Past Awardee

Cyberinfrastructure for Remote Sensing Informatics

Praveen Kumar
Praveen Kumar

College: Engineering
Award year: 2007-2008

Understanding the Earth system--its weather, climate, oceans, atmosphere, water, land, natural resources, ecosystems, and natural and human-induced hazards--is crucial to enhancing human health, safety and welfare, alleviating human suffering including poverty, protecting the global environment, reducing disaster losses, and achieving sustainable development. The components of the earth system are changing as a result of a variety of anthropogenic factors. These large scale changes can be observed and insipient trends identified through global mapping of relevant variables using satellites. The number of satellites, the instruments aboard each satellite, and the spectral resolution and windows of each instrument is increasing quickly offering unprecedented opportunities for a careful assessment of the earth system and developing predictive capabilities.

While these technological advances allow us to make unprecedented fine resolution global observations of our environment, the cyberinfrastructure tools to enable large scale integration, visualization, and analysis of these multi-platform, multi-instrument, multi-scale, multi-spectral large volume data are non-existent or extremely limited at best. Given our increasing realization that the components of earth system are significantly coupled and changes in one variable have non-linear impact on a related but distant variable, there is a compelling need, now more than ever, for technologies that enable data integration, visual analytics and mining. The exploitation of the observations from these various systems will indeed provide a new avenue for earth system science studies. Remote sensing informatics, as proposed here, will encompass the development of (a) theories, methodologies, algorithms and tools; (b) techniques for testing concepts, validating and verifying results and conclusions; (c) visualizations of high-dimensional information; and (d) data interpretation, knowledge extraction and representation and presentation.

The objective of the proposed research is to develop cyberinfrastructure for remote sensing informatics to enable scientific investigations, modeling, prediction and decision support for applications in a variety of earth system and environmental science disciplines such as hydrology, climatology, environmental science, ecology, biogeochemistry, surficial processes, and engineering. This will be accomplished by entering into a dialog with NCSA about the requirements and specification for developing such a large scale cyberinfrastructure technology, and developing and testing some critical ideas by focusing on specific problems related to change in water, energy, and carbon cycle interaction resulting from human impact at the large spatial scale in the South and North American Monsoon regions.

The proposed study regions will serve as assessment sites to evaluate the adequacy of available data and uncertainties associated with the fusion of data and their impact on scientific investigation related to the coupling of water, energy, and carbon cycles. This assessment approach will then form the basis for the technology development recognizing fully well that one cannot be done without the other. As technology developments proceed, it will facilitate more data integration to be incorporated into the assessment of its performance. The cyberinfrastructure to be developed will facilitate (1) Data Integration, Management and Access; (2) Tool Integration in Cyber-environment; and (3) A Scalable Framework for Utilizing Computational Resources in the context of satellite remote sensing data.