GIS and Mapping with Drone Imagery

Summer Open
Class Standing
Ryan Richardson
Mike Ruth

This class will instruct students in methods for capturing drone imagery and integrating large drone image collections into a geographic information system (GIS).  Drone images is used in GIS workflows for creating map layers, analyzing the landscape, and creation of story maps. Drones are increasingly deployed for environmental analysis, monitoring forests and wetlands, assessing agricultural productivity, evaluating changes in rivers and shorelines, and 3D modeling of urban settings and infrastructure inspection.  

Each week students will create maps and 3D models of the landscape in a fully hands-on computer-learning experience. The course will cover the integration of ground control points for maximizing spatial accuracy and quality of the map layers. The resulting orthoimages and elevation models can be integrated into other GIS platforms for map-making and creation of story maps.

Evergreen faculty will teach the mission-planning methods for conducting drone flights.  Esri Drone to Map software will be taught, for generating mosaics of drone imagery collections, and integrating hundreds (or thousands) of individual drone photos into a seamless GIS image layer and map.  Students will learn to combine drone images which are captured by Evergreen's multispectral drone, and use spectral analysis methods to assess vegetation health and landscape and land cover properties, including creation of vegetation index-layers used by researchers and land managers for characterizing farms and forests, marine vegetation, and many other natural environments.

All students will be granted software licenses to the required software at no cost, for conducting the image processing workflows. Students will have access to use Evergreen's scientific computing lab. 

No previous GIS knowledge is required to take this course. There is no prerequisite to take this course. Students who are also taking the "Flying with Drones" course concurrently, will find this course to be a natural follow-on toward learning the scientific application of drone imagery and GIS integration.

Graduate students will be required to design and execute an independent learning project for presentation at the final class meeting. 


Course Reference Numbers
Full Session (6): 40121
GR Full Session (6): 40122

Academic Details

This offering is connected to the undergraduate-level Flying and Mapping with Drones Certificate ( and the graduate-level Flying and Mapping with Drones Certificate (…) at Evergreen.

Land management, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), marine environmental management, environmental monitoring and protection, wildlife and habitat studies, invasive plant remediation, infrastructure and transportation, construction planning, real estate, travel marketing. 


$50 required lab fee


In Person (Su)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details
Evans Hall 2612 - Windows / Linux Lab