Interactive online course


from £599


11 & 12 October 2023

The feedback on the online course on 21 & 22 April 2021 was 97% positive.


Interactive online course 


11 and 12 October 2023 ( 9:30 am - 5 pm)

There will be a short software familiarisation session on Thu 5 October 2023 (2-4 pm)


Students: £599            

Professionals £649

Sign up online now! online registration link (debit or credit card required)

Please continue to express your interest in courses at other locations here. 

We now also offer Using drones to map habitats - on demand - a self-paced course with immediate access (from £349)

Short course description:

This two-day interactive course will give you the basic skills to take images collected from a UAV platform such as a quadcopter, process the images into a scene suitable for image processing, and generate classified images. We will talk you through the steps necessary to produce high-quality and accurate maps suitable for the mapping of vegetation and landforms. You will do exercises in virtual breakout rooms.

It will cover the following topics:

  • Basic UK Civil Aviation Authority guidelines and the law
  • Drone technology
  • Planning a drone survey
  • Structure from motion - image stitching software
  • Image classification

Course objectives:

  1. Gain skills to create high-quality and spatially accurate habitat classification maps from data you have captured using your UAV platform.
  2. Learn how to create digital elevation and surface models.
  3. Learn how to process these data to map the heights and locations of trees and vegetation or other features
  4. Learn how to operate your UAV platform within the law
  5. Gain  insight into some of the problems you may encounter when flying your aircraft
  6. Learn how to bring together the data collected by your aircraft into a spatially accurate and informative map suitable for mapping habitats and change.

Target audience:

  • Environmental consultants
  • Nature conservation practitioners
  • PhD students and Early Career Researchers
  • Academics working on Earth Observation


Intermediate - Course participants should be familiar with the manipulation and fusion of spatial data, GIS and/or image processing and UAV platforms for data capture.



Hardware and software requirements:

You will need to bring a laptop.

Minimum system requirements for Windows

  • Windows 8 or newer
  • 64bit CPU with MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3 and SSSE3 instruction set support or higher (was your CPU manufactured in the last 10 years?)
  • 20 GB free disk space
  • 4 GB RAM (recommended 16GB RAM)

 Minimum system requirements for macOS

  • macOS 10.15 or newer. Apple Silicon (M1) is supported.
  • Mac hardware must be a 2010 or newer model and support virtualization.
  • 20 GB free disk space
  • 4 GB RAM (recommended 16GB RAM)

We will use a number of different software for the different stages of processing the images. Key data management principles will apply to whatever software you are using.

  • Spatial analysis software QGIS 3.18+ (free open source)
  • Open-source photogrammetric software for processing digital images.  

Some prior knowledge of these will be an advantage, but not essential to benefit from the course. We will provide instructions on where to locate this software and how to install it about 2-3 weeks before the course starts.

Course leader:

Charles George, Earth Observation Scientist, UKCEH, will support the practical exercises. He is very experienced in using ArcGIS, Photoscan and R.

Previous course participants said:

The feedback on the online course on 21 & 22 April 2021 was 97% positive.

"I loved the Metashape exercise, it was exciting producing a 3D model from the photos and the opportunity to ask about how I can transfer these skills and apply them to my own research was invaluable. Paul and Charles were simply excellent, friendly and engaging." (Jon Tinsley, Queen's University Belfast, April 2021)

"I have learned a lot so this has been a very useful course & would recommend it. "

"I have gained a thorough overall understanding of the process and potential challenges to create habitat maps from drones. This understanding will be very helpful when I use drone data products. Thank you!"

"The course has a nice blend of exercises and lectures - I liked being able to practice a skill just after learning about it."

"Thanks for a very interesting course - lots of good materials and scripts to refer back to as well."