Soon, Wisconsin’s citizens will have ready and regular access to digital satellite images of any location in the state under a cooperative initiative called WisconsinView. The program involves a consortium of existing and prospective satellite data users and providers. It is led by the UW-Madison Environmental Remote Sensing Center (ERSC) in partnership with the State Cartographer’s Office (SCO). It is part of an planned nationwide program called AmericaView, which is funded by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Much more than an archive
"WisconsinView will be much more than an archive of digital imagery," says Thomas Lillesand, director of ESRC and the UW-Madison enviromental monitoring professor heading the effort. "It will involve a cooperative, broadly based consortium of data users and suppliers, a major statewide remote sensing education and outreach program, and continued research into new applications of satellite data in academia, government and business." State Cartographer Ted Koch points out that "The eventual aim is to make remote sensing educational information and data accessible to K-12 teachers, the entire UW System, private colleges, technical colleges, state, local, regional, tribal, and federal agencies, as well as the private sector."
Proposed design for WisconsinView consortism
Initial program activities
WisconsinView is still very much a "work in progress." The building of the WisconsinView Consortium will continue with the identification of many new partners over time. The development and distribution of K-16 remote sensing curriculum materials will be underway. Research focused on applications development will also run in parallel with the program’s outreach and technology transfer activities.
One of the first tasks being undertaken is a survey of existing remote sensing activities and courses in the UW System. Similar surveys will be oriented toward existing or prospective remote sensing data users in the governmental and non-profit sectors, as well as commercial data users and providers. Some of these surveys will likely be included in the Mapping Bulletin.
"We envision WisconsinView to be a very long-term program," says Lillesand. He reiterates that "The program should be conceived of as much more than an efficient data archive and distribution system-and it is not just a ‘UW-Madison thing.’ It represents a formal and continuing collective commitment to maximizing the benefits of present and future remote sensing technology across the state’s educational, governmental and commercial sectors alike. The opportunities at hand for our citizens in this regard are at the same time scientific, social, and economic."
We intend to provide regular updates about WisconsinView in the Mapping Bulletin, so interested readers can stay informed of the program’s activities.
To learn more about WisconsinView and to see satellite imagery of Wisconsin already available on-line in preliminary format, visit the WisconsinView Website. The archive is expected to be completely operational by this fall.