Northeastern Section - 53rd Annual Meeting - 2018

Paper No. 54-7
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


TEWKSBURY, David A., Department of Geosciences, Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Rd, Clinton, NY 13323-1218

Twelve plus years ago, in response to the growth of GIS in the geosciences, Hamilton Geosciences began to integrate GIS projects into our core classes, and the program has grown to the point where not only is GIS integrated into most of our core classes, we also offer a semester-long GIS for Geoscientists course. With the growth of UAV technology it seems like déjà vu all over again.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) offer new ways to collect imagery and other data sets to enhance geological research and, like GIS, is technology that we should be offering our students access to and training with both the hardware and Structure from Motion (SfM) software. With this goal in mind, Hamilton Geosciences is developing Standard Operating Procedures for using UAVs for both classwork and senior project data collection that are in accordance with FAA Part 107 and Hamilton College's developing campus-wide UAV policy.

We have begun by collecting imagery and derived products of stream channel morphology for sections of the local Oriskany Creek, which is prone to high water events and flooding particularly due to entrainment and damming by woody debris. New York State flew one-foot, 4 band orthoimagery in April 2017. These data were collected before a major July flooding event and provides a perfect “before” set of images. Data collected with a Phantom 4 Pro in early December of two sections of Oriskany Creek provide high resolution “after” images. UAV images incorporate ground control points (GCPs) with associated coordinates to allow precise georeferencing of the imagery to the April NYS imagery. Orthoimagery shows dramatic changes in channel morphology in the two flown sections of the creek with marked erosion, deposition of point bar deposits and movement of large uprooted trees and associated debris. In the derived DEMs, terrace features that developed during high water flow are visible as well.

With the goal of expanding UAV use within the Geosciences Department, this initial work has put us on the right track. We are developing our program in full compliance with Part 107 rules, a well thought-out set of SOPs, and support from the local Highway Superintendent, Physical Plant Director of Grounds, and the College Administration.

  • Tewksbury_NE_GSA_2018_OPT.pdf (5.5 MB)
  • Tewksbury_UAV additional materials.pdf (511.9 kB)
  • Tewksbury_AOPA_airspace_reference.pdf (97.6 kB)