National Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Project Office
Who We Are
The USGS National Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Project Office was created in May of 2008 to orchestrate an effective evaluation and transfer of UAS technology into the Department of the Interior's (DOI) decision making toolbox. We rely heavily on the lessons learned from many different sources of actual UAS experiences and recommendations including other governmental agencies, state and local entities and academia. This information coupled with the past four years of actual UAS missions by the USGS allows for real-world application of scientific research, wildlife inventories, mapping and surveying, natural hazards and landscape monitoring. The knowledge gained over this time has positioned the UAS Project Office into the forefront of applied UAS technology.
What We Do
When an agency or the academic community comes to us, we are able to provide:
- Guidance on how to coordinate with the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of the Interior - Office of Aviation Services to gain approval of collecting data while operating in the U.S. National Airspace
- Assistance with the UAS flight operations
- Recommendations of sensor type and proper platform selection
- Assistance with efficient UAS flight planning and logistical support
- Assistance with data processing using several different cutting-edge software tools
- Delivery of geospatial products for use in geographic and scientific analysis
How to Get Started
When an cooperator comes to the USGS National UAS Project Office, we require basic information in order to get started. This includes the project proposal, the defined area of interest, and land owner approvals. Below are examples and guidelines for the information we need:
Project proposal or justification for conducting a project including an evaluation of the need for a UAS platform, the benefits of data resolution available from low-altitude UAS flights, efficiency and cost-benefit for utilizing UAS, and identification of all cooperators involved in the project.
Defined geographic area of interest - either in the form of geographic coordinates with a defined boundary or radius and if possible a geographic data file such as a GIS shapefile.
Landowner approval - While not required, the Department of the Interior prefers that the researcher seeks landowner approval whether that is a private land holder or a range approval from the land manager, such as a wildlife refuge or park.