NEW Workshop!

Location:  Virtual (Zoom)!!!
What: 3-day workshop. Mapping with Drones
Who: Extension agents / specialists, Private Industry, Natural resource professionals, Planning professionals, Public safety professionals, Agricultural operators, Educators, Realtors, Inspection teams, etc.
Topic: Mapping with Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)
Online Registration: Registration for spring 2021 workshops has closed. We are in the process of scheduling summer and fall workshops (credit card or e-check payments accepted).
When*:  This is a 3 day workshop.  Five workshop options are available:

  • DecemberAs of 11/18/20, registration for the December workshop option is closed.
  • January As of 12/8/20, registration for the January workshop option is closed.
  • February –  As of 02/01/21, registration for the February workshop option is closed.
  • March 8 – 10, 2021 Registration for the March workshop option is closed.
  • April 27 – 29, 2021  Registration for the April workshop option is closed.

*General agenda: Day #1, 9:00 – 5:00 | Day #2, 9:00 – 5:00 | Day #3, 9:00 – 4:00 with breaks for coffee & lunch

This was by far one of the best training programs I have attended in my 30+ years of Extension work. The instructors were extremely well prepared and knowledgeable.                                               -VCE Agricultural Extension Specialist

Cost: General registration for the 3-day Mapping with Drones Workshop is $150. Through the support of VirginiaView, Virginia Cooperative Extension Agents are eligible for a discounted registration cost of $25 (first come, first serve).  Workshop materials & supplies will be mailed to participants.  Since mailing books and other handout material will be mailed to each participant, participants are encouraged to complete the registration process (and payment) at least 1 month in advance of each workshop. Major credit cards or e-check payment options are accepted via Virginia Tech’s secure online system.

Workshop Summary
Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) are permeating many sectors of industry, and are increasingly being employed as data collection platforms to support of an array of applications. Applications span disciplines and industries and can include: planning, natural resource management, marketing, inspection of structures, agricultural production, permitting, and public safety. Specific sensors can be used to tailor application needs. Flights can be scheduled and conducted under short notice to accommodate weather, and temporal considerations. sUAS operations support efficient workflows and provide opportunities for ‘data on demand’.

This is an intensive, yet introductory level workshop, and can be considered a ‘drone boot camp’. No previous knowledge or experience with drones, sUAS, or GIS is required. This 3-day workshop will provide participants with the following:

  • An understanding of FAA and sUAS lingo;
  • A comprehensive knowledge of current federal commercial sUAS regulations;
  • In-depth discussions of sUAS platforms (fixed wing and multi-rotor), sensors (including true color, NIR, multispectral, thermal), and associated applications;
  • sUAS project workflows, including;
    • Compliance with FAA regulations and safe operation and management practices;
    • An overview of sUAS operation planning software, check sheets, and smartphone apps;
    • A comprehensive presentation and demonstration of image processing software techniques and options (image mosaics, NDVI, etc.

Workshop Outcomes

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will:

  • be prepared to take (and pass) the FAA’s Remote Pilot Knowledge Test (aka Part 107);
  • gain knowledge to identify applications that may be appropriate for sUAS data collection;
  • understand the steps required to plan, conduct, and document a commercial sUAS operation safely and legally;
  • gain knowledge required to identify suitable platforms and sensors to support application needs;
  • generate image mosaics that are compatible with numerous software applications (including GIS, remote sensing, etc.) using drone imagery.

Online registration for the spring 2021 workshops is currently closed.  We are in the process of scheduling summer and fall workshops (major credit cards & e-check are accepted).

  • After you submit your online registration, you will receive further information about the workshop (login information, etc.).
  • All workshop options are conducted through ZOOM.
  • Space is limited.
  • There is a limited number of subsidized registrations for VCE agents.
  • Questions associated with the workshop should be directed to John McGee ( or Daniel Cross (

Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law.
If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact John McGee (307C Cheatham Hall, Blacksburg, VA) at (540) 231-2428 /TDD*or during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations at least 5 days prior to the event.
*TDD number is (800) 828-1120