Remote sensing is the collection of information about natural resources and the environment using images acquired by sensors on board aircraft or spacecraft. Earlier this year, Kentucky's Commonwealth Office of Technology (COT) was the recipient of a remote sensing grant from NASA and the National States Geographic Information Council. The purpose of the grant was to conduct workshops that would introduce Kentuckians to remote sensing and the data products that are available from the Kentucky Landscape Snapshot (KLS) – a NASA-funded project being conducted with COT as the principal investigator.
Remote sensing hands-on exercises at
Somerset Community College campus
Remote sensing lecture at Jefferson
Community College campus
Most states that received the grants conducted a single workshop, but four were conducted in Kentucky. The workshops were held in facilities of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), including Jefferson Community College, Madisonville Community College, Ashland Community and Technical College, and Somerset Community College. In the four workshops, 149 people were trained. The participants came from every level of government, the private sector, citizenry and academia. In addition, COT secured continuing education credits for Kentucky elected officials, landscape architects, professional engineers and land surveyors, and planners who attended the workshops.
A number of topics were covered during the workshops, including what remote sensing is, what kind of questions can be answered by using remotely sensed data, what kind of sensors gather data, the differences between satellite imagery and digital airborne imagery, how to get remotely sensed data into a geographic information system (GIS), where to find and access the KLS data and about NSGIC and NASA’s Earth Sun Systems Office.
A steering committee made up of numerous organizations worked with COT to put the workshops together. Members of the steering committee were: Kentucky Community and Technical College System*, Kentucky Information Technology Center, Kentucky Office of Homeland Security*, NSGIC*, NASA Earth Science Enterprise*, Kentucky Division of Geographic Information, Kentucky Department of Revenue, Kentucky Council on Post Secondary Education, Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts, Georgetown-Scott County Planning Commission, Kentucky League of Cities – Bluegrass Tomorrow, Kentucky Association of Counties, Kentucky Chapter of American Planning Association, Kentucky Association of Mapping Professionals (KAMP) and PhotoScience, Inc.
One of the most important things garnered from the workshops was a survey completed by most of the participants. The survey asked what was needed by the participants for them to begin using remotely sensed data and technologies in their programs or businesses. The analysis from this survey will help shape a remote sensing program within state government and future educational opportunities for Kentuckians.
(* - denotes sponsors that contributed financial support for the workshops)
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