Integrating Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Data Analysis Credentials into a Geospatial Science and Technology Degree Program
This project will develop a new standards-based and industry-validated data analytics curriculum that integrates unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into an existing geospatial technology degree program. Innovations in UAV technology have increased the types and volume of data that can be collected for use by industries such as agriculture, law enforcement, environmental monitoring and remediation, and utilities. However, to inform these industries, the collected data must be analyzed and interpreted. Recent investments by New York State and private industry in Central New York have increased the demand for UAV-related research, development, and innovation. It has also increased the demand for technicians skilled in UAV data analysis and interpretation. This project will develop new stackable credentials, including a micro-credential and certificate, that will be embedded within an associate of applied science degree in Geospatial Science and Technology. These credentials will be designed to meet the needs of traditional students, adult learners, and industry. The project will also develop applied learning, outreach, and engagement activities to broaden participation in the program, including participation of women and economically disadvantaged individuals. In this way, the project has the potential to increase the number and diversity of individuals entering the UAV/geospatial technology workforce, where they can have stable careers with compensation that is higher than the living wage level.
This project aims to meet industry needs for a technical workforce with competencies in analyzing and applying geospatial and UAV-collected data, as well as to broaden participation in the field. The project will develop a new UAV-data analytics curriculum that includes a 24-credit certificate program and a three-course micro-credential, both of which will be embedded within a Geospatial Science and Technology (GST) associate of applied science degree program. The GST degree program includes courses in geographic information systems, remote sensing, cartography, and quantitative analysis that will be bolstered by and complement the new UAV curriculum. The project will conduct a Developing a Curriculum (DACUM) analysis and use the results to develop the stackable credentials. The DACUM results will be shared with the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence and made available as an open resource to other academic institutions. The project will also develop new data sets and UAV-data analytics lab exercises to collect raw data using a UAV equipped with a variety of sensors. The varied data will be used to introduce students to the broad range of problems they will analyze in different industry sectors, such as using UAV technology to determine the extent of apple tree fungus or to inspect utility lines. The project will recruit new students into GST and UAV-data analytics by developing informational materials, conducting outreach to incumbent workers through employer partners, and expanding the college's partnership with a local 9-12 high school in Syracuse, New York, that has 83% of its students qualifying for free lunch and is classified as 'economically disadvantaged' by the New York State Department of Education.