Advances in Earth Observation: Enabling New Insights into Global Environmental Change

Innovations in Imaging Earth
Sunday, 15 February 2015: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room 210CD (San Jose Convention Center)
Understanding the drivers and impacts of global change depend on observing environmental patterns and processes across multiple spatial and temporal scales. These scales span seconds to decades in time and centimeters to millions of square kilometers in space. Earth observation (remote sensing) is the only feasible means for providing this range of perspectives, but collecting and analyzing data across all scales is limited by inherent trade-offs between the extent, duration, frequency, and resolution of observation. It is therefore likely that there are important but unknown global change phenomena lurking within our observational blind spots. Physics imposes some of this blindness, but much of it is due to engineering or economic constraints. These latter two hurdles are steadily falling as new big data analysis techniques are combined with the proliferation of low-cost, high-quality data from new satellites, unmanned aircraft, and cell-enabled field sensor networks, as well as a large pool of internet-enabled workers who can interpret these data in ways that algorithms cannot. These new capabilities are allowing researchers to make breakthroughs in understanding global change dynamics and how they affect efforts to improve human welfare and achieve environmental sustainability. This session will highlight work that draws on "new Earth observation" approaches to gain fresh insight into food security, global forest dynamics, and the ecological impacts of climate change.
Lyndon Estes, Princeton University
Lyndon Estes, Princeton University
Matt Hansen, University of Maryland, College Park
Employing Big Data To Monitor Global Land Change
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