Karen says that, put together, all of this drone data can be used to answer questions about the world around us. But she says the trick is knowing what questions to ask.
“It’s not necessarily about the data, but it’s about the insights you can gain from it,” Karen says. “It’s no good having a tonne of data if you don’t have questions that you want answered.
“You want to use those data points to help you form some sort of insight or information, because that’s where the real value is. Unless you actually have the questions that the data can help you solve or give you insights, then it’s just a soup of numbers. You need to have the questions from the start.”
While Karen says she will continue to use drones to support reef research at JCU and other scientific endeavours, she’s keen to see the future of drones and the ways that GeoNadir can support that.
“We already have drone deliveries occurring here in Australia. There are a couple of places in QLD and the ACT where they deliver burritos or coffee, things like that,” she says.
But Karen says even these developments are about more than convenient delivery of your daily caffeine fix. “It’s not just the drone delivery that is important; they’re also developing the systems and the processes to figure out what it’s going to be like to be able to scale the capabilities of drones and deliver all sorts of things across populated places in the future,” she says.
Drones, and even their automation, are part of our future. “These developments are also something that’s happening in the medical sphere, such as delivering vaccines, taking samples from people who are unwell, and there’s even a defibrillator drone. There are all sorts of ideas and innovations that are being tested along the way.
“As people become more comfortable with drones and discussing their automation, we’re going to see faster adoption of the technology. With that, more regular drone use will see even more data that can support scientific research in the future.”
Want to learn more about drones and geospatial technology? Follow along with some of Karen’s work on her Youtube channel or GeoNadir’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. Learn more about how you can create, connect and collaborate with JCU Ideas Lab.