High-tech drone gives UF researchers a bird's-eye view of nests off Cedar Key

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No matter how many times you've visited Cedar Key, you probably haven't seen it like this! "Equipped with a high-resolution digital camera, the 14-pound aircraft designed and built by University of Florida mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate students is photographing the nests with pinpoint accuracy for wildlife officials to study."

The plane, currently called an unmanned aircraft system, is not only collecting research and locating nests, but is also testing how the birds react the the aircraft. So far the it hasn't appeared to cause any disturbances among the birds, which is the best researchers could hope for!

The unmanned aircraft has "a flight time of a little over an hour. It takes 20 images a minute — or about 1,000 photos during a 50-minute sweep over Seahorse Key. It can photograph two-thirds of a square mile in two 50-minute passes."

The aircraft has come a long way since its first model, and the technology keeps improving as well. "The Nova 2.1 has been this team's workhorse for four years now, and represents the fourth or fifth evolution of this unmanned craft...The Nova is the same model that is sold commercially by Altavian, a Gainesville company started by several of Ifju's graduate students in 2011. Click here to read the full article from The Gainesville Sun.

Photos from The Gainesville Sun - click here for more Front Street news...

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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