OSU students use drone to improve the livability of Columbus neighborhoods


Students at the Ohio State University are using drone technology to improve the livability of Columbus neighborhoods.

“You have the ability to see where the potholes are,” said Chris Strasbaugh, the Digital Library Archivist and Curator at OSU when addressing a classroom of students.

He describes aerial footage that captured neighborhood infrastructure which impacts the quality of life.

Strasbaugh explains that they purchased a drone about 8-10 months ago and since then has been using the new technology to help students step up their research.

He compares satellite imagery to drone imagery. “You can see what the satellite imagery can give you which is a bunch of green blobs and kind of box-like things for houses and then all of a sudden you're able to see not just the roof, you can actually see the roof material."

This totally changes the game. Their goal is to revamp the community along the 5th avenue corridor. The project is surveying neighborhoods from here in Harrison West to Milo Grogan studying everything from sidewalks, bus stops to roads and bike lanes.

John Moody is one of several students who has taken the data and hit the ground running. “We're looking at the transportation amenities that serve each neighborhood,” said Moody.

The difference between a bird's eye view and walking the streets to analyze the conditions is hours to minutes. Not just saving the students time, but introducing them to a tool that will give them a leg up in the workforce.

“I think this is really teaching us the right way to look at these problems,” said Moody.

While simultaneously benefiting people who live in Columbus.

“We want to use these reports that we generate and the findings that we make to bring to community leaders to bring attention to issues we feel affect the way that neighborhoods function,” said Moody.

You can take a closer look at what the class uncovers. There will be an event at Knowlton Hall on Tuesday, April 3 from 12:45 to 2 p.m. The public is welcome.