Students study use of unmanned aircraft; study applications to reporting on the environment

By David Poulson

Michigan State University environmental journalism students recently observed a practice flight of an unmanned aircraft over a university farm field.

Researchers are preparing to use the craft to analyze the health of grass for a turf management company. The project is undertaken by the university’s Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems program.

The journalism students are studying the applications of such craft – popularly known as drones – and how they can be used to cover environmental news stories.

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Robert Goodwin, the unmanned aerial systems project manager for MSU's Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems program, explains a training flight to journalism students.

Robert Goodwin, the unmanned aerial systems project manager for MSU’s Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems program, explains a training flight to journalism students. Image: David Poulson

MSU environmental journalism students watch as Goodwin programs flight. Image: David Poulson

MSU environmental journalism students watch as Goodwin programs a flight. Image: David Poulson

Goodwin and geographic information analyst Joe Welsh  get ready for launch. Image: David Poulson

Goodwin and geographic information analyst Joe Welsh get ready for launch. Image: David Poulson