Written by UCF Undergraduates Patricia Bencivenga (Sociology) and Tori-Gaye Atterbury (Environmental Studies)

Photo caption: Students listen carefully to safety information and instructions on how to use our Parrot Mambo Mini-Drone controls.

Just a few weeks after our Maps, Apps and Drones tour visited the Hart Memorial Library we dropped by Kissimmee again, but this time on February 23rd, we visited the Buenaventura Lakes Library. We started off Friday afternoon with an explanation of Citizen Science GIS’s mission and our vision for the future. Participants learned the value that drones have to offer for researchers and scientists.

Photo caption: Two lines are formed next to Tori and Patricia as students await their opportunity to become drone pilots.

We thought about and discussed the important role that drone imagery can have when analyzing pre- and post-disaster sites. Many of our students were excited and eager to engage when they began to understand the functionality of high-quality drone imagery leading to the ability to help more people after a disaster. After a safety and instructions rundown on how to fly our mini-drones, we had our participants line up and get ready to fly.

The activity room in the library quickly transformed into a flight space where students could put their newfound knowledge to the test. Each of our pilots flew over two sites and took pre-disaster pictures to collect their data, just as a professional researcher working in the field would. After a disaster was simulated by two of our lucky participants, who were chosen based on their recollection of information discussed during our presentation, our students were able to fly over the sites, take pictures, and collect data yet again, post-disaster.

Photo caption: Jeremiah takes a break after trying out our mini-drones to explore our post-disaster site.

After all the kids were finished mastering their drone piloting skills, parents and volunteers of the Library decided to sharpen their skills as well. Initially, a few appeared somewhat hesitant but as they took the controls, they realized that they were naturals and began enjoying themselves. We had so many enthusiastic first-time flyers who did a phenomenal job at engaging with what they were learning and their inquisitive minds were a real delight.

We look forward to more drone adventures in Kissimmee in the future and we hope to see our eager pilots again soon!



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