SmartMap Online: A New Adventure for Land and Forest Managers

Clint Thompson Alabama

By Justin Miller

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – The minds that brought the SmartMap workshops to your hometown are bringing a SmartMap land and forest management course straight to your couch. SmartMap Online is a virtual class that brings the materials taught at in-person workshops to the comfort of home.

Course Details

Beau Brodbeck, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System community forestry and arboriculture specialist and a developer of the course, said SmartMap Online covers the subjects taught in both the SmartMap 1.0 and 2.0 in-person workshops.

Beau Brodbeck

“SmartMap Online serves as both an introduction and refresher to using smart devices and drone technology for mapping,” Brodbeck said. “The program provides participants a self-paced educational environment where they can learn the latest on GIS mapping and UAS aerial image capturing and scouting.”

The course includes multiple learning modules that guide participants through the various topics. Through these modules, the course discusses currently available technologies and provides step-by-step tutorials for using various GIS and UAS applications.

An Opportunity for Everyone

Christian Brodbeck, a research engineer with the Auburn University College of Engineering and also a developer of the course, said because of recent advancements, even the most inexperienced person can use these technologies for land and forest management.

“Smart devices and drones are making geospatial technology more affordable and easier to use, as well as creating a broader non-technical user base,” Brodbeck said. “This course offers people from a range of backgrounds a chance to learn more about this exciting venture.”

Landowners, real estate firms, outdoorsmen, foresters and any others interested in timber, wildlife or recreational pursuits can benefit from this course. The tools and information learned have a wide variety of uses, which include:

  • forest stand delineations
  • planting survival checks
  • post-storm evaluation
  • harvesting progress
  • wildlife food plot mapping
  • identifying pest infestations


Registration for SmartMap Online is free to all participants. Continuing education units (CEU) are available for this course. Approved CEUs include Alabama CFEs and Alabama PLM. Those wishing to receive these credits will be charged $10 at the conclusion of the course.

Visit the Alabama Extension catalog page to enroll in SmartMap Online.

More Information

For more information on SmartMap Online or any of the SmartMap educational programs, visit the Alabama Extension website at