Taxonomy term

remote sensing

Surveying forests from afar

Traditional surveys of forest health and diversity take hours of hiking and sampling by scientists who can only cover relatively small areas. Satellites, meanwhile, can survey large swaths of land, collecting information about forests in a fraction of the time that a ground survey might take. But the resolution and types of satellite data available don’t always allow for detailed studies. Now, a team of ecologists is staking out the middle ground by developing airborne laser scanning techniques to create high-resolution maps of tree species diversity to monitor changes in forest ecosystems.

22 Mar 2018

From space to village: NASA's SERVIR program brings a big picture to local communities

Established in 2005, the joint NASA and U.S. Agency for International Development program SERVIR (named for the Spanish verb “to serve”) puts geospatial satellite images and analysis tools into the hands of local decision-makers around the world to help them deal with natural disasters and plan for changing climates. 
02 Jan 2018

Ice (Re)Cap: August 2016

From Antarctica to the Arctic; from polar caps, permafrost and glaciers to ocean-rafted sea ice; and from burly bears to cold-loving microbes, fascinating science is found in every nook and crevasse of Earth’s cryosphere, and new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.

13 Aug 2016

Comment: What's a map worth? The big cost and bigger benefit of three-dimensional elevation data

The 3-D Elevation Program is a collaborative effort to share the costs of collecting three-dimensional elevation data over the entire U.S. over an eight-year period. The end goal is a fully three-dimensional elevation map of the entire U.S. and its territories.

30 Jun 2016

How to feed 11 billion people: Addressing the 21st century's biggest challenge

Feeding the world in the future, as global populations reach upward of 11 billion in the next century, is likely to be a Herculean task. But researchers are working on how to address the issue from the skies down to the fields.

18 Jan 2016

Down to Earth With: GEO Secretariat Director Barbara Ryan

When Barbara Ryan enrolled as a freshman at the State University of New York in Cortland, she enjoyed athletics so much that she planned to pursue a career in physical education and coaching. Then her roommate convinced her to take a class in paleontology. She was hooked, and within months Ryan changed her major to geology, launching herself down an entirely different path. 
 
18 Dec 2015

Wealth of seafloor features emerges from new survey

A new survey of Earth’s deep ocean — 80 percent of which remains unmapped — has revealed a wealth of previously unknown features, including thousands of seamounts as well as a variety of undersea tectonic features that are either buried under too much sediment or were simply too small to be seen before.

14 Feb 2015

New off-the-shelf aerial imaging technique trumps lidar

In recent years lidar has become the gold standard for people looking to make high-resolution aerial maps — from archaeologists studying ruins hidden beneath jungle canopies to engineers monitoring dams and levees. Although the technology has many useful applications, it’s often prohibitively expensive. Now, a new technique using an off-the-shelf digital camera is offering an inexpensive alternative for collecting 3-D aerial data.

11 Sep 2014

Droning on for science

Unmanned aerial vehicles take off in geosciences research

Despite some controversy, scientists whose work involves imaging, monitoring or otherwise investigating the outdoor world have gradually been turning to unmanned aircraft in recent years, touting drones’ versatility, affordability and safety compared to manned flights. The possibilities for drones in the natural sciences are almost boundless.

13 Jun 2013

Old landscapes see the light thanks to improved imaging

Archaeology has come a long way from the days when the only way to find something was to dig it up. These days, in addition to shovels and brushes, many researchers also use noninvasive imaging techniques to look into the past without disturbing a site.

05 Jun 2013

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