EAE5065 - Drones and digital mapping in earth science - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Sandy Cruden


Professor Sandy Cruden
Associate Professor Steven Micklethwaite

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


Enrolment in the Master of Science




This unit will provide post-graduate students with an overview of how drones (unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs), photogrammetry and digital mapping tools are being applied in the Earth Sciences. The unit will be taught as a series of hands on workshops and projects. Workshops and associated projects will cover UAV operations, survey design, sensor technology, 3D photogrammetric model calculations using structure from motion software, data extraction from point clouds and ortho-images, and digital mapping. Student projects will be designed to prepare students for use of UAVs for applications in geology, geophysics and environmental Earth Science. Students will develop skills in data acquisition, synthesis and analysis, geological and environmental interpretation, critical and lateral thinking using diverse digital image data.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Ability to work in a team environment
  2. Oral presentation skills.
  3. Geoscience and environmental reporting skills
  4. Ability to integrate multiple large datasets to synthesise and interpret geological and environmental information.


Acquisition of UAV survey and digital mapping data, generation of a geometrically and geographically referenced photogrammetric model: 25%

Photogrammetric modelling, analysis of 3D point cloud and orthoimagery, and digital mapping: 30%

Independent project: 15%

Final report and presentation: 30%

This unit is offered at both Level 4 and Level 5, differentiated by the level of the assessment. Students enrolled in EAE5065 will be expected to demonstrate a higher level of learning in this subject than those enrolled in EAE4065. The assignments in this unit will use some common items from the EAE4065 assessment tasks, in combination with several higher level questions and tasks.

Workload requirements

  • One 3-hour workshop per week consisting of lectures and student presentations
  • Nine hours of independent study per week

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Masters of Science (Earth Science)