Co-Founder Post: Mary’s Passion for Drone Technology

by Mary De La Garza, Co-founder and CTO

Just over 20 years ago, I found myself transitioning from public relations into the IT profession. I loved taking things apart and putting them back together and the continual learning and problem solving of the technology field. Many of my hobbies also include looking at things from different perspectives and working on a challenge – like photography and chess. It’s also the perspective I’m taking with the development of our FieldPro mapping and project managment application. GIS is a major trend-setter in what’s happening in environmental technology, and I think FieldPro has the potential to change how we use GIS. I’m passionate about this start-up, because I think we have an opportunity to not only be trailblazers, but to be trend setters!

Speaking of trendy, anyone who’s had a conversation with me in the past couple years has probably heard me talking about my new favorite hobby – flying drones! Eventually, I hope to incorporate drone work into our business. Right now, it’s a hobby and also one of my biggest passions in my role as Director of Research Technology at the University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist. The drone program I’ve developed does some pretty fantastic photographic inventories and large-scale landscape work, like the mapping a large 2800 year old village site along the edge of the Mississippi River Valley in southeastern Iowa. I’ve also used it to get a close up look at and build a 3-D model of rock art in northwest Iowa! Elizabeth and I have also gotten to present to Wisconsin’s Tribal Nations on uses of aerial technology for heritage management. One of the highlights was working with the Ho-Chunk Nation and collecting thermal imagery of effigy mounds, like pictured below!

Another highlight was getting to film some drone footage of Herky the Hawk for the University. I was born and raised in Texas (Hook ’em, Horns!), but Iowa is my adopted team! But we can talk about my passion for Texas and Iowa football another time…

Herky and a drone

Herky the Hawk and a drone, after a video shoot.

Mary flying a drone

Mary De La Garza flying a drone over effigy mounds in Wisconsin. Photo by Ryan Howell.

Thermal imagery taken from a drone showing a mowed track around an effigy mound in Wisconsin.

Thermal imagery taken from a drone showing a mowed track around an effigy mound in Wisconsin.

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