About two weeks ago we had a post inspired by a Wired Magazine cover package of stories on small drone flying machines available commercially at prices pretty low considering their abilities. It was well done. I lamented however the scant attention it paid to uses that easily fit ksjtracker's writ. The post asked readers to suggest any good examples of news stories they've seen, or written, of these back-packable aerial instrument bundles doing science-related work.
Just got a few from a one-time investigative journalist, and still a media consultant on the side, Matthew Shroyer. He id's himself as founder of DroneJournalism.org and head of the Drones for Schools program (NSF-funded). His offering includes a sample from his own website, MentalMunition.com. I've not scrutinized the site but the most recent item there discusses need for a code of ethics among drone journalists. We've all met drone-like reporters but that's not what he means. It does explain this post's illus.
Thank you sir and here are the stories he provides:
- Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Reba Lean: UAF researchers use drones to evaluate sea ice thickness at Nome and aid incoming tanker ; An episode during the adventure last winter at Nome, where packed sea ice (yes, there's still enough of that up there in the dark months) left the town so low on fuel oil an emergency shipment via Russian tanker with a US Coast Guard icebreaker escort became necessary. The application is not exactly new science, but the operators were from a University of Alaska team that routinely uses drones for research.
- News.com.au/The Advertiser (Adelaide) - Miles Kemp: Eye in sky filming our rubbish shame ; Researchers from the nation's primary science agency are circumnavigating the continent, their goal to document human trash and other crud on the beaches with help of a little drone. Date to help estimate environmental impact on marine life. Describes what they are doing, not much about the twin-nacelle, four-rotor bird they're using.
- MentalMunitionFactory - Matthew Schroyer: Images from Drone Causes Federal Investigation ; Schroyer did a little reporting, and also rounds up (in fine tracker style) coverage in both major media and in a trade pub. of a pig blood and stream pollution incident in Texas. What happened is this: man tests drone, gets pics of what looks like red stuff entering a creek near a packing plant, tips off authorities, hidden drain pipe revealed, packing plant in big trouble.
Schroyer says he'd be pleased if anybody planning to write about drones in science gives him a call. He has lots more.
- Charlie Petit