Maps, Apps and Drones: STEM education and critical engagement, outreach to inspire the next generation of applied scientists

Authors: Lain K. Graham*, University of Central Florida, Timothy L. Hawthorne, University of Central Florida
Topics: Geography Education, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: Drones, GIS, geography education, participatory GIS, civic engagement
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Napoleon A1, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Drone technology is an incredible tool for expedient, low-cost, high-resolution mapping, but drones and the imagery produced have a less recognized benefit, an intrinsic power to connect people, to teach, to engage, and to provide a transformative perspective. That is exactly what we at Citizen Science GIS aim to do, in the field and in the classroom, we strive to connect people with technology, to produce open data that is accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds, and areas of interest. We are now bringing the lessons learned from our community-based, applied environmental and social research to the next generation with our Maps, Apps and Drones initiative. Our mission is to bridge the gap between researchers and the public, to build formative relationships with technology through interactive applied experiences. STEM education is at the forefront of our mission, to bring exciting, hands-on activities to classrooms and events, that not only meet state education standards but have real-world applications, intended to excite, inspire and create aware, confident youth, empowered to explore the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Our program challenges youth (and adults) to conduct real pre-and-post-disaster mini-drone flights over a model townscape that they construct out of repurposed materials to simulate the collection of aerial imagery for disaster planning and mitigation. Critical analysis of this process, the logistics involved and the imagery produced teach valuable lessons around disaster preparedness, mitigation and the applications of technology.

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