Unmanned Aerial Systems applications in agriculture have interested me from the time I saw some trial flights at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, California in 2020. The possibilities of crop mapping, using multispectral imagery to create NDVI data, and optimizing resources seemed
endless. And while all of this is still true, I have learned over the last couple years that there is a lot more to it than just getting out the drone and flying it over a field.
In the Fall quarter of 2022, I was able to take a class on campus from Dr. Michael Wing called “Unmanned Aerial Systems Remote Sensing. In this course I was able to get some hands-on experience flying a DJI Phantom 4, a DJI Matrice 200, and a DJI Matrice 300. We also were able to take aerial imagery with a MicaSense Altum multispectral and thermal camera attached to the DJI Matrice 300 and analyze that data during the course of the class. To analyze the data we learned how to use AgiSoft Metashape photogrammetry software to make orthomosaics of our area of interest. With the orthomosaics, we were able to perform different sorts of analysis using ArcGIS Pro software and R. This class really gave me a solid introduction to the collection and analysis of aerial imagery.
With some knowledge under my belt after taking that course, I decided to look into taking the Part 107 Certification exam to obtain my FAA administered Remote Pilot License. The purpose of this certification is to be able to fly a drone for commercial, government, or any other non-
recreational purposes. In the Nackley Lab, we have access to a DJI Matrice 210 quadcopter and a MicaSense Red-Edge M camera so I wanted to be able to open up some more avenues for research by being able to pilot this drone for our lab!
In our lab, a lot of our work centers around major challenges to the nursery production industry in Oregon. Working with a drone can allow you to survey a large area for early signs of drought stress, nutrient deficiencies, or pests to minimize a loss in yield. Now that I have the Remote Pilot Certification, my goal is to help our lab create more aerial imagery (data) that ties into our work which addresses major challenges to nursery production in Oregon like irrigation application, pest management, plant nutrition, and climate adaptations.
For more information about the part 107 certification or UAS applications feel free to contact me