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Ohio state software fills in missing data on satellite images

Ohio State software is helping scientists get a more complete view of the environment from satellites that orbit the earth. Maps that depict the thickness of the ozone layer, for instance, frequently contain blank spots where a satellite wasn’t able to record data on a particular day. Noel Cressie, professor of statistics and director of the Program in Spatial Statistics and Environmental Sciences (SSES) at Ohio State University and his colleagues found a way to use data from the rest of a map as well as from previous days to fill in the blank spots. The same technique could be used in studies of agricultural data or even medical imaging. When it comes to mapping the environment, satellites gather so much data every day that filling in the missing parts quickly is a challenge. The Ohio State software does the job in about three minutes. It also calculates a measure of map precision. The varying precision in different parts of the completed map gives scientists valuable information about the quality of the data they use to construct computer models of Earth’s climate system. Cressie began this project with former student Hsin-Cheng Huang. Another student, Gardar Johannesson, completed the work for his doctoral dissertation at Ohio State. This work was partially funded by the Office of Naval Research.