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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Students Fly a Drone

On Thursday, September 28th, Hofstra’s IdeaHUb organized a drone demonstration presented by FAA-certified pilot Parker Gyokeres, the owner of Propellerheads Aerial Photography, who has worked with numerous organizations from the UN to ESPN to Nike. The GIS students in attendance were very excited to learn that they were going to be able to try out flying a drone, especially because it relates so much to GIS fields! Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have been instrumental in more efficiently gathering spatial data than previous technology allowed. They are not only less expensive than previous methods, such as flying a plane over the necessary area, but also allow a wider range of people to gather their own data. According to Gyokeres, anyone can learn how to fly a drone!

The drone exhibition started in the IdeaHUb, where Gyokeres presented a PowerPoint highlighting the wide variety of jobs that currently use drones, whether they are related to GIS, emergency response, photography, or moviemaking. He also emphasized the importance of safety—his company has a perfect safety record!—and gave some advice for people who are interested in learning to fly drones. He suggested that those interested should start with practicing on a toy drone in order to get accustomed to flying, because it is something you don’t have to be afraid to crash. After buying a real drone, he also stressed the importance of avoiding showing off, because in his experience, this is usually when someone makes a mistake and crashes.

After the presentation, students were able to join Gyokeres on the soccer field, where he demonstrated flying a few of his drones. He also illustrated the drones’ capabilities by making a map of the field in less than five minutes by setting up a route for the drone to fly and record. In addition, he allowed students to try out flying his drone, and gave them pointers for improvement. Not only was it very informative, but everyone had a lot of fun testing out their drone skills!

Photos courtesy of the Center for Entrepreneurship: