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I have an opportunity to write a grant for my fledgling sUAS Certificate Training program, and I am looking to identify some things that others have found to be important for their programs. I will likely ask for this to be an annual reoccurring grant if possible, so what enterprise level software are others using to support your program?
During our last webinar discussion I learned that some institutions are using a graduated method for getting drones in to the hands of their students, beginning with the Tello and moving up to the larger systems, Spark, Mavic Mini, Mavic Pro, etc. Since my program is currently 100% online, students are required to have their own drone - but I think in this grant I'd like to offer students who successfully pass the FAA Part 107 certification a stipend to help with the purchase of the drone. Alternately, we might want to refund students who successfully pass the 107 Certification the cost of the exam?
This is my first venture into the grant world, so any suggestions would be helpful.
Dr. Eugene Matthews
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice | Program Coordinator for Criminal Justice Administration
Park University | Parkville Campus | Hawley Hall | Room: 406
8700 NW River Park Drive, CMB#114
Parkville, MO 64152
Hi Eugene! Depending on what your intended learning outcomes are, I would look towards a few different software suites. Pix4D is a great tool that allows for local processing and control of imagery. If you want to "get into the weeds" with the process of creating products such as orthomosaics, DTM, contours, etc, this is where I would look to. They also have a great set of informational videos and resources available. I believe they also offer the ability to upload photos to be processed for you and educational pricing.
Drone Deploy allows for a simple photo upload and, after a bit of time (depending on the size of your project), they will send you the results. I think the results are really good, particularly for thermal orthos but there is quite a cost associated with it.
There is some free processing software out there such as Open Drone Maps but there seems to be a steeper learning curve and the interface is a bit rougher.
Pix4d and Drone Deploy also have free flight apps that can be used on Android and IOS tablets/phones. uGCS and Litchi are two great flight softwares that allow planning from a desktop pc but there is a cost. (litchi ~ $20, uGCS ~ $600 for perpetual license).
I think it is a great idea to use a stipend to offset the costs of drones and/or the initial Part 107 exam! It may be easier to justify the cost of the exam to the grant reviewers than it will be to justify the expense to offset the drone purchase.
Have you identified any specifics regarding the intended audience of your program? This may help tailor recommendations for you!