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ACTIVITY 2: Lens and Drone Mapping Activity

Introduction: The use of aerial vehicles, such as drones, became very popular and are being used by researchers to understand the ecosystem better. Drones allow scientists to understand how environments change over time, how they react to climate change, and how populations are affected by it. It is also possible to measure some conditions and structures of features that before were time consuming, or relying on satellite technology with poor resolution.

Learning Outcome: When you complete this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Understand how drones can be used to gather data about shoreline like Salton Sea and observe wildlife and topography;
  • Understand how GIS works;
  • Learn how to do lens calculation on how big our Frame of View is for our drone flight;
  • Understand the importance of data sharing and teamwork when researching environmental justice.




We are going to do some Pre-Flight calculations on how big our Frame of View is for our drone flight. We are going to use your camera phone for this, but please know that we can use a drone or even a commercial camera.

  • Set Camera with no zoom (static value) at a location on a tripod, marked with tape on the ground.
  • Stick a tape measure on a flat blank wall: Horizontally: Level.
  • Stand perpendicular to wall and aim camera at middle of tape measure. Use tripod if possible. Make sure the frame of camera does not have “white space” outside of tape measure.
  • How many centimeters are in the picture? Subtract the two sides to get the exact amount: right extreme - left extreme = _cm. * How many cm is the camera from the wall = cm. * Calculate the height / width (swath) ratio: = cm. It should be close to a 1:1 ratio * If you flew 200 meters high above the ground, your swath is 200mx1 = m.
  • Look at the map of the Boys and Girls club on Google Earth Maps. If you wanted to map the entire area with a drone at the height of 100m, how many images would you need? Here I am using google earth with the ruler tool. The length of the G&B club including the parking lot is 269.6 meters across:
  • How many images across will you need? East to west is Latitude
  • Assume you are using the camera on the drone.
  • Multiply the number of images you need for east to west (Lat) , by the number of images you need for North to South (Long) .
  • What is the total amount of images the drone will have to capture if it flies at 100m?
  • Fly the drone: Introduction to Drones: This doesn’t include balloon/Kite mapping, but you should be cautious!

Results: Record the results on the Worksheet for lens calculation.

activities2.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/28 16:40 by jwood