(Winter Springs, FL) On Tuesday, September 25 students at Indian Trail Middle School learned the benefits of using drones and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) for science and the community during their STEM day festivities (HUGE shout out to Nicole Spain for her hard work organizing!). Through the efforts of Citizen Science GIS the students were able to see and compare differences between imagery from drones versus satellites. For example, drones can provide higher resolution images, and the footage can be more up to date than that of satellite imagery. 

Now to put the science into action! 

Every student who visited the interactive lab got the opportunity to fly a mini drone through an obstacle course. After a quick talk on safety measures and the controls of the drones, which are surprisingly similar to the drones used for actual GIS mapping, the students took complete control over maneuvering the drones through the media center. While the tasks were difficult at times—and of course, crashes were inevitable—the students were able to learn from their mistakes and press on.  

Below is a photograph of the students interacting with a virtual sandbox. Through the activity, students were able to visualize the effects of erosion on landscapes, as well as other events that can cause a change in how an area appears. Also, the students had free reign on designing their landscapes, adding buildings, and seeing the effects of rainfall and flooding on various terrains. All in all, the event allowed students to get excited about science and see how GIS mapping can help us better understand the layout of landscapes.  


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