Project Drought 

Project Drought couples large-scale satellite observations with high-precision measurements of soil moisture content collected from low-flying unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to improve drought prediction. In collaboration with the CU Boulder Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV) and Center for Environmental Technology (CET) and drawing on CU Boulder’s recognized expertise in Atmospheric and Environmental sciences, this project will improve understanding and prediction of drought, flooding, and agricultural vulnerabilities to changes in near-surface water dynamics and support development of precision agricultural practices. Collected Information will be processed by CU Boulder’s Earth Lab to provide insight to a variety of researchers and industry partners, including agriculturalists, hydrologists, and flood and drought forecasters.

Project Map

The use of laser mapping systems to create 3D documentation of archaeological sites has grown significantly in the past 5 years. Project MAP will integrate terrestrial and mobile laser mapping (LIDAR) data with UAS photogrammetry data to create detailed images to document, study and share critical historical sites. 

Project Storm

Project Storm leverages CU Boulder's proven expertise and extensive capability in nomadic, integrated collection of real-time supercell data using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to better predict tornadogenesis and dramatically increase Tornado Warning lead-time. CU Boulder collaborates with an established network of government, academic, and industry partners to improve measurement and collection of supercell data. The CU Boulder Earth Lab works closely with IRISS to process and distribute datasets for improved tornado forecasting techniques.

Project Forest

Project Forest will employ CU Boulder’s highly sophisticated unmanned aircraft infrastructure for remote sensing, data collection, and monitoring of ecosystem health—such as vegetation growth and tree distribution. Earth Lab will then process and analyze collected data in collaboration with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), also located in Boulder, to inform future ecological and conservationist endeavors.

Project Society

This project will create a collaborative multidisciplinary environment on the CU Boulder campus that will be a national model for organizing and further developing expertise in the social sciences, humanities, and law for understanding the social, ethical, political and cultural implications of the rapidly growing use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The project is aimed at producing both practical outcomes (e.g. policy and legal advice) and theoretical advances (and potentially artistic or literary production) in this area. Project Society stands out from the other IRISS efforts that focus only on the technical aspects of unmanned aerial systems, enhancing CU’s Grand Challenge by bringing expertise from the social sciences, humanities, and law to complement engineering and the biophysical sciences.