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UENR organises first ever workshop on Eco-drones

The University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) organised the first ever workshop on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (eco drones) on February 25, 2014 at the University Auditorium. The workshop was well attended by participants from among the faculty members of UENR, Sunyani Polytechnic, Catholic University and officers from the Brong Ahafo Forestry Commission, Ghana National Fire Service and selected media houses.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor (Mrs) Esi Awuah, in her welcome address stated that the workshop was to herald the establishment of a Centre for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles at UENR in collaboration with the Lakehead University- Centre for the Application of Resources Information Systems (LU-CARIS) Canada. The UAV Centre will be the first of its kind in any university in Ghana and will complement the work of the GEONETCast Centre in the dissemination of near real time spatial data. She hinted that preparations were underway for a summer internship programme between Lakehead University’s Faculty of Natural Resource Management and UENR’s School of Natural Resources to build capacity on the use of eco-drones. She added that expert knowledge in the use of eco drones was very relevant to UENR as the university seeks to commence its Bachelor’s programme in Fire and Disaster Management in the 2014/2015 academic year.  She charged participants to make effective use of the workshop so as to make informed decisions about the nation’s natural resource management.

The facilitator for the workshop, a resource expert from LU-CARIS, Mr. Alexander M. Bilyk took participants through the component systems of the eco drones as a system of an aircraft with an onboard computer and sensors with an ability to fly autonomously to gather information. He highlighted on the application of eco drones in countries such as Canada, Nepal and other European and Southern American countries for the effective assessment of soil and water samples, mapping, detection of illegal loggings, poaching and spread of massive wildfires. He explained how the eco drones technology could effectively be used in Ghana to tackle similar samples since eco drones are relatively low cost and low impact solution to environmental managers working in a variety of ecosystems.