Arizona Geographic Information Council members from across the state descended on two YC campuses this week to supplement their knowledge and training in how geospatial technology can help them identify, understand and protect the state’s natural resources.

According to the American Association For The Advancement of Science, geospatial technologies “is a term used to describe the range of modern tools contributing to the geographic mapping and analysis of the earth and human societies.”

“Geospatial technology enables us to acquire data that is referenced to the earth and use it for analysis, modeling, simulations and visualization,” explained YC Matt Mintzmyer, director of YC’s Aerospace Science and 3D Printing and Manufacturing programs. “In our case, we collect geospatial data using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). We can use the data we collect for a lot of reasons related to natural resources like forests, waterways and rock formations.”

During their first in-person gathering in two years – a spring symposium -- AGIC members watched YC aerospace science professors and students demonstrate UAS, or drones, which are increasingly deployed to photograph and collect natural resource data. The demonstration at the YC Chino Valley Agribusiness and Science Technology Center featured a “remote sensing” (RS) fixed-wing drone flight and an unmanned aerial survey of the 80-acre Chino Valley Center site. Results from the survey were shared during a YC unmanned aircraft system (UAS) presentation on day 2 of the symposium at the YC Career and Technical Education Center.

A member of AGIC, Mintzmyer said the group and its members promote the use of Geographic Information Systems and related technologies such as Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), Global Positioning System (GPS) and UAS to address problems, develop plans and manage the state’s natural and manmade resources.

Jenna Leveille, a deputy state cartographer for the Arizona State Land Department and AGIC administrator, said Council members requested a drone demonstration during their spring symposium and YC was her go-to because of Mintzmyer’s and YC Aerospace Science Professor Spencer Coffin’s contributions to AGIC and their expertise. “They’re all about the UAS and they understand the technology so it really fit well for us to come to this generous place.”

AGIC will return to Prescott this summer for its 2022 Education and Training Symposium.

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