Friday, May 20, 2011

AmericaView at ASPRS 2011

Rick Landenberger, AmericaView Executive Director

The ASPRS annual conference is a popular event for many of us in academic and applied remote sensing, and this year’s conference in Milwaukee was no exception. Over 1,100 attended, including a group of AmericaView PIs and their partners.

In fact, this year’s event was particularly exciting for us, as it was our first ‘Special Session’. Thanks to Tom Lillesand who raised the idea, Frank Scarpace for making it happen, and Sam Batzli for moderating, we were given 90 minutes on Wednesday morning, May 4th to showcase our projects. Special Sessions offer an opportunity and format for a series of closely related talks, and naturally we focused ours on the AmericaView mission of education, applied research, data archiving and distribution, and our most recent set of projects in Emergency Management.

After Sam introduced the speakers, I gave a five minute overview of the organization to set the context. Ramesh Sivanpillai, the WyomingView PI and current AmericaView Board chairman and resident historian followed with a talk about applied research supported by WyomingView. Ramesh’s accomplishments over the years featured examples of student-led research projects using Landsat data to assess and monitor natural resources and agricultural systems in Wyoming. Ramesh and his students have been able to support both forest and range managers as well as small farmers in Wyoming through development of new monitoring and assessment methods and via hands-on training in the use of Landsat data.

WisconsinView PI Sam Batzli, former Board member and AmericaView’s current chair of the Technology Committee, then provided examples of our data archiving and distribution efforts. Although our data mission has been somewhat de-emphasized due to the USGS’s free Landsat archives, Sam was able to show the relevance and efficacy of several of our ongoing projects, ending with a discussion of our latest multi-state project involving WMS distribution of recent NAIP imagery.

Peter Sforza, a member of VirginiaView and the current co-director for the Center for Geospatial Information Technology at Virginia Tech, followed Sam and provided examples of emergency management applications in AmericaView, including a number of efforts where moderate resolution Landsat and MODIS data have been used to map recent tornado damage, including a nice example where MODIS data was useful in mapping tornado paths. He ended with a description of MontanaView’s latest efforts in developing and maintaining a national database of volunteer remote sensing experts available to support EM efforts across the country.

I wrapped up the session with a discussion of AmericaView’s educational efforts, first providing some background on our state-level K-12, undergraduate, graduate, and professional development projects, and ending with examples of our two coordinated educational projects, SATELLITES and Earth Observation Day. I ended with a summary of the 2011 Earth Observation Day event statistics, describing how we as an organization were able to reach 2,500 K-12 students and 50 teachers this year, a new record that we hope to eclipse with next year’s event.

Thanks again to Tom Lillisand, Frank Scarpace, and Sam Batzli for the ideas and support. I anticipate that this will become a regular event in future ASPRS conferences, and hope to see you there!