As the integration and combination of geospatial technology and small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) into nearly every employment sector increases, the demand for skilled technicians to support the multitude of applications is expanding. sUAS, and the ability to collect and analyze high resolution geospatial data on demand are poised to transform businesses, impact safety and security, improve health, and reshape the economy.
sUAS—one of the disruptive technologies of our time—will transform our daily lives over the next few decades as profoundly as the smart phone and the only way to realize the full potential is to grow the industry’s current and future workforce.
The Improving Pathways into the Geospatial and Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technician Workforce (GeoTEd-UAS) project team includes the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC), Germanna Community College, Virginia Tech, and the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).
Administered by the VSGC, the GeoTEd-UAS team was awarded a project grant by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (NSF-ATE) program (NSF #2000715).
GeoTEd-UAS will prepare students for success as sUAS operations technicians (sUAS-OT) and as geospatial technicians. Small UAS-OT duties typically include planning and flying sUAS missions, maintaining sUAS, and processing geospatial data to analyze and solve problems.
Entry-level technician positions in geospatial technology generally include job titles such as geographic information systems (GIS) technician, survey and mapping technician, GIS specialist, spatial data technician and other similar titles. These positions are broadly responsible for developing, creating, and maintaining spatial information layers stored in a GIS. With the emergence of sUAS and their ability to collect geospatial data of many types, the use of sUAS has become a critical data acquisition tool for GT technicians.
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