All posts by antonio

DJI Spark Test Flight over Belmar NJ

I’ve been tinkering in the drone world with 2 primary purposes: 1) aerial photography and 2) research applications via GIS. Let me first state that there is a lot of misinformation about drones being circulated, which is exacerbated with fears, such as terrorism.

Strange, we had RC remote aircraft since the 70s. I still remember gas engine powered remote control airplanes and helicopters operated by Futaba transceivers in the 80s. Nowadays, remote control airplanes and  helicopters are mass produced with integrated GPS and cameras, grabbing the attention of media and law hounds. Remote control aircraft are now synonymous with ‘drones.’ How unfortunate, since ‘drone’ carries its own stigma due to controversial military applications.  The FAA enters the arena with regulations and ways to capitalize off the drone industry. Recently, I passed the FAA UAS 107 certification, or “drone license.” That exam cost $150.  This post is about a test flight, but I’ll be writing up a separate blog post regarding the exam process and laws that pertain to researchers and photographers.

I flew the DJI Spark over the icy cold shore of Belmar, NJ. Very cold windy conditions. I was surprised how well the little DJI Spark maintained stability in high winds. I didn’t push the drone to the extreme due to the possibility of losing it to the strong wind drifts. 15 minutes of drone-recorded 1080p video are edited down to 4 mins in the clip below.

Why do fossils matter?

Why do fossils matter? In the simplest explanation, fossils are one of the strongest lines of evidence for evolution. Fossils allow us to examine the rich diversity of ancient life that lived on our planet millions and millions of years before the arrival of modern humans.  We can understand how life evolved, observe invertebrate transitions, and contribute to our tree of life, placing a magnifying glass on the evolutionary history of all Earth’s biodiversity.

I found an interesting video created by Ethan Cowgill that briefly explains why fossils matter in a cinematic storytelling manner. Ethan runs a channel on YouTube called The Living Past.  It’s always inspiring when discovering those who are positively impacted by science so much, that they must share that science seduction with the world. Thank you Ethan.