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OhioView Collaboration Featured at NASA Conference

Date: Nov. 7, 2000
By: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Archive: Research News

Imagine a project which can improve rice harvests, uncover geological information in remote regions of the world, and help school teachers provide accurate and up-to-date information about the environment. It exists, and that's a sample of what it can do.

The project is a consortium called OhioView, and it was co-founded by a UC faculty member to improve access to satellite images of Earth for research and educational purposes. It's been so successful the consortium is now expanding to other states with the help of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Richard Beck, UC adjunct professor of geography and OhioView's co-founder and current director, will serve as the master of ceremonies for the Gateway to the Earth (G2E) conference Thursday, Nov. 9 at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The conference will showcase G2E -- a national consortium of universities, government, and industry designed to promote the development of the satellite remote sensing industry in the United States. The consortium works to improve access to satellite data and technology for education and research.

The G2E is an outgrowth of the OhioView Pilot, which Beck co-founded in 1996 to provide educational and research users with rapid, affordable access to NASA and USGS satellite data. NASA-Glenn, a partner with 10 Ohio universities and other state organizations, constructed OhioView's high-speed network. It allows images to be transmitted between USGS servers in Sioux Falls, S.D. and NASA- Glenn where the images are stored.

The Gateway to the Earth Conference will focus on recent successes, applications and opportunities for collaboration involving remote sensing data from the Landsat-7 satellite. Education, urban and rural planning, environment, resource management and related high-speed, high-bandwidth, terrestrial and satellite information technology will also be discussed.

States belonging to the G2E consortium include Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. But Beck says that within five years, all 50 states should be phased into the project.

"Government and commercial satellite data are rapidly becoming an integral part of education and research and our economy as a whole," said Beck, OhioView Consortium director. "This is an opportunity for educators, legislators, partners and potential partners to assess the progress and chart the future of applications of satellite imaging data."

"Glenn is working with other NASA centers and the USGS to extend the OhioView data access system to other states," said Calvin T. Ramos, chief, Satellite Networks and Architectures Branch. "Other agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management and the Environmental Protection Agency are already using G2E satellite data."

Currently, OhioView provides teachers with satellite images to help them show realistic views of Earth to their students. Every 16 days, new images of Ohio are transmitted from NASA's Landsat-7 Earth Observing Satellite. It takes about 10 images to put together an entire view of the state of Ohio.

More information, a conference agenda and a list of speakers are available at

Information on the Gateway to the Earth: OhioView Pilot is available at


  • Robert Frohn, assistant professor of geography, has been conducting research on how to improve the wild rice harvest and locate sugar maple stands for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Native Americans in northern Minnesota. He is also using Gateway to the Earth: OhioView Pilot data for student projects on farmland loss in Ohio in his advanced remote sensing course.

  • Richard Beck, adjunct professor of geography, is designing a remote sensing distance education course with a NASA communications satellite for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, creating a new set of undergraduate physical geography teaching materials that combine USGS satellite imagery of Ohio with photography and field data for virtual field trips. He is also collaborating with colleagues in Germany on new geologic maps of northwest Pakistan and the Pamir Mountain Range.

  • Geography faculty Beck, Frohn and Kenneth Hinkel are also constructing a new remote-sensing laboratory for student and faculty research in Braunstein Hall. The project is funded by NASA and USGS.

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