UAV/lidar Data Analytics

This is an unmaintained course material, please see current material at:

Spatiotemporal Analysis with UAV and LiDAR Data

Course description

The course covers monitoring, analysis, and modeling of 3D landscape change using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and lidar data. The principles of UAS data collection, processing of 3D point clouds and the resulting terrain models are explained, followed by hands-on experience with multitemporal data collected by the NCSU NextGen Air Transportation (NGAT) program. The course also covers techniques for analysis and visualization of lidar data time series and outputs of dynamic simulations, including immersive visualization at the Hunt library facilities. The students will also have the opportunity to work with the Tangible Landscape system to explore impact of 3D terrain change on landscape parameters and processes.


Helena Mitasova, see H. Mitasova's MEAS page and home page.
Office hours: Tuesday 1:00 - 1:30pm and Thursday 1:00 - 1:30pm (Monday afternoon is usually also available)
Appointment: please always make an appointment by email
Office: 2127 Jordan hall


None but GIS/MEA582 and/or GIS540 or equivalent courses are recommended.

Educational approach

This course will consist of: lectures, readings, hands-on exercises, homework assignments, and a major project. All the work will be collected within an electronic portfolio that will systematically include the work that you will do for this and other GIS courses. Extra credits will be given for innovative solutions, creativity in problem solving and extensions to given tasks.

Class materials and schedule

See instructions in Schedule, Lectures, and Assignments.


No required textbook, on-line material is used.


GRASS GIS, Agisoft PhotoScan, Trimble Aerial Imaging, OpenDroneMap

Grading policy

40% homeworks, 20% midterm, 40% project
100% is the maximum number of points (total+extra credits) achieved in class. Points are taken off for late submissions.
Grade  Course and each HW
Max     100
A+       97
A        93
A-       90
B+       87
B        83
B-       80
C+       77
C        73


  • Overview 3D mapping technologies
  • Mapping with UAS: principles and regulations
  • UAS monitoring: project planning
  • UAS data acquisition and processing
  • Analysis and modeling with UAS data
  • Working with lidar points clouds
  • Multiple return lidar data analysis and surface modeling
  • Comparison and fusion of UAS and lidar data
  • Management and visualization of multitemporal data in GRASS GIS 7
  • Analysis and visualization of 3D data time series
  • Tangible Landscape: system configuration, creating 3D models
  • Tangible Landscape: applications and student projects

Academic integrity
Overview, Policies, Code of Student Conduct
Attendance policy
in regular section, attendance is checked at each class, see also attendance regulations and university definitions of excused absences
Accommodation of students with disabilities
Disability Services Office