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NOAA UAS Program Briefing at the 3rd Federal UAS Workshop


Captain Philip Hall, Director of the NOAA UAS Program Office in OAR (figure 1), was invited to provide one of several impactful briefings at this year’s UAS Federal Workshop in May at NASA Ames, an event that was co-hosted by NASA and USGS. Commensurate with the goals of the workshop, the 3rd one in as many years, Captain Hall shared an overview of the NOAA UAS Program’s many diverse activities and projects, highlighting its partnerships and efforts in working both within and outside of NOAA to accomplish common goals that will ultimately benefit society.  Other federal agencies were also in attendance and provided similar overview briefings, including but not limited to, NASA, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, National Science Foundation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Interior, U.S. Forest Service, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, U.S Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fig 1. Captain Philip Hall Briefing at 3rd UAS Federal Workshop at NASA Ames.

One of the primary goals of the workshop was to share lessons learned and update the audience on UAS policy issues, operational challenges, and upcoming opportunities on which this federal community either could or needs to collaborate. Opportunities to bring so many disparate agencies together provides opportunities to continue using partnerships to accelerate UAS-deployed sensors and provide CONOPS to fill important national observational gaps. By approaching these challenges with a whole-of-Government team, successes within our federal agencies can be leveraged to accelerate our national UAS enterprise. It also enables the group to focus resources on shared challenges and new opportunities. Furthermore, the annual workshop helps many of the representing agencies to explore how to respond to rapidly evolving emergencies like floods, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, and hurricanes, and how to use new tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning to accelerate the rapid exploitation of collected UAS data.