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Engineering Students Explore Remote Sensing


Engineering Students Explore Remote Sensing
Engineering Students Explore Remote Sensing
 
Bryan Usevitch, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Scott Starks, Ph.D., P.E., professor of computer and electrical and computer engineering, are using a grant funded by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency to help educate engineering students at The University of Texas at El Paso on the applications of remote sensing.

“How far has the Gulf oil spill spread? How many airports were shut down due to Icelandic volcanic eruptions? These are questions that can be answered through remote sensing,” Usevitch said.

Remote sensing is the acquisition of information, from either a large- or small-scale natural phenomena or event, usually by means of aerial photography. The technology is playing an important role in surveying the destruction of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and gathering intelligence in Iraq and Afghanistan for wartime strategic purposes.

Part of the grant involved the production of 11 posters that currently are on display in UTEP’s Centennial Museum. The posters, developed by electrical engineering graduate students Oscar Hernandez and Sergio Gamez, feature a wide range of information, from the history of remote sensing to a “bird’s eye” view of UTEP.

The grant has provided a plethora of opportunities for students looking to advance in professional fields pertinent to the technology.

“This remote sensing class was different than other schools (that have had similar classes),” Starks said. “Since we are an electrical and computer engineering department, we focused on the nuts and bolts of programming algorithms (for computer software related to remote sensing) from scratch. We didn’t use any commercial software.”

The primary goals of the exhibit are to teach the community about the importance of remote sensing and to train students interested in entering the field as a profession, according to Usevitch.

Both professors plan to submit another proposal to expand their class and software development. Their key goal is to continue teaching applications of the technology in a classroom setting.

“(The class and exhibit) was very successful,” Starks said. “I had a wonderful experience in the course, as did the students. I enjoyed teaching them. Moreover, they were able to apply other things they had all learned in other classes.”

Usevitch, Starks and the College of Engineering will host a reception to officially recognize the exhibit at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 22 in the Centennial Museum. The exhibit is expected to continue through late August.

Originally posted on News @ UTEP.