USGS - science for a changing world

Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center


The GECSC is also home to a wide range of leading edge technological labs and offices. These facilities provide support to both the center and other USGS, DOI, and federal agencies.


USGS National Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Project Office

The USGS National Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Project Office is part of the Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center (GECSC) in Denver CO, and is an operational component of the Climate and Land Use Change Land Remote Sensing Program. It was established on May 8, 2008 based on the successful completion of an Emerging Technology Investigation into the potential use of UAS to benefit the DOI and USGS missions.

The goal of the office is to support the integration of UAS technology into the process employed by USGS scientists to support informed decision making across the Department of the Interior. This integration will directly benefit the nation by creating the opportunity for USGS and our partners to gain access to more cost effective monitoring of earth surface processes (forest health conditions, monitoring wildfires, earthquake zones, invasive species, etc.) in areas that have been difficult or nearly impossible to obtain information before. Office staff work closely with partners from USGS, DOI, NOAA, DoD, DHS, NASA and academia to apply UAS technology in support of specific and overlapping missions. As part of this support the office, in coordination with the DOI Office of Aviation Safety (OAS), has acquired Raven and T-Hawk small UAS systems (valued at nearly $15M) from the Department of Defense to conduct proof-of-concept projects; develop UAS operator training; and establish and implement a process for submitting Certificate of Authorization (COA) requests to the Federal Aviation Administration.

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