Have you ever wanted to latch onto remote sensing data to help evaluate/fine-tune a project, but there was none readily available? That's all changing, courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.
The agency has kicked off a program called AmericaView (AV), focused on expanding the understanding and applications of the science of remote sensing.
The emphasis is on satellite remote sensing data and technologies in support of applied research, K-16 education, workforce development and technology transfer.
AmericaView's stated goals are:
- Advance availability and timely distribution of remote sensing data to the public.
- Transfer remote sensing tools and technology to educational institutions for use in developing remote sensing curricula.
- Promote use of satellite data to government agencies, educators, scientists, community leaders and the general public.
- Facilitate growth in applications of remote sensing data in areas such as agriculture, forestry, geology, cartography, hydrology and urban planning.
The program is administered through a partnership between the USGS and the AV consortium, comprised of university-led, state-based consortia working together to build a nationwide network of state and local users.
Currently, AV has 26 state members, and an effort is under way to expand participation to all 50 states.
"Each state that's a member of AmericaView has agreed to put together a consortium within the state," said Rebecca Dodge, who heads up GeorgiaView and serves on the board of directors of AV. "We promote the application of remote sensing and satellite imagery to solve problems and answer questions in our states."
Dodge said the group is "making an effort to alert people that free archives of satellite imagery are available.
"In many states with active oil exploration, people working in the industry now have a place to go for moderate resolution remote sensing imagery and for historic archives to help evaluate something such as changes associated with E&P activity over time," she said.
"Where there's oil exploration, they can use the imagery to monitor environmental changes related to exploration or to map geologic features that might control oil accumulation.
"People can also use the data to evaluate problems in many other areas such as agriculture, forestry and coastal erosion," she added.
The program's value for energy industry folks extends beyond oil.
For instance, states associated with coal, such as Virginia and West Virginia, are AV members with available imagery, as well as states with coalbed methane production, e.g., Wyoming.
The universities are assembling the state Views, so they are training and teaching people how to use the imagery. Some of the state Views have begun offering targeted training to people in different industries given that part of their charge from the USGS is to promote practical applications of remote sensing for activities going on in their states.
"We want to connect AAPG members with their state consortia so they'll know data is available and that there are experts in teaching, training and research at the university," Dodge said.
"If you have questions like what imagery is available, you can go to the state View and get the answers."
The URL for AmericaView is http://americaview.usgs.gov/.