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First Graduate-Level GIS Course in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Offered at the University of Denver This Summer

This summer, the University of Denver is offering “UAV for GIS,” the first graduate-level course in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) as they relate to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). An emerging technology, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are used in GIS for mapping, data collection, and high quality imagery.

“You always wonder what ‘the next big thing’ is going to be—well, this is it,” said Steven Hick, GIS Director and faculty member at the University of Denver. “We haven’t had something so innovative staring us in the face like this since GPS was introduced in the late 90s. This is a game changer in how we do business and data collection.”

The course will introduce GIS students to the emerging world of using UAVs in the GIS workplace for data collection and research. In addition to learning about collecting data, students will also gain skills in basic aviation, safety, and mission planning. The course culminates in an actual demo flight, during which students will participate, outside of class, in a demonstration showing how a UAV can collect data for GIS purposes.

“There is so much good that can be done with these marvels of technology; everything from precision agriculture, which could help increase crop yields, structure inspections and of course GIS. I believe the advent of UAVs is as profound as the internet was in the early 90s,” said Joe Falconer, course instructor, Pilot-in-Command, and CEO of Aerial Data Systems, a data collection company specializing in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and training.

The online course “UAV for GIS” started June 9 and runs for ten weeks with a follow-up course on Digital Image Processing planned for the fall quarter.  For more information on these courses or other programs at the University of Denver, please call 303-871-2291 or visit

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