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Consensus Study Report


Over the past decade renewed interest in practical applications of Earth observations from space has coincided with and been fueled by significant improvements in the availability of remote sensing data and in their spectral and spatial resolution. In addition, advances in complementary spatial data technologies such as geographic information systems and the Global Positioning System have permitted more varied uses of the data. During the same period, the institutions that produce remote sensing data have also become more diversified. In the United States, satellite remote sensing was until recently dominated largely by federal agencies and their private sector contractors. However, private firms are increasingly playing a more prominent role, even a leadership role, in providing satellite remote sensing data, through either public-private partnerships or the establishment of commercial entities that serve both government and private sector Earth observation needs. In addition, a large number of private sector value-adding firms have been established to work with end users of the data.

These changes, some technological, some institutional, and some financial, have implications for new and continuing uses of remote sensing data. To gather data for exploring the importance of these changes and their significance for a variety of issues related to the use of remote sensing data, the Space Studies Board initiated a series of three workshops. The first, "Moving Remote Sensing from Research to Applications: Case Studies of the Knowledge Transfer Process," was held in May 2000. This report draws on data and information obtained in the workshop planning meeting with agency sponsors, information presented by workshop speakers and in splinter group discussions, and the expertise and viewpoints of the authoring Steering Committee on Space Applications and Commercialization. The recommendations are the consensus of the steering committee and not necessarily of the workshop participants.


Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 2001. Transforming Remote Sensing Data into Information and Applications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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89 pages |  6 x 9 |  DOI:

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