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Longer term research will involve the use of microwave systems,

and possibly luminescence imaging systems, which have not yet been used from space but which have already provided useful data acquired from aircraft; laser ranging to passive retro-reflector satellites to permit precision measurement of intercontinental distances; and additional research with digitally processed Landsat images to assess its potential role in identifying energy resources in evaporite basins, and in monitoring dynamic marine phenomena in coastal areas.

Continuation of the development of uses of space data and the creation

of new space and data systems based on recognized information needs are basic needs of future space programs of benefit to the Department of the Interior.


The purpose of this report is to describe the remote sensing

activities in the Department of the Interior that relate to current and future space programs and to show how these activities contribute to

the needs of society.

The Department of the Interior is responsible for much of the Nation's public lands and for maintaining an appropriate balance between the use and conservation of natural resources on these lands. Effective resource management and research require accurate and timely data, whether collected on the ground, from aircraft, or from satellites. In some investigations data from more than one level of observation and from various sensors such

as multispectral scanners, cameras, and radars are useful. To collect data, the Department relies on aircraft for acquiring aerial photography, carrying experimental airborne instruments, and executing programs such as selection of utility corridors, cadastral surveys, and resource


The need for surveying and repetitive monitoring of vast and often inaccessible areas has also created a growing interest in the Department in satellite data. Currently, the Department is making use of data acquired by the experimental Landsat system, because of its synoptic, repetitive, and uniform coverage. Digitally processed Landsat data are permitting extraction of information by computerized techniques. Because of the flexibility that digital data offer in collecting and managing large volumes of information, resource managers in some bureaus of the Department are now incorporating this new technology on a limited basis into their activities.

The material presented in this paper:

0 shows how the EROS Program applies, demonstrates, and

distributes remotely sensed data

o gives examples of how space technology is used in remote sensing applications and in transmitting data from remote field sites

O describes potential applications of data to be collected by

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missions that have been approved for operation but have not yet flown

demonstrates the potential contribution to society of future research projects using space technology


U.S. Geological Survey personnel who made major contributions to this report are: W. D. Carter, Morris Deutsch, W. A. Fischer,

W. R. Hemphill, R. Y. Herbert, Richard Paulson, Robert Regan,

C. J. Robinove, G. A. Thorley, and R. S. Williams, Jr.

Robert Hansen from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation also prepared

a section of this paper.


The need for surveying and repetitive monitoring of vast, commonly inaccessible areas has created a growing interest in the Department of the Interior in remote sensing technology, especially data acquired from Earth resource satellites. The Department established the Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Program in 1966

to assist in implementing use of remote sensing technology in operational programs of the Department;

- to conduct and encourage research in new uses of remote sensing


- to provide user assistance and training in remote sensing;
to provide for data archiving, retrieval, reproduction, and
distribution of remotely sensed data and related information.

The EROS Program is currently cooperating with

the Bureau of Mines to develop a routine system using Landsat data to monitor strip mines;

the Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration to correlate linear features observed on Landsat imagery with roof falls in underground mines;

the Bureau of Land Management in experimenting with the use of Landsat data to classify range and forest vegetation;

the Bureau of Reclamation in the use of data from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) to facilitate cloud seeding and local weather prediction;

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