Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is remote sensing?
Remote sensing is the study of the environment from a distance
using instruments such as cameras and radars mounted on aircraft
or spacecraft. Remote sensing has both an Engineering and a Science
components. The Engineering part of the discipline deals with sensor
technologies and the interaction of electromagnetic waves with the
propgation medium and the surface, including vegetation canopies
and subsurface penetration. The Science portion of the discipline
is the application of the remotely sensed data to scientific studies.
Thus, remote sensing is inherently interdisciplinary. Remote sensing
is being applied in such diverse fields as archeology, oceanography,
meteorology, hydrology, air/sea interaction, fisheries, watersheds,
weather and climate, land-use planning, waste disposal, mining,
geologic studies, agriculture, range management, and mapping. More
background is available as well as
an on-line tutorial on Remote
What is the Center for Remote Sensing (CERS)?
Faculty from the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering
(ECEn), Geography, and Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE)
originally proposed the formation of an interdisciplinary Center
known as the Center for Remote Sensing (CERS). Organizationally
similar to the BYU Red Center for Western Studies, the Center goals
are to: 1) enhance the academic experience for our students, 2)
enhance the reputation of BYU, and 3) expand research opportunities
and experiences for faculty and students. The Center will administer
a new interdisciplinary Master's of Environmental Remote Sensing
Degree in coordination with the departments involved.
Why a Center?
Developments in the technology of remote sensing have enabled
us to better understand the global atmosphere, ocean, and biosphere
as a system. Remote sensing is inherently interdisciplinary, with
application to such diverse fields as archeology, weather and climiate
prediction, fisheries, hydrology, land-use planning, waste disposal,
geography, mining, geologic studies, and crop yields. While sensor
technology development has traditionally resided in the Electrical
Engineering field, no single department or college can properly
administer a strong academic/research program in remote sensing
and its applications.
A Center facilitates the interaction of the various academic units
and foster interdisciplinary faculty research. As a focus point
for current and planned growth of remote sensing research and teaching
at BYU, the Center will also provide valuable name recognition for
Two of the research laboratories (the MERS Lab and the Laboratory
for GIA) which will support CERS are experiencing significant growth
due to their expanding research programs. This growth is straining
department resources. The Center will provide a mechanism for sustaining
the growth of these laboratories.
By expanding the educational and research opportunities of students
and faculty at BYU, the academic programs at both the undergraduate
and graduate levels will be enhanced as has been demonstrated by
both MERS and LGIA experiences. Further, we can attract students
who will be hired into positions which can benefit both BYU and
the Church. The Center will administer a new interdisciplinary Master's
of Environmental Remote Sensing degree. Center resources will support
a Visiting Scientist program which will enable to attract established
researchers to strengthen the research and academic programs a BYU.
Visiting scientists will be hired on a combination of soft and hard
money. The combination is felt essential to attract the highest
caliber of research faculty who, in turn, will bring their existing
research programs to support additional soft-money staff and student