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Library of Alexandria: Google Drones: Some background

December 7, 2012

Google Drones: Some background

WWF just received a $5,000,000 grant from Google's new Global Impact Awards to develop and deploy ,among other things, "remote aerial survey systems" or drones. I thought I would take a stab at explaining the possible origins of this award and hopefully the beginnings of a beautiful partnership between Google and WWF and related conservation organizations.  

Recently I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 2012 WWF Fuller Symposium on Conservation Crime.  There were many great speakers at this event and overall it was a tremendous success. One of the great things about these types of symposiums is that it brings together a wide range of experts that otherwise would not have the opportunity to share ideas and collaborate.

One of the afternoon speakers was Dr. Lian Pin Koh. Dr. Lian Pin Koh is assistant professor of applied ecology and conservation at the ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). 

Dr. Koh's presentation can be viewed here: 

His presentation is amazing and goes into detail about the drones that he and his research partner have slowly developed by utilizing the DIY community.  He explains the evolution of their drones, the potential uses for them, and more.  Definitely worth a view if you have some time. 

The next speaker was Rebecca Moore who was there to speak about the use of geospatial technologies for tracking and reducing conservation crime.  Another amazing presentation which can be viewed here:

At one point, I think before this video begins, Ms. Moore makes a comment about Dr. Koh's drones and that they should talk at some point.  Sure enough at the cocktail reception after the symposium ended the two could be seen off to the side with a laptop and seemed to be having a great time. Now, a few short weeks later, this great news comes out and it feels good just having been present to witness such a wonderful connection between scientists.  I plan to write more on the topic of cross disciplinary scientific collaboration and the ways in which we can get more scientists together who otherwise would never interact. 

Here is a link to WWF's youtube playlist of the symposium.  If you have a few hours and are interested in wildlife crime it is a must watch.



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