New satellite and aerial data-gathering technologies are making many aspects of engineering work--from environmental assessments to corridor routing--easier, faster, and less expensive. This month, satellite imagery with a resolution of 1 m becomes available for the first time to the civil sector from the Ikonos satellite. Last spring, the federal government lofted Landsat 7, offering imagery of the highest resolution and lowest price of any Landsat, and airborne light detecting and ranging (lidar) sensors offer some of the most accurate elevation data in the shortest time span ever by bouncing laser beams off the ground. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century mandated that the Department of Transportation work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to formulate, by December 31, 1999, a policy on ways to integrate remote sensing data into its projects. In the Fall of 1999, the department announced $10 million in funding for projects demonstrating how remote sensing can further such goals as traffic management, pipeline safety, and streamlining environmental impact studies. In the not-too-distant future, engineers will have even more choices. Hyperspectral sensors, which examine hundreds of individual bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, will reveal extremely subtle characteristics of surface features.


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  • Accession Number: 00781752
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 20 2000 12:00AM