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Miami University
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Ohioview to give students sky-high view of state

09/08/1998

OXFORD, Ohio -- Satellite views of the earth--once available only to the wealthy and government scientists--will soon be in the hands of school children and the public, thanks to a new program initiated by Miami University.

The satellite images will be used for education, urban planning, insurance validation, map revision, disaster management, crop assessment and to create new high-tech business opportunities in a program that gives the public access to the benefits of its multi-billion dollar investment in government satellites.

OhioView, a space-based data network shared by Miami and five other Ohio universities, will allow the public to see and manipulate satellite photos of Ohio at little or no cost. The OhioView consortium will include libraries, state agencies, farmers, planners, K-12 and university teachers, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Images that once cost $4,400 each will be available at a reduced cost to OhioView thanks to the efforts of Ohio's congressional representatives. Images will be free to users, at least initially, through grants. Easily accessed data (via the Web) will be aimed at three levels of users: K-12, middle-range users and advanced users (e.g. researchers, planners and extension agents). It can be found at http://www.ohioview.org.

"From class projects that might use maps to compare snowfalls over parts of Ohio to researchers using special remote sensing software, these photos will provide opportunities for study that were financially off limits until now," said John Millard, electronic information services librarian at Miami who is helping coordinate access to OhioView.

OhioView via LandSat and EOS-AM1 satellites
  • Images are 105 miles square.

  • It takes 16 passes (days) to photograph all of Ohio.

  • 10 photographs cover the whole state.

  • "OhioView is data," said Jerome Conley, assistant to the dean/geology librarian at Miami, and OhioView administrative project manager. "Providing data and helping people use the data is what librarians like to do. We can hardly wait to see what students and faculty do with the satellite photos."

    OhioView will be launched officially at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 20, at Miami's Hall Auditorium. Keynote speaker will be Barbara Ryan, associate director of the USGS.

    It will be the culmination of nearly two years of work for Miami personnel and many others. "The synergy between the libraries, universities, high schools, NASA and the USGS has been fantastic. With their help, OhioView has become a national program known as Gateway2Earth: OhioView Pilot, in less than two years," said Richard Beck, assistant professor of geology, who first approached the geological survey with the idea. Conley, John Fink and Stan Brown of the libraries, and Larry Mayer and Robert Vincent of geology, also did much of the early OhioView work.

    This is how the system will work: Data from the satellite will go to the U.S. Geological Survey EROS Data Center in South Dakota, travel over the NASA Research and Education Network to the NASA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland and then shared with the state via member universities. In the near future, there are plans to transmit the data to and through the Ohio Supercomputer Center and the OhioLINK (Ohio Library Information Network).

    Visitors to OhioView Web sites will be able to see a small version of the image they seek before deciding to download custom, full-resolution images.

    Adding to the access and availability of satellite photos of Ohio will be a one-stop Web collection of available geographic data. Millard is developing the data site with help from a Clearinghouse Grant from the U.S. Geological Survey.

    After the program is up and running, the OhioView consortium will expand it by developing similar programs in other states as required by OhioView's congressional funding.

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