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GCS Research LLC and DigitalGlobe announced the inclusion of DigitalGlobe’s QuickBird imagery as a significant commercial remote sensing component of GCS Research’s recently announced Space Act Agreement with NASA. Over the course of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration (2003-2006), GCS Research will work closely with DigitalGlobe and NASA to incorporate high-resolution, QuickBird (60 cm, pan-sharpened) imagery into the Lewis and Clark Geosystem and make these images available for viewing and analysis via Internet systems.

The Lewis and Clark Geosystem represents a joint GCS Research and NASA research project to make available a variety of remote sensing images to a combined audience consisting of K-16 educators, scholarly researchers, and interested members of the general public. Working with corporate partners such as Mapping Science Inc., ESRI Inc., Digimarc Inc., Ingeniux Inc., and others, GCS Research and NASA personnel are developing a web-based geospatial portal based upon a distributed architecture. Massive data resources currently maintained by NASA at The John C. Stennis Space Center’s Earth Science Applications Directorate (ESAD) are being dynamically networked with other geospatial data resources from participating public and private data partners. Most notably, David Rumsey’s existing Lewis and Clark ArcIMS services are being connected with NASA’s core data node, creating an unprecedented blend of historical cartographic products with NASA’s archive of modern satellite imagery (Landsat 5 TM, Landsat 7 ETM+, ATLAS, Hyperion, etc.).

DigitalGlobe’s unique contribution will include providing significant, high-quality images of key areas of the Lewis and Clark Trail and encampments. Focusing initially on areas of ongoing archaeological investigation by Dr. Ken Karzminski and NASA ESAD researchers, QuickBird images will be acquired to support these significant investigations. Simultaneously, NASA, GCS Research and DigitalGlobe will investigate the utilization of QuickBird imagery for a variety of landscape management objectives along the modern Lewis and Clark Trail. Some of these investigations will include cooperative efforts with other federal agencies such as the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Region, which currently oversees the management of various wildlife refuges present along the historical Lewis and Clark route. In addition to archaeological investigations, landscape management objectives include evaluating the effects of wildland fire disturbance regimes on trail ecosystems, monitoring wetlands change, measuring urban expansion, tracking noxious and invasive weeds, and mapping vegetative mosaics for key Lewis and Clark encampments such as Fort Clatsop (winter 1895-1806).

Currently, NASA, GCS Research and its technology partners are building phase one of the Lewis and Clark Geosystem, which includes a remote sensing geodatabase of combined assets from a variety of existing geospatial resources for the Lewis and Clark Trail. DigitalGlobe’s QuickBird imagery will be included in the raster catalogue of the Lewis and Clark Geosystem as they are acquired by NASA. A prototype of the Lewis and Clark Geosystem is currently focusing upon the National Park Service’s Fort Clatsop National Memorial, Oregon. The prototype highlights the distributed nature of the Geosystem, the power of geospatial data query, and a forthcoming .NET service interface. This initial phase of the Lewis and Clark Geosystem will be released at the ESRI International User Conference, San Diego, July 2003.