I teach GIS and mapping at an undergraduate institution (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater) and have recently started integrating drone/UAV mapping into my classes with an emphasis on using UAVs to conduct aerial mapping/remote sensing. I've chosen to use open source/open hardware as much as possible.
As I learn the technology myself, I've been gradually formulating a curriculum for students with several learning objectives:
- capabilities and applications of UAVs for mapping
- field mapping procedures (pre-trip, day of, and post-processing) to collect imagery
- safety and legal issues
I know that many in this community may have concerns about the institutionalization of UAVs, but it's obviously heading that direction and education will be (and is) a key sector of growth.
Our fleet currently includes an Event38 E384 (with training from Event38), two APM-laden Bixler 2s, an newer Pixhawk-based AXON (with a rough start on life: http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/705844:BlogPost:1851955) and a Flite Test Blunt-nosed Versa. We also have a flight simulator on campus to train students before they ever touch the RC controls. We have a local, rural location for flight training and are building relationships with local landowners and county/state property owners to increase our potential research/training locations.
I realize that changing FAA rules may limit/alter what we're able to do, but -- leaving that issue aside for the moment -- any thoughts/comments/concerns about an undergraduate curriculum/training program? Issues/topics to include/exclude?
Sounds like you are being very sensible