UAS parts

The First UAS Hands on
Open-Format Training Session
Optimizing UAS equipment and data interpretation for environmental research applications through guided mentorship


October 17-21, 2017; 09:00 - 17:00 daily
Reno, NV
Cost: Free, first come, first serve, with limit of 25 registrants each day.
Food and housing: students make arrangements.

Workshop registration

Bring your ideas, your machines, your data, your problems. We will have a lab full of experts, hardware, software, and a place to test-fly your equipment. The CTEMPs staff and participants from across the country will help work through your issues and make sure that you find success in getting critical observational data from unmanned flying platforms. Lectures on RTK GPS, flight control systems/mission planning, hardware specifications will be provided on an “as requested” basis. People can come or go as they need in the period of the Open Session, according to their schedules and needs.


  • Basic sUAS operations, technology progression, mission planning, and hiccups

  • Selection and tuning of flight platforms, sensors, cross-validation, sensor-flight controller interfaces, and gimbal

  • Post-processing, QA-QC of data collection, and rapid workflows for iterative experimental design

  • Logistics and lessons learned on sUAS-delivered sensors for environmental research: from localization, quantification, to scaling processes.

  • Site preparation (monument survey, optical reference targets, reference sensors)


Hands on activities

  • UAS remote sensing mission: Planning, imaging, and image processing from a half-day field data collection session

  • sUAS and gimbal hardware (3-D printed components, tear down, rebuild, test)

  • Sensor pre-calibration and verification.

  • Flight planning with imager considerations (Mission Planner; Universal Ground Control Station)

  • sUAS flying for mapping (weather permitting)

  • Image stitching (visible, multispectral, thermal) and validation

  • Development of DEM’s based on structure from motion and LIDAR obtained from sUAS


Field data collection
Beginning on day two of the training, we will begin to plan for a UAS remote sensing image mission in a nearby area. On day three, we will visit the field site and collect imagery with a UAS. On day four, we will process and analyze the imagery. This applied field exercise should be very helpful for participants in understanding the requirements and workflow of a UAS remote sensing operation.


  • Custom builds vs. integrated commercial solutions

    • Custom builds: flexible sensor attachments vs. expertise

    • DJI: sensor limited (high quality imagery and thermal)

  • Flight controllers

    • Considerations

      • Sensor redundancy and quality: GPS and IMU

      • Open (Pixhawk) vs. closed (DJI N3/A3/A2)

  • Emerging sensors and processing


Daily BBQ lunch (open grill) as part of the community building aspect of the event.

Instructors: Scott Tyler, Henry Pai, Michael Wing, Jonathan Burnett, Marja Haagsma, Cara Walter, John Selker, and YOU!


The National Science Foundation Division of Earth Sciences Instrumentation and Facilities Program, CTEMPsOregon State UniversityUniversity of Nevada Reno

Registration: To reserve a space, fill out online form above, or contact Annie Ingersoll (541-737-2041 or Registration is not binding until payment is received.

Cost: This is a community-building, experimental participant-engaged event. CTEMPs will cover all the on-site costs (coffee, BBQ-lunches, venue). Participants will make their own travel, housing, breakfast, and dinner arrangements. Special consideration will be given to participants who bring fun food etc. to share.

Location: Reno, Nevada


Travel: Self-organized


Internet access: Yes