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Strategies for effective unmanned aerial vehicle use in geological field studies based on cognitive science principles

Bateman, Kathryn M., Williams, Randolph T., Shipley, Thomas F., Tikoff, Basil, Pavlis, Terry, Wilson, Cristina G., Cooke, Michele L. and Fagereng, Ake ORCID: 2022. Strategies for effective unmanned aerial vehicle use in geological field studies based on cognitive science principles. Geosphere 18 (6) , pp. 1958-1973. 10.1130/GES02440.1

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Field geologists are increasingly using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones), although their use involves significant cognitive challenges for which geologists are not well trained. On the basis of surveying the user community and documenting experts’ use in the field, we identified five major problems, most of which are aligned with well-documented limits on cognitive performance. First, the images being sent from the UAV portray the landscape from multiple different view directions. Second, even with a constant view direction, the ability to move the UAV or zoom the camera lens results in rapid changes in visual scale. Third, the images from the UAVs are displayed too quickly for users, even experts, to assimilate efficiently. Fourth, it is relatively easy to get lost when flying, particularly if the user is unfamiliar with the area or with UAV use. Fifth, physical limitations on flight time are a source of stress, which renders the operator less effective. Many of the strategies currently employed by field geologists, such as postprocessing and photogrammetry, can reduce these problems. We summarize the cognitive science basis for these issues and provide some new strategies that are designed to overcome these limitations and promote more effective UAV use in the field. The goal is to make UAV-based geological interpretations in the field possible by recognizing and reducing cognitive load

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Geological Society of America
ISSN: 1553-040X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 January 2023
Date of Acceptance: 14 September 2022
Last Modified: 09 May 2023 19:55

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