What you need to know about drones

CSUN Geography Club members Dannon Dirgo and Mirna Habib, try out the Inspire Drone during an initial test flight at Sierra Hall. Photo by Amalie Orme.

CSUN Geography Club members Dannon Dirgo and Mirna Habib, try out the Inspire Drone during an initial test flight at Sierra Hall. Photo by Amalie Orme.

BY VANESSA SAENZ

What Is a Drone?

Formally known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), drones are essentially a flying robot.

They are remotely controlled or can fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systems working in conjunction with onboard sensors and GPS.

 

How Are Drones Used?

Drones have been more often than not associated with the military, used for anti-aircraft target practice, intelligence gathering and as a weapons platform.

Now they are used for a range of activities from search and rescues, surveillance, traffic monitoring, weather monitoring, firefighting, drone-based photography, videography, weddings, agriculture and even delivery services to name a few.

According to Amalie Orme, a geography professor, the sustainability and geography departments are utilizing a new drone program which was initiated in 2015-2016 for environmental mapping purposes on campus. Their goal is to identify areas of campus, which are “hot” spots, and advise on mitigation measures to develop a thermally sustainable campus.

 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Says...

You do not need their permission to fly a drone, but you must fly it safely. Just follow these regulations:

You must be 13 years or older and a United States citizen or legal permanent resident and have read and understood all safety guidelines!

You must register your drone and label it with your registration number! Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years.
 

What You’ll Need:

  • email address

  • credit or debit card

  • physical address and mailing address

 

For Drones Weighing:

  • more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds - online

  • more than 55 pounds - by paper

 

Top Places to Fly Your Drones:

DISCLAIMER — always review local and state park ordinances and no-fly zone areas before flying.

Lake Balboa Park, Van Nuys, CA

Rose Bowl Lot H, Pasadena, CA

Elysian Park, Los Angeles, CA

Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA

Lake Hollywood park, Los Angeles, CA

Echo Park Lake, Los Angeles, CA

Hermosa Beach Pier, Hermosa Beach, CA

Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA

Topanga State Park, Topanga, CA

Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA

 

Classes on Campus:

CSUN will be initiating drone classes in the Geography and Environmental Studies majors during a trial run in 2017-2018.

 

Drone Clubs:

On Campus: CSUN Geography Club

Off Campus: San Fernando Valley Flyers

 

The Phantom 4 Professional and Inspire drones being used for environmental mapping of the CSUN campus by the geography department and sustainability department. Photo by Sean Robison.

The Phantom 4 Professional and Inspire drones being used for environmental mapping of the CSUN campus by the geography department and sustainability department. Photo by Sean Robison.

6 of the Best Drones You Can Buy:

  • Best Toy Drone with a Camera: Syma X5c Explorers — $52.99

  • Best for the Whole Family: Parrot Bebop Drone 2 — $426.74

  • Best for Selfies: Yuneec Breeze 4K — $449.99

  • Best on a Budget: DJI Phantom 3 Standard — $499.00

  • Best for Travelers:DJI Mavic Pro — $999.00

  • Best Consumer Drone: DJI Phantom 4 — $1,199.00Helpful Websites for Lessons or Information:

 

Websites for Lessons and Information:

  • DARTdrones

  • udemy.com

  • usdronetraining.com

  • dronetraininghq.com

  • skillshare.com (free)

  • faa.gov/uas