This course will introduce the main principles behind UAV flight control, data capture, image processing and data interpretation through a set of practical case studies. Read more Read less

Small-scale Vertical Take Off (VTO) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are emerging as a key engineering tool for future environmental survey tasks.

UAV aerial imagery offers both timely (on-demand) and more detailed (higher resolution) information than comparable satellite imagery.

At a glance

Course structure

Theoretical concepts will be covered in the first two days. Hands on practical case studies based on environmental applications will be used to illustrate theoretical concepts.

What you will learn

This five day course will cover the principles of UAV flight control (theory and practice), image processing (data capture and analysis) and data interpretation (using data from different case studies). The course will strengthen current knowledge of UAVs for environmental science whilst also addressing wider relevant key elements on data capture, analysis and interpretation.

Overall, this course introduces environmental professionals and researchers to state-of-the art technology for environmental monitoring - a key skill gap identified by the Environment Sector.

Core content

Day one - Principles of UAV flight control

  • UAV flight control - review of the main operational features of UAVs (eg quadrator dynamics, aerodynamic lifting surface and vehicle design parameters).

Day two - Image processing principles

  • Data capture and survey design - this will focus on the design of monitoring programmes for UAV data collection (e.g. number and location of ground control points, flight height, image resolution and image footprint)
  • Data analysis - image processing considerations will be discussed within this session.

Days three and four - Environmental applications

  • Case study one: UAVs for freshwater ecosystem monitoring
  • Case study two: UAVs for land (e.g. crop) monitoring.

Day five - Policy applications

  • Civil Aviation Authority legislation
  • Practical session - hands on session on UAV flight operation, configuration and flight design. 
  • UAVs for catastrophe monitoring.
  • Civil Aviation Authority legislation and Data Protection considerations.

Who should attend

Anyone involved in environmental monitoring. The course is specially targeted to governmental organisations, researchers and environmental consultants that could benefit from the use of UAV technology.


Delivered in collaboration with:

  • University of Worcester
  • Centro Regional de Estudios del Agua
  • Civil Aviation Authority

Supported by:

  • River Restoration Centre
  • Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry
  • The institution of environmental sciences
  • ClearSky Consulting Services
  • PhotoScan


This multi-disciplinary short course draws upon two world-leading specialisms of Cranfield University:

Dr Lone and Dr Whidborne have significant expertise in flight dynamics, simulation, control, guidance and vehicle autonomy. They have been working in the area of quadrator UAV control for many years, including significant theoretical and experimental contributions. Dr Rivas Casado leads EPSRC research on hydrometry, hydrological modelling and robust design of monitoring programs, coupling numerical/statistical theory with environmental science. She has expertise in the organisation and delivery of short courses and holds a PgCert in Learning, Teaching and Assessment in Higher Education.

The course also draws upon Cranfield's expertise:

This is further supported by UAV practice from the University of Worcester (Prof Maddock and Dr Woodget). Prof Maddock is a Professor of River Science and has teaching and research interests in river science, fluvial geomorphology, hydroecology, ecohydraulics and aquatic habitat modelling. Dr Woodget is a researcher at Worcester looking into the use of very high resolution UAS imagery and structure-from-motion photogrammetry for the quantification of physical habitat parameters within river systems. 

Additionally, invited speakers from industry and Governmental organisations will provide expertise in policy implementation. 

Summary of speakers:

  • Dr Monica Rivas Casado - Senior Lecturer in Applied Environmental Informatics (Cranfield University)
  • Dr James Whidborne - Reader (Cranfield University)
  • Mr Tim Brewer - Senior Lecturer (Cranfield University)
  • Prof Ian Maddock (University of Worcester)
  • Dr Woodget (University of Worcester)


20% discount for Cranfield alumni & PhD students, 10% discount for colleagues of alumni

£1,340 - Professional/trade association discount.

£1,260 - Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES).
£1,280 - Multiple bookings*

* Minimum of five delegates

Please note: Participants are also able to join the course for either the theory sessions (first two days - £560) or just the practical sessions (last three days - £840). 

Accommodation options and prices

This is a non-residential course. If you would like to book accommodation on campus, please contact Mitchell Hall or Cranfield Management Development Centre directly. Further information regarding our accommodation on campus can be found here.

Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world.

For further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road 
MK43 0AL

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.