,100 Commercial End Users, Vendors at First Annual Drone World Expo

2015-11-23
Over 2,100 Commercial End Users, Vendors at First Annual Drone World Expo
The first ever Drone World Expo had an extremely successful launch last week at the San Jose Convention Center. The exhibit hall floor featured 75 exhibiting companies and the event attracted 2,120 commercial drone professionals. The exhibitors responded enthusiastically about their experience at the new trade show with many already planning on renewing booth space for the 2016 Show which will take place November 15-16 back at the San Jose Convention Center.

Drone Standards Tough To Reach For Young Pilots

2015-11-11
Drone Standards Tough To Reach For Young Pilots

Megan Halek could be the best unmanned aircraft pilot coming out of the University of North Dakota’s highly regarded aviation program this year: Shes aced a training program and has enough air experience to fly private jets worldwide.

Drone World Expo  Exclusive Board Member Interviews

2015-11-04
Drone World Expo Exclusive Board Member Interviews

To find out what inspires their interest in UAS and attracts the Advisory Board Members to support Drone World Expo, we scheduled a series of exclusive interviews. Our eleventh interviewee is Gretchen West, Senior Advisor of Innovation and Technology at Hogan Lovells.

US DoT Seeks Public Comments on UAS Registration

2015-10-26
US DoT Seeks Public Comments on UAS Registration

In a surprise move, DOT just published a document,Clarification of the Applicability of Aircraft Registration Requirements for UAS and Request for Information Regarding Electronic Registration for UAS, to the Federal Register. DOT is soliciting recommendations on all aspects of the UAS registration process, including which UAS should be exempt from the registration requirement.

UK Military Aviation Authority to Update Unmanned Operations Guidelines

2015-10-20
UK Military Aviation Authority to Update Unmanned Operations Guidelines
The UK’s Military Aviation Authority is preparing the release of an updated version of its regulations on unmanned air vehicles, which will draw on feedback from a first document that was released last January.

Drones are providing film and TV viewers a new perspective on the action

2015-10-09
Drones are providing film and TV viewers a new perspective on the action

Adazed and bloodied student who had just been mugged stumbled down a darkened alleyway in a slum. He lifted his shirt, revealing a gaping wound, before collapsing on the ground as curious onlookers gathered around.

 Air National Guard wants to Fly MQ-9 Reaper from Syracuses Hancock Airport

2015-10-04
Air National Guard wants to Fly MQ-9 Reaper from Syracuses Hancock Airport
The Air National Guard wants to fly remotely piloted aircrafts out of Hancock Field at the Syracuse International Airport. The change would save time and money, as the National Guard has to send its aircrafts to fly from Fort Drum because of airspace restrictions.


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