Short Course: Teaching in the field with SfM and RTK GPS/GNSS

GETSI Field Virtual Short Course

September 28-November 4, 2021

Eight 1- or 2-hours sessions on designated Tuesdays and Thursdays
Start time always 9am PT | 10am MT | 11am CT | 12pm ET (see Agenda for details and exact days)

Short course participants will learn practical approaches for integrating field-based geodetic methods into their undergraduate courses. The emphasis will be structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetry and global positioning system (GPS) for the purposes of making a georeferenced point cloud of high resolution topography data. Methods are appropriate for both summer field camps and academic-year courses with field components. Participants will be loaned a RTK GPS/GNSS base-rover pair to practice with during the short course.

Teaching materials are drawn from the free online NSF-funded GETSI modules:


Fieldwork is an integral part of the geosciences and there is a longstanding tradition of teaching field methods as part of the undergraduate curriculum. As Earth science research technologies have grown, there is more interest in introducing geodetic methods into field education courses. Technology integration into field education has several advantages, including student engagement and workforce development. This short course has been developed in response to community interest and input and builds on successful pioneering efforts of UNAVCO community members.


Participants in this course are a subset of those accepted for the in-person short course originally scheduled for May 2020 but now postponed to May 2022 due to the pandemic (Change Detection with SfM and GPS: Teaching Undergraduates in the Field), as well as a few more participants on a space-available basis. Attendance is limited to the number of available GPS/GNSS receiver pairs (base and rover) that could be sent out for people to work with hands-on. Participants have expressed a desire to learn field geodesy methods sooner and not have to wait until the end of the 2021-22 academic year to gain these skills.


Participants will be able to:

  1. Create a georeferenced SfM point cloud (this requires being able to successfully do both SfM and GPS surveys). (Ideally this would be applied to a geoscience research question but if that is not practical in a particular location during the short course, at least participants will know how they would do it.)
  2. Develop a geodesy field teaching implementation plan


  • Benjamin Crosby (Idaho State University)
  • Bruce Douglas (Indiana University)
  • Beth Pratt-Sitaula (UNAVCO)



Contact Beth Pratt-Sitaula (prattsitaula AT

Meeting Information



Participant Workspace (private)

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