Photo of drone against sunset.

Mapping with Drones 1

Code: MWD01
Apply this course towards: Mapping with Drones

Course description

Mapping with Drones 1 will take your knowledge toolkit to new and exciting heights! This course focuses on foundational knowledge and skills you need to operate a small drone and map your data output. It is designed for those with little to no experience operating a drone or creating digital maps. You will gain hands-on skills and knowledge about drone systems and regulations, flight planning and sensor payloads, as well as how to capture and analyze cartographic output models. You’ll complete applied, real-world projects working with spatial data and a variety of free and open-source software including Open Drone Mapping, QGIS, Google Earth and Map Pilot Pro,. If you’re looking for just-in-time, geospatial skills to effectively assess and monitor your natural or built environment for work or recreational applications, this course is for you!

Learning objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to: 

  • determine how and where small drones can be used for mapping applications
  • plan and fly small drones to generate accurate 2D air photo mosaics and 3D models
  • process acquired data using WebODM Structure from Motion open-source software
  • measure and extract 2D and 3D features from processed output
  • create basic cartographic output and figures

Software and computer requirements:

This course will use a variety of geospatial software including Google Earth, QGIS, Web OpenDroneMap (WebODM), and Map Pilot Pro. The WebODM software will have an associated fee of fee of $90 for Windows or $139 for Mac OS to support a streamlined software setup.   

Map Pilot Pro flight planning software requires a Pro Level Subscription available through   The fee is $15 USD per month. Follow the software update directions in the course site for details. 

Specific software instructions will be provided during week one of the course. Therefore, software should NOT BE downloaded until you are notified by your instructor. 

  • Minimum Hardware / Software Windows
  • Windows 11 or newer (some versions of Windows 10 are supported as well, see for a full list).
  • 64bit CPU with MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3 and SSSE3 instruction set support or higher (was your CPU manufactured in the last 10 years?). Windows on Arm is not supported.
  • 20 GB free disk space
  • 8 GB RAM *, but you’ll be happiest with 16GB or more.

Note: Additional RAM, an SSD hard drive, and newer generation processors will process datasets more rapidly.

Minimum Hardware / Software macOS 

  • macOS 12 or newer. Apple Silicon (M1+) is supported.
  • Mac hardware must be a 2010 or newer model and support virtualization.
  • 20 GB free disk space
  • 8 GB RAM *, but you’ll be happiest with 16GB or more.

(*) You will not be able to process more than 100 images with 8 GB of RAM. For this course, 8 GB of RAM is sufficient.  In future, if you need to process larger datasets, check the Recommended System Requirements instead, or consider purchasing access to the lightning network

WebODM installers do not work on 32bit computers. 

iPad or iPhone - minimum iOS 13 

Note: Androids will not be supported or recommended for use in this course due to complexities associated with the software applications that will be used. 


This course is eligible for the StrongerBC future skills grant. To register using this grant please first review your eligibility and then select the StrongerBC future skills grant fee type below. 

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Info you should know:

Continuing Studies statement on use of educational technology

This course may use education technology such as internet-based applications or cloud services. In order to complete this course you may be required to either consent to the disclosure of your personal information outside of Canada to enable use of these technologies, or work with the Division of Continuing Studies to explore other privacy protective options (such as using an alias or nickname).