AUBURN, Ala.—Calling all forest managers and outdoor aficionados! Registration is now open for SmartMap, a hands-on introductory workshop, providing training for use of smart devices (smart phone and tablets) and UAVs in forest and land management.
What to Expect at a SmartMap Workshop
Dr. Beau Brodbeck, an Alabama Extension regional agent of forestry and wildlife management, said a variety of people can benefit from the SmartMap workshops.
“Whether it be real estate firms, landowners, outdoorsmen or foresters, all can benefit from this workshop,” said Brodbeck. “In this class, they will learn easily adoptable skills for mapping land management of timber, wildlife or recreational pursuits.”
Participants will also learn to collect GPS data in the field, draw maps and capture real-time areal imagery using UAVs. This produces up-to-date aerial imagery that can also integrate into smartphone applications for field work.
These tools have a wide variety of uses. Uses include: forest stand delineations, planting survival checks, post-storm evaluation, harvesting progress, wildlife food plot mapping and also identifying pest infestations.
Additionally, SmartMap workshops help attendees determine how to share the information they collect.
“When a person collects data, they can share it with others. This allows the user to share specific information about the land,” said Brodbeck. “For example, if pine beetles are discovered, the user can map out the infested areas and share this with a forestry consultant. This is more accurate and helpful than saying the pine beetles are somewhere on the back 40.”
Technology: Easy and Affordable
Brodbeck said this technology is not only ease to use, but also affordable.
“The SmartMap workshop uses inexpensive GIS and GPS technology that that is easily adoptable and affordable,” said Brodbeck. “The GIS app, when paired with a Bluetooth GPS, makes smart devices accurate even in rural areas with little or no cellphone coverage.”
The technology is affordable however, compared the cost of traditional technologies.
“The basic cost to implement this technology could be as low as $200. Adding UAVs and the technology that collects real-time aerial images costs more, as it adds the price of recreational UAV,” said Brockbeck. “However, it will prove useful for people needing a better look at their land to make more informed decisions.”
The cost to register is $50 per person, which also includes the cost for lunch.
Registration for the workshop can be done online or by mail. To mail an application send a completed registration form and check made payable to Auburn University (specifying the location and workshop) to:
Office of Professional & Continuing Education
301 O.D. Smith Hall, Auburn, AL 36849
Each workshop will last from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. For more information or to see a list of locations and dates, visit the website at www.AlabamaSmartMap.com.