TrueView on Campus: University of Arkansas Fort Smith

Published On: May 31, 2022

The Unmanned Systems Program at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith was launched three years ago and just graduated its first class. Student enrollment in the program has grown 20% each year and continues to increase. They also offer concurrent programs for high school students and are currently the only institution in the state that offers unmanned system career paths.

The Unmanned Systems Program is composed of two separate career paths: Operators Program and Data Analysis. The Operators Program is generally geared toward military operators and/or enlisted personnel who need credit; however, this program can also translate to casual operators who would like to use drones for real estate or causal use. The Data Analysis program is focused on GIS use and what to do with data once it’s collected for areas in utility, land surveying, data management, and more.

“We consider the TrueView™ system as a tool to help tie the two career paths together,” said lead instructor Gary Cude.

Cude has several contacts in the local industry who have expressed a desire for LiDAR mapping skills. Two classes they are offering this year, UAS Imagery and Remote Sensing, will allow students to get more hands-on experience and develop skills that make them workforce ready.

University of Arkansas Fort Smith campus image with the university's logo in the corner

Aerial Mapping & Volumetric Analysis – TrueView 410

Cude is ready to deploy their TrueView 410 3DIS for a list of projects. They have been in touch with the local chief of police to work on a 3D map of the UAFS campus. With the TrueView system's drone LiDAR/imagery integration, they can provide an aerial map of the area to assist with response protocols in case of an emergency.

Cude is also interested in mapping the Marshals Museum near the riverfront during the various stages of construction. By utilizing the TrueView 410 3DIS and EVO post-processing software, students will get hands-on experience with volumetric analysis scenarios. Another one of his goals is to pair small student groups with the local industry leaders for jobsite experience with data collection. 

“Our job as an educational institution is to prepare students for employment. The TrueView system is an asset that will give students a skill. They may graduate and not use LiDAR for five years, but they will be knowledgeable about the technology. The exposure will make them more prepared for the workforce.”