Introducing Scholar Farms: Training for Drone Pilots Who Want to Use Drones in Vegetation Mapping

BY Zacc Dukowitz
18 May 2018

Recently we met Dr. Greg Crutsinger, the founder of Scholar Farms, which is a consultancy that specializes in training for using drones for vegetation mapping.

As drone applications have proliferated over the last few years, vegetation mapping has been adopted in a variety of scenarios.

A little while back we interviewed Dr. Richard Alward, a biologist who uses drones in his work as a plant ecologist. Richard uses data collected by drone to create vegetation maps that help him keep gas and oil companies accountable for the reclamation work they’re supposed to do.

drones-ecology-identifying-plants
A slide from one of Richard’s presentations containing a vegetation map
created with data collected by drone

Researchers are also using drone vegetation data in their work. A while ago we wrote about a study that relied on data collected via aerial thermography to create vegetation maps that were used in the cultivation and phenotyping of cereals.

And of course farmers are using vegetation mapping to optimize yields through precision agriculture.

scholar-farm-drones

About Scholar Farms

Scholar Farms was founded from Greg’s extensive experience in academic research and teaching.

Drones have helped me save lots and lots of time, and they’ve also helped improve accountability for some of these companies that are responsible for restoring the areas where they drilled.

– Dr. Greg Crutsinger

While he was conducting research in the field as a PhD in Ecology and evolutionary biology, Greg caught the drone bug, and he began testing the use of UAVs on plant experiments. He became especially interested in how autonomous drone technology could enable collecting data that could impact agriculture, and how drones would allow sensors to be deployed in new and exciting ways to impact research and assessment throughout a growing season.

Check out our interview with Greg at AUVSI XPONENTIAL this year

Greg became so intrigued by the potential drones presented that he ended up leaving the safety net of academia to pursue his passion for drone technology. He joined the drone industry in 2015 as the Academic Programs Director at 3D Robotics. From there he went on to be a Sales Director at Pix4D and Parrot before founding Scholar Farms.

Scholar Farms‘ core offerings are online trainings for using drones in vegetation mapping. They recently launched Phytomappers Pro, a masterclass for vegetation mapping using drones.

The course was built for professionals, including drone service providers, agronomists, land managers, and researchers. It was built from the ground up, covering drone hardware, sensors, data collection and analytics all related to plants. It also provides a foundation in the theory behind vegetation indices, such as NDVI, and how to use and interpret them. Although the class is focused on plants, it was really built for a broad audience. So, whether you know very little about plants or are a professional agronomist, the course has something to offer everyone.

In addition to Phytomappers Pro, Scholar Farms produces regular video content providing insight on drones and plant mapping. Here are some example videos that might be of interest.

Want to learn more about using a drone for vegetation mapping? Visit the Scholar Farms website now

If you decide to enroll in one of Scholar Farm’s paid courses, make sure to use promo code FARMDRONE50 to get $50 off. (Just a note—this code is only good for 30 days, so it will expire on June 18.)

Want to learn more about what Scholar Farms does? Check out these YouTube videos highlighting their work training drone pilots to do vegetation mapping:

Using georeferenced drone video for crop scouting

Drone-based multispectral mapping of vernal pools in California

Ground-truthing drone data with an iconic ecology experiment

Zacc Dukowitz

Contributing Writer

Zacc Dukowitz is a contributing writer, and the former Director of Marketing for UAV Coach. A writer with professional experience in education technology and digital marketing, Zacc is passionate about reporting on the drone industry at a time when UAVs can help us live better lives. Zacc also holds the rank of nidan in Aikido, a Japanese martial art, and is a widely published fiction writer. Zacc has an MFA from the University of Florida and a BA from St. John's College. Follow @zaccdukowitz or check out zaccdukowitz.com to read his work.

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