There were some nerves for Furman physics professor John Conrad and his students when they sent their DJI Phantom 2 drone into the air for the first time—and that was on a sunny day over the flat, treeless rugby field, for really no reason at all other than seeing if they could. A “leap of faith,” he called it.

That was nothing, however, compared to the adrenaline surge Conrad got during a phone call from Furman Center for Teaching and Learning associate director Mike Winiski after he saw the video of what Conrad’s team had done.

“So I said, let me get this straight: You want me to fly at night in a high-crime neighborhood?” Conrad remembers with a smile from his second-story office in Townes Science Center. “And he said, ‘yeah, I really want to do that.’”

A project in Winiski’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) class had taken a turn for the unexpectedly complicated. They needed help from above.

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Produced by Taylor de Lench
Drone footage courtesy of John Conrad and Furman University Physics Department
Additional footage courtesy of William Lewis
Graphics by Brian Faulkenberry
Music: 'Dwell' by Tony Anderson
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