Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are rapidly emerging as flexible platforms for capturing imagery and other data across the sciences. Many colleges and universities are developing courses on UAS-based data acquisition. Fundamentals of Capturing and Processing Drone Imagery and Data is a comprehensive, introductory text on how to use unmanned aircraft systems for data capture and analysis. It provides best practices for planning data capture missions and hands-on learning modules geared toward UAS data collection, processing, and applications.


  • Lays out a step-by-step approach to identify relevant tools and methods for UAS data/image acquisition and processing.
  • Provides practical hands-on knowledge with visual interpretation, well-organized and designed for a typical 16-week UAS course offered on college and university campuses.
  • Suitable for all levels of readers and does not require prior knowledge of UAS, remote sensing, digital image processing, or geospatial analytics.
  • Includes real-world environmental applications along with data interpretations and software used; exercises in chapters 8 through 19 have support materials for free download.

  • Combines the expertise of a wide range of UAS researchers and practitioners across the geospatial sciences.

This book provides a general introduction to drones along with a series of hands-on exercises that students and researchers can engage with to learn to integrate drone data into real-world applications. No prior background in remote sensing, GIS, or drone knowledge is needed to use this book. Readers will learn to process different types of UAS imagery for applications (such as precision agriculture, forestry, urban landscapes) and apply this knowledge in environmental monitoring and land-use studies.

Part I: Getting Started with Drone Imagery and Data 1. Introduction to Capturing and Processing Drone Imagery and Data 2. An Introduction to Drone Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry 3. Choosing a Sensor for UAS Imagery Collection 4. Mission Planning for Capturing UAS Imagery 5. Drone Regulations: What You Need to Know before You Fly 6. Structure from Motion (SfM) Workflow for Processing Drone Imagery 7. Aerial Cinematography with UAS Part II: Hands-On Applications Using Drone Imagery and Data 8. Planning Unoccupied Aircraft Systems (UAS) Missions 9. Aligning and Stitching Drone-Captured Images 10. Counting Wildlife from Drone-Captured Imagery Using Visual and Semi-Automated Techniques 11. Terrain and Surface Modeling of Vegetation Height Using Simple Linear Regression 12. Assessing the Accuracy of Digital Surface Models of an Earthen Dam Derived from SfM Techniques 13. Estimating Forage Mass from Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Rangelands 14. Applications of UAS-Derived Terrain Data for Hydrology and Flood Hazard Modeling 15. Comparing UAS and Terrestrial Laser Scanning Methods for Change Detection in Coastal Landscapes 16. Digital Preservation of Historical Heritage Using 3D Models and Augmented Reality 17. Identifying Burial Mounds and Enclosures Using RGB and Multispectral Indices Derived from UAS Imagery 18. Detecting Scales of Drone-Based Atmospheric Measurements Using Semivariograms 19. Assessing the Greenhouse Gas Carbon Dioxide in the Atmospheric Boundary Layer