The Precision Technology Specialist students were invited to attend a Geospatial Conference at the MCTEA building on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. This conference was hosted by South Dakota State University and featured representatives from an array of entities in the geospatial field.
The presenters included private industry companies such as Raven Industries, ESRI, and Pro-West as well as governmental bodies such as USGS, GFP, DNR and EROS. The topics included everything from GPS and remote sensing devices to collect the data, to the GIS software to make sense of the data once it has been collected. It was a good opportunity for our students to see how much of what they are learning here can be applied not only in agriculture and construction, but also in fields like forestry, mining, wildlife management, and so on.
The conference also highlighted many of the emerging technologies in the geospatial field. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), a.k.a “drones,” were a major discussion and it was very interesting to hear how they have been used, and are being used, by the Department of the Interior for all sorts of applications. They use the unmanned systems to track wildlife, view soil erosion on a yearly basis, and even fly them into active volcanos to get sulfur readings. It is also interesting to hear that we are not the only ones having difficulty with the FAA and their regulations. All-in-all, they had very informative and worthwhile sessions and it is something we hope the students will see more of in the future.