Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Geospacial Revolution

As a civil engineering student I took just about every surveying course that was offered including six weeks of summer school in the mosquito infested forests of northern Wisconsin and a 12-week stint the following summer as an instructor. About the only surveying course I can think of that I didn't take back then was one on remote sensing, and in retrospect I wish I had taken that too. I also wish I'd had the money to hang around for a master's degree after getting my B.S. because almost surely I would have continued with some branch of advanced surveying.

In the early 1970's the technologies related to remote sensing were just getting going. Photogrametry was the primary tool used at the time to determine geometric properties (elevations, locations, etc) of ground objects from aerial imagery, but it required many man hours, expensive and complex equipment with glass plates. Global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) then, given the status of computer systems, were but a dream. But it was all on the horizon and we dreamed of the possibilities... and now most all of it and more is really here.

The following series of outstanding videos done by Penn State University provide a wide range of information about how important GPS and GIS have become in our modern world and how much we depend on them in integrated ways to manage our businesses, respond to emergencies, conduct warfare, and generally improve life in so many myriad ways.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

I find this stuff incredibly exciting. I hope you will too. Enjoy!

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