Drones Will Map the World in Virtual Reality, Scientist Hopes

Scientist Hopes Drones Can Greater Better Version of Google Maps

3D Robotics and Drone Scientist Gregory Crutsinger is hoping to get a project going that would have drone operators across the planet helping to create a virtual 3D Map of the World that will make Google Maps look like what Google Maps made Mapquest look like.  The project is called Fly4Fall and it is a being run by his company Drone Scholars.


From Discover Magazine

Gregory Crutsinger, a scientist who’s worked for drone companies like 3D Robotics and Parrot, recently started a UAV consulting company called Drone Scholars and is leading a citizen scientist drone project called Fly4Fall. The project’s goals: to survey fall leaves across the world and test crowdsourcing drone data. The bigger goal: to create Google Street View in the sky with drone images.

More Than Just Science

Drone tech has helped researchers discover a lost city and monitor polar bears in the Arctic. Crutsinger also says drones can be useful for studying biogeography, or the distribution of species. But why turn to regular ol’ drone owners to do what scientists could easily do with their own equipment? Well, it can be costly and time consuming. Instead of driving to every farm in the Midwest to capture images, says Crutsinger, a citizen scientists could do the same in a day or two.

Fly4Fall isn’t the first citizen science project to crowdsource drone data. In 2016, California’s Nature Conservancy called upon drone owners to document flooding of the state’s coastline. But that didn’t go over well—people just didn’t capture what the researchers were looking for.

Crutsinger understands the difficulty in collecting good data via citizen science, and he has a few ideas to improve it. One way is by creating a custom app, which could program everyone’s drone to fly and capture data the same way. Then there’s an approach that adds an element of fun.

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