In terrestrial studies and applications, DoI increased the deployment and use of GPS receivers because of the growing demand for real-time positioning in wildland areas that are out of reach of traditional differential methods. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) increased its use of GPS technology to satisfy field-mapping requirements and expanded GPS training programs for bureau and tribal personnel. The use of GPS technology also proliferated throughout the National Park Service (NPS) for natural resource, cultural resource, and park maintenance applications. The Minerals Management Service (MMS) continued to use GPS to position offshore oil and gas platforms and wells. Office of Surface Mining inspectors used GPS technology to determine the premining status and condition of surface resources, to prepare reclamation plans and contracts, to determine reclaimed acreage, to confirm that lands have been adequately restored upon reclamation, and to locate features that require regular inspection.
The BIA extensively used Landsat and Satellite Pour l'Observation de la Terre (SPOT) satellite imagery, as well as aerial photography from the National Aerial Photography Program (NAPP) and commercial sources, to generate image maps, inventory natural resources, conduct environmental assessments, and support other Geographic Information System (GIS) analyses. The MMS used remotely sensed data from several sources as part of environmental studies. The NPS used Landsat and SPOT data to map and monitor land cover, vegetation, and other specific features in many parks from Alaska to Florida.
The Bureau of Reclamation used high-spatial-resolution panchromatic imagery from the Indian Remote Sensing satellite (IRS-1C) and multispectral Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery for agricultural monitoring projects in the Colorado, Columbia, and Yellowstone River basins. The bureau also used Landsat TM imagery to map wildland vegetation in several Western States.
The Bureau of Land Management routinely used remote-sensing technology in all regions. An important application was the "routes of travel" inventory mandated by Presidential Executive Order for the 1.5-million-acre West Mojave Planning Unit in southern California. Data from SPOT satellites, NAPP aerial photography, digital orthophotography, digital cartographic data, GPS, and National Technical Means were integrated to build a comprehensive route inventory data base.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation System (EROS) Data Center continued to prepare for the upcoming Earth Observing System (EOS) AM-1 and Landsat 7 missions by installing the antenna system for direct reception of Landsat 7 data and the computer systems that will process, archive, and distribute EOS and Landsat 7 data and products. The center has also collected, processed, and archived more than 160,000 daily Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) observations since 1992 for the Global Land 1-km AVHRR Pathfinder Project, in cooperation with NASA, NOAA, and several international partners. The EROS Data Center created two major global land data sets and made them available over the Internetthe first global digital topography and land cover data sets covering Earth's entire land surface at 1-km resolution. Global change researchers now have a significantly better representation of Earth's land surface and land cover that will improve the results of Global Circulation Models and other computer-based models of Earth processes.
The USGS continued to use Landsat TM/Multispectral Scanner (MSS), SPOT, AVHRR, and radar data for a wide variety of mapping and research applications, including Statewide vegetation mapping through partnerships in the Gap Analysis Program; habitat and land-use mapping; fire fuels mapping; sea-surface temperature measurement; snow hydrology; fisheries monitoring; contaminants analysis; wetlands restoration; and the documention of both short- and long-term trends or changes in wildlife habitats. The USGS analyzed imaging spectroscopy data over the Leadville, Colorado, superfund site and mapped key minerals that generate acid mine drainage. By using this new technology, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accelerated the cleanup by 2.5 years and saved over $2 million in site-assessment costs.
The Multi-Resolution Land Characterization project (a joint activity of USGS, EPA, NASA, NOAA, and other agencies) released high-resolution land-cover data sets derived from Landsat data for Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The USGS participated actively with NASA in planning for the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. USGS investigators also worked with NASA personnel at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on the New Millennium program, which will demonstrate advanced technologies for use in the next generation of spacecraft missions, such as LightSAR.
In the area of space science, the USGS played a major role in the success of NASA's Mars Pathfinder mission, including support in site selection and certification and in postlanding publicity. USGS scientists provided basemaps and images for detailed scientific analyses of the landing site, and they studied the light and color properties of Mars and the planet's geologic and geomorphic surface processes. The USGS was also involved in the Mars Orbital Camera and the Thermal Emission Spectrometer teams of NASA's Mars Global Surveyor mission. USGS investigators also worked with JPL colleagues to support the new astrobiology initiative that will precisely define this evolving discipline and to develop strategies to support the Mars surface sample return missions of the next decade.