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Geography students gain geospatial skills, industry connections during fieldwork at sand mine

| Judy Berthiaume; videos by Glen Mabie

UW-Eau Claire geography students in a field studies class recently spent a day flying drones and using other high-end geospatial technologies at an Eau Claire area sand mine thanks to partnerships between the university and private businesses.

The hands-on fieldwork at the Litchfield Mine gave Blugolds a "rare opportunity" to use and evaluate an array of sophisticated field equipment, the kinds of equipment that’s already being used in the private sector, including the mining industry, says Dr. Joseph Hupy, associate professor of geography.

While UW-Eau Claire owns several drones, in part, thanks to donations from a private business, the students' daylong excursion to the mine also included drones and other geospatial technologies business partners brought to share with students.

The number of partnerships between the geography department and private businesses has increased as UW-Eau Claire’s reputation as a national leader in educating students about geospatial technologies has grown in recent years.

Already, Blugolds who have experience with unmanned aircraft systems geospatial data are in high-demand for internships and jobs.

Hupy, industry leaders and UW-Eau Claire students discuss the importance of the private-public partnerships — and the edge it gives to Blugolds — in two videos showcasing their day at the Litchfield Mine.

Check out the videos: "Geospatial Technology and Analysis: Working with Industry" and "Geospatial Technology and Analysis: Student Careers."

Photo caption: Geography majors learned to use sophisticated geospatial technologies during a fieldwork class this fall thanks to partnerships with industry leaders.