Field applications of sensor TECHNOLOGIES (FAST)

August 20th - 25th, 2018

YBRA is offering two new courses to help you deploy the most advanced commercial sensing technology in the world.   The need for field professionals who understand remote sensing imagery is increasing rapidly.   Drones have emerged as a galvanizing force for business intelligence and risk mitigation  — a 2017 study by PWC found the value of drone-powered solutions is more than $127 billion.   Gartner and Forbes have identified digital twin technology as one of the Top Ten Strategic Technology Trends for 2017.   

Field applications of drone-based photogrammetry, LIDAR, thermal imaging, and hyperspectral imaging are disrupting traditional field methods.  Drones paired with advanced sensor technology allow companies to produce 3D virtual models or ‘digital twins’ of assets and environments linking the physical world to the digital world.   Environmental remediation companies use drones for wastewater monitoring, asset managers use drones to inspect forest fire risk, pipeline operators use drones to inspect pipeline safety, and construction management companies use drones and 3-D imaging to create “digital copies” of projects to verify contractor work.   Enroll in a YBRA FAST course today and elevate your organization.     

The YBRA certificates in Field Applications of Sensor Technologies (FAST 101 and FAST 102) teaches cutting-edge field applications of advanced photonics, imaging, and semi-autonomous aerial systems.   The two courses run concurrently and collaborate on field data collection.  Participants learn through hands-on experience with the latest photonics sensor and imaging technologies that are revolutionizing field work in the earth resource, energy, environmental, and agricultural industries.   The courses are also focused on practical applications of technology which stimulates business market entry, business development projects, public-private research projects, and team-building with course peers and instructors.  


YBRA, the Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association, has been a leader in earth and environmental education since 1936.   Our scenic campus in Red Lodge, Montana is at the gateway to the Greater Yellowstone geo-ecosystem.  YBRA offers unparalleled access to classic alpine ecology in the Beartooth Mountains as well as historic precious metals deposits, unique fossil energy and renewable energy resources, paleontology sites, and historic farm & ranch operations of the Big Horn Basin.  The FAST course combine hands-on fieldwork in these unique outdoor labs with computer data processing and instruction at our rustic Montana campus.  Courses are taught at the YBRA field station in the Beartooth Mountains, the gateway to the Greater Yellowstone Geo-ecosystem.   For more than 70 years our award-winning YBRA field camp program have provided graduates with a unique professional and academic perspective.


Continuing education (CE) units are granted upon FAST 101 and FAST 102 completion by Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman, Montana.  The curriculum addresses the theory, methodologies, and techniques for the professional application of remote sensing and drones-based imagery.  


The FAST 101 course agenda is located here.   The dates are August 20th - 25th, 2018.   

FAST 101:  Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) and Applied Photogrammetry - 5 CE Units.

Integrate cutting-edge small Unmanned Aerial Systems and Sensors into your professional work flow.  This six-day, fully immersive curriculum will provide instruction on UAS applications; FAA Part 107 regulations; UAS mission planning; flight training; aerial mapping and modeling; and business, operational, organizational, legal and risk management matters.  Increase your ROI by expertly and safely operating unmanned vehicles to acquire highest quality auditable data and deliver actionable analysis at lower cost and cycle time while reducing occupational and institutional risk.

The FAST 102 course agenda is located here.  The dates are August 20th - 25th, 2018.  

FAST 102:  Field Applications of  Lidar & Hyperspectral Imaging - 5 CE Units.  

Learn to deploy rapidly evolving photonic sensor technologies such as lidar and hyperspectral imaging to explore the Earth’s surface in ways that have never been possible before. Terrestrial and aerial lidar provide three-dimensional perspectives on your research problem while multi- and hyper-spectral imaging unlock information on material properties and environmental processes. FAST 102 offers a hands-on introduction to photogrammetry, lidar, and hyperspectral imaging in the unparalleled natural classroom of the Greater Yellowstone Geo-ecosystem.


The course enrollment form for both FAST 101 and FAST 102 is located at this link.   Course capacity is limited and we will cap total enrollments at thirty (30) participants.  You may be placed on a waiting list. 



Dr. Colin Shaw has more than fifteen year of experience teaching geology in the field including five years as the Geology Field Course Director at Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman, and the Undergraduate Scholars Program Director at MSU.   Colin has an M.S. from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico.    Colin's research projects include the Cordillera Blanca Detachment Peru, an NSF-funded project investigating shear-zone-scale processes, crustal strength, and geodynamics of a major active extensional fault in the Peruvian Andes.   Lone Peak Rock Glacier, Montana - study of strain localization and glacier kinematics of the debris-covered glacier at Big Sky, Montana. Collaborators include Dr. Kimberly Casey, (NASA - Goddard).

Colin Romberger is the Chief Flight Instructor for DARTdrones.  Colin has consulted and trained numerous Fortune 500 and government clients on the use of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) for various applications.  As an operator of commercial unmanned aircraft systems since 2014, Colin was one of the first individuals to secure a Section 333 Exemption from the FAA for unmanned aircraft operations in southcentral Pennsylvania and continues to operate an sUAS services company focused on aerial mapping and inspection applications. Colin received his M.S. in Unmanned Systems from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, where his studies focused on both commercial sUAS operations, as well as High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) systems.  Colin is also a licensed skydiver and former instructor with over 1500 recorded jumps, and he holds multiple FAA Airman Certificates for manned aircraft operations.

Chris French, C.E.G. has nearly four decades experience in earth and environmental science serving the public and private sectors with a present focus on site remediation and redevelopment in the Fortune 100 corporate sector with associated development and implementation of six sigma lean management systems and oversight of the contract laboratory program, data management and GIS functions.  Technical expertise includes oversight of environmental information/data management, hydrogeology, contaminant fate and transport, RI/FS, remedial design and construction, brownfields redevelopment and sustainability.  Mr. French has also worked in precious metals exploration and water resource assessment using aerial photogrammetry and remote sensing techniques. He holds a B.A. in Geology from Amherst College and an MS degree in Environmental Science from Rutgers University.  He holds a continuing professional education certificate in Geomatics and Remote Sensing from Rutgers and is a State of California Certified Engineering Geologist and Registered Geologist (CA).   He is a member of the Leadership Circle for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.



Industry:      USD $4,295.   The price is all-inclusive, with exception of airfare.     Make a deposit payment for the course here to reserve your space.  

Academia:   USD $3,295.   The price is all-inclusive, with exception of airfare.    Make a deposit payment for the course here to reserve your space.  

PHYSICAL requirements

Your safety is paramount.  You must be heart-healthy and be able to walk and hike in outdoor heat and modest cold.  Temperatures may be as warm as 90 degrees Fahrenheit or as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit at night.   The average temperature in late August is high's in the 80's and low's in the 50's.   

English proficiency:  the language of instruction at YBRA is English.   Entry into the U.S. is the responsibility of the attendee.   

PhD's, PhD candidates, and Master's level students from accredited universities anywhere in the world are encouraged to enroll, including YBRA alumni.    The minimum age requirement is twenty-one (21) years old.   





1.  Who are the makeup of industry professionals at the course?

Industry professionals from earth science technology, energy exploration, environmental science, agriculture, power, geology, paleontology, and biological science are represented at YBRA. 

2.  How much time must I invest to prepare for the field course?  

Approximately two (2) hours.  You must read the curriculum, arrange your own flight, and make necessary payment arrangements for the course.  

3.     How far is Red Lodge from the airport in Billings, Bozeman, or Cody?
Cody, Wyoming and Billings, Montana airports are about 1 hour from Red Lodge.  Bozeman is around 2 hours from Red Lodge.   
4.     Will I be picked up from the airport?
Yes, there will be a pick-up from the Billings (BIL), Montana airport.  Should you miss the pick-up, you may hire a shuttle to arrive at YBRA for around $125 from Billings.  A shuttle from Cody or Bozeman is not available. 
5.     What should I pack?
An equipment list will be emailed to you around two weeks before the course starts.  


6.     Will I need to bring my own laptop?
We encourage you to bring a laptop computer and charger.   We will provide specialized software.   However, we do have laptops available for data processing and analysis.
7.     Where can we eat and drink? 
While you are at YBRA, breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided to you at the camp’s lodge.   Alcoholic beverages will be available.  
8.     Will there be internet connection?
Yes, there is a Wifi network at YBRA.  
9.     Can I use a cell phone?
Yes, cell phone service is widely available all over Montana and Wyoming.   Cell signals on Verizon are strong.  AT&T and T-Mobile are often roaming. 
10.     Will there be any outdoor camping?
No, the course group will return to YBRA each day.  
11.     What are the living arrangements at YBRA?
All attendees will be assigned cabins which are cleaned and prepared.  The bathroom facilities are shared with others.
12.  Will there be an orientation for field camp?
Yes, an orientation will be given on the first day.   All attendees are required to arrive at YBRA for the orientation.