Nebraska faced in 2012 its worst drought since the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression. The least amount of rain fell on the state that summer since records were kept in 1895. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Drone Journalism Lab in collaboration with the UNL NIMBUS lab recently flew an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, carrying a camera, nearly 400 feet above the drought depleted Platte River, an important water source for many Nebraska farms and communities. (October 21, 2012)
Drone Journalism Lab: Why it is time to debate flying cameras
Professor Matt Waite discusses his research into how unmanned copters that carry cameras can be used for news
August 14, 2013 By Sarah Marshall
Last autumn those at the Drone Journalism Lab filmed this video documenting the drought which affected Nebraska last summer, believing they could operate as researchers under hobbyist rules.»We got so little rain and it had a pretty dramatic affect on the landscape,» Prof. Matt Waite said.
The team went out with a small UAV on the Platte River, which runs through the middle of Nebraska.»We flew only about 250 feet in the air, which is below the limit hobbyists can fly, and just aimed the camera up and down the river.
«You could see there was precious little water in the river, it was really just a sandy creek bed, and you could see dead and dry vegetation extended off into the horizon. It was pretty dramatic to do just that: just fly straight up in the air and get a wide look at an event that had massive geographic scale,» Waite said.
«One of the real promises of using drones for journalism,» he explained, «is being able to offer readers and viewers a unique perspective on a news event and help put the scale of it into context in a way that words just can’t do. I think this will be a very useful tool for journalists in the very near future.»… MORE