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Introduction to Drones for Built Environment Professionals

Consumer-level, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, or 'drones') are now ubiquitous in society and the construction industry, but within Australia, their potential remains largely untapped. This course will provide a practical demonstration of how small, consumer-level UAVs can be integrated into various aspects of architectural and landscape architecture office practice.

About this course

This hands-on, office-oriented course demonstrates the many ways in which the aerial perspective can be integrated into architecture, engineering and construction practice.

Over three days, you’ll become familiar with the utility of UAVs in producing automated site model generation, building and construction site inspection, and visualisation support. You’ll learn to plan, carry out and process photographic data to generate rich models and generate exact photographic backgrounds and viewpoints from exact positions.

You will also get to know the fundamentals of open source and proprietary software packages as they relate to UAV technology, both in small and large office and project management contexts, as well as how to integrate resulting data into BIM and other office software tools. The UAV selection, safety and legislative aspects of UAV use in New South Wales will also be covered.

Course outline

Course materials outline practical and creative solutions for UAV integration at all stages of project development.

You will study:

  • UAV platform selection and uses of existing office UAVS
  • Safety and working within drone legislation
  • Site inspection (construction sites)
  • Basic photogrammetry and applications
  • Interfacing data with typical practice software
  • Flight Workshop – pre-flight preparations, test site with flight, data processing, and applications 
  • Datasets and practical exercises.

You will also complete a half-day local site visit (walking distance from the UTS City Campus) that includes hands-on UAV experience and data acquisition, plus two sessions in the UTS Computer Labs where you’ll process and apply the resulting data.

In between workshop sessions, you’ll be encouraged to install and run the trial software on your own laptop. As well as giving you the chance to bring queries and issues to the second workshop session, this approach will maximise your face-to-face learning time and give you a dataset to share with your colleagues.

Course learning objectives

By the end of this course, you’ll understand:

  • The fundamentals of UAV use, including safety and legislation requirements
  • How to use two different types of photogrammetry software to process sites
  • How to test site data
  • How to integrate resulting documentation photos and 3D data into various CAD, visualisation and BIM platforms.

Key benefits of this microcredential

Successfully completing the course will equip participants with knowledge and expertise in innovative and emerging digital tools. Participants will gain relevant skills in the application of these tools within the design field allowing for their use in various parts of industry-based projects.

This microcredential aligns with the 3-credit point subject, Introduction to Drones for Built Environment Professionals (80115) in the Master of Technology. This microcredential may qualify for recognition of prior learning at this and other institutions.

Who is this course for?

This course is aimed at construction industry professionals with an interest in integrating UAVs into their office toolsets. No previous knowledge or experience is required. 

Assessment criteria

Assessment will be Pass/Fail.

Teaching and learning strategies

Face to Face learning through the use of digital tools.

Minimum requirements

To pass the course, participants must have full attendance and complete all submission requirements as per the assessment criteria stated in the subject outline.

Mandatory requirement

  • Participants should be comfortable with using a computer
  • Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops, though this is not a requirement.

Fees and Discount

Full price: $2,500 (GST free)

Special price: $1,500 (GST free)

To help you build future-focused skills during COVID-19, this course is currently offered at a reduced rate of $1,500 (Full price $2,500).

Please note that discounts cannot be combined. A limit of one discount applies per person per course session.


Morning and afternoon tea provided.



27 February




2.5 days



Meet the Expert

James Melsom

James Melsom
Senior Lecturer

James Melsom is a senior lecturer at UTS in the School of Architecture and a UAV professional with over 10 years of experience flying in Australia, the US, Southeast Asia and Europe. 

A landscape architect, researcher and teacher at UTS, James has applied both photogrammetry and laser scanning within large scale projects worldwide, both within academia and practice.

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Additional information

NSW Health advice

UTS is undertaking a number of social distancing initiatives, informed by NSW Health advice, to help reduce social interactions in support of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. As it stands, the date of the microcredential is yet to be impacted by these initiatives and so the course will move forward unaffected. In the instance that the course cannot move forward as planned and will require to be postponed, participants can choose to remain enrolled and attend during the course’s revised date or request a full refund. Should there be any updates to the above, we will contact all participants with the revised information. If you have any questions in the interim, please do not hesitate to email Dr Mohammed Makki:

Book a session

Sat 27 Feb 2021 -
Sat 06 Mar 2021
Expert: James Melsom
  • UTS Campus - CB06..TBC
  • On-campus
  • 3 sessions, 20 hours total
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