Oconee Unearthed


The primary focus of Oconee Unearthed is to map out enviromentally significant landmarks on ORLT properties. To achieve this in the most polished manner, we utilized Google Fusion Tables to create a responsive, interactive map complete with drone photos. The secondary purpose is to inform and educate the public as to WHY conserving these lands is significant, and a cause worth supporting.


An app format would not lend itself particularly well to this project, so we created a website with the primary focus on a Google Fusion Table. Our map contains the drone photos we captured, as well as their latitude and longitude coordinates. For the purposes of our project, we visited two of the ORLT’s properties: one in Oglethorpe County and one here in Athens. These two properties differ in their purposes. The ORLT places more focus on conservation for the Oglethorpe land. This is the property on which we searched for granite outcrops. These outcrops are home to several species of microorganisms which the ORLT aims to protect and conserve. Meanwhile, the Tallassee land is currently under observation for the possibility of adding running and hiking trails and opening to the public. These photos are much more for promotional use, to aid in gaining the necessary grants to make this project happen and to show the public the possibilities!


On our first visit to the Oglethorpe property, we located a new granite outcrop, pictured above, that the land steward was unaware existed. It was this small discovery that reassured us that we were headed in the right direction with this project. The ORLT as well as similar conservation organizations protect thousands of acres of land, many of which are inaccessible by foot. At present, these organizations really have no cost-effective manner of exploring their lands. Our drone technology is helping ORLT locate and map environmentally significant landmarks on their properties, and we hope similar organziations will follow our lead and invest in this type of technology as well. We are Oconee Unearthed, and we are using groundbreaking new drone technology to promote conservation efforts across Northeast Georgia.


This web app has taken the Drone Certification Guide of the NMI and transformed it into a user-friendly, step-by-step app, to assist new and seasoned pilots in all their drone flights.

To guide pilots through pre-flight.
  • Inspection
  • Electronics
  • Take-off
For pilots to record their flights.
  • Weather Conditions
  • Flight Goals
  • Drone Responsiveness
To guide pilots through flights and camera usage.
  • Drone specs
  • Flight controls
  • Capturing footage
Answering any and all drone-related questions.
  • Laws and Regulations
  • Safety Guidelines
  • Ethics


Google Fusion Tables

For the mapping portion of our project we utilized the Google service of Fusion Tables. Fusion tables allowed us to imput the coordinates of our drone photos and plot them accurately on a Google map. The map is fully interactive, and allows users to explore each point, all of which are plotted with multiple photographs of the natural landmarks which we were able to locate using the drone.

DJI Phantom 2 Vision+

Our particular drone model is the DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus. The main purpose of this particular drone is to take photography and videography from unique angles with the high quality onboard camera. With GPS capabilities for mapping pre-set routes prior to takeoff, personalized and specific routes can be carried out during a maximum flight time of 25 minutes to gather desired footage. To ensure safe flight, the radar positioning and “return home” feature allows the drone to use the flight radar to display its current position and automatically fly back to the takeoff point if it exceeds the control range of the remote control. It also uses Wi-Fi technology to transmit signals from the DJi Vision app to the onboard camera. The app, DJI Vision, is operated with compatible mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices and can be connected through built-in drone Wi-Fi.


In order to build our app, we took on the challenge of exploring a newer technology known as Ratchet. Ratchet is primarily a front-end prototyping tool, providing users with the baseline CSS, JavaScript, and fonts. Through Ratchet, we created the basis of our app, including flight checklists, tutorials, a logbook and an interactive component for users to save their flight notes and share them to social media.

Team Members

Laura Schoop

Project Coordinator

Laura is a third year PR major from Marietta, GA. When she's not working away in the NMI as a contributor for TEDxUGA, you can find her hanging out at Leap, the local flying trapeze school.

Sarah Margaret Bush


Sarah Margaret is a third year Ad and Communications major hailing from the metropolis of Bainbridge, Georgia. You should ask to see her most prized posession- her David Hasselhoff selfie.

Caroline Farley

Content Producer

Caroline, or "Callie" as her friends call her, is a third year photojournalism student. Her favorite subject is her lab puppy, Brady, who was named after that basketball player from New England...or was it baseball?

Alex Croy


Alex is a fourth year Ad and Econ student from Jesup, Georgia. Yes, Jesup. He put down the rod and reel to learn how to use the "internet machine". His only prior piloting skills come from flying paper airplanes onto teacher's desks back in highschool.

Works & References

Oconee River Land Trust

"The Oconee River Land Trust is a non-profit organization headquartered in Athens, Georgia, that partners with landowners to conserve natural forests and working lands along Georgia’s rivers, streams and wetlands."

Project Assignments

Check out our project process.




New Media Institute

"Make something work, then make it work better."