Newswise — Drone use has escalated in recent years. This popular hardware is revolutionizing how companies, governments, and researchers conduct their work. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (Alliance) is excited to partner with Esri, the world leader in location intelligence technology, during the Gulf of Mexico Alliance’s annual 2019 All Hands conference. Attendees learn how to use drone imagery with Esri’s Drone2Map software, taking imagery and video and turning them into valuable data products.

Flying drones is not just for hobby enthusiasts. The drone’s aerial perspective can provide users new insights into problem-solving. It allows anyone, from a habitat scientist mapping invasive species to an emergency manager trying to look for storm damage, to analyze a situation and easily communicate back to those in need. Drone2Map helps users identify unique features and create 2D and 3D mosaics from drone photography. These new data products can prove critical insight when making expensive management decisions.

The Drone2Map workshop is part of a schedule of events with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance’s annual 2019 All Hands conference, located at The Lodge at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The Alliance network includes a vast partnership with representatives from businesses, federal agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, state and local governments. The Alliance, All Hands conference, provides an inclusive opportunity for these differing interests to work together.

“The Alliance community has many Esri customers already in their membership, so we can help integrate existing data and technology, with the newer tools like Drone2Map,” said Drew Stephens, Esri industry manager for ocean and coastal environments. “Collaborating with the Alliance helps us understand what the larger Gulf of Mexico community needs are, so we can help develop best practices for these coastal communities.”

Of the many issues the Alliance addresses, data and monitoring are crucial to providing up to date information. A dedicated team provides guidance and coordination among partners on monitoring, mapping, and data sharing. Members of the Alliance staff and Data and Monitoring Team were invited to Esri’s Ocean GIS Forum in 2018.

“Our relationship with Esri formalized when we collectively realized Esri brings the technical expertise we need, while the Alliance provides the regional relationships, that they are looking for to get things accomplished,” said Laura Bowie, Executive Director for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. 

Each year, the Alliance’s Data and Monitoring Team facilitates a Tools Café that allows All Hands participants to showcase tools that address issues such as coastal resilience, water resources, and marine debris. Esri took their partnership with the Alliance one step further by sponsoring the event.

Learn more about the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and 2019 All Hands on .