Sensing from Research to Applications: Case Studies of the Knowledge Transfer Process,” was held in May 2000. This report draws on data and information obtained in the workshop planning meeting with agency sponsors, information presented by workshop speakers and in splinter group discussions, and the expertise and viewpoints of the authoring Steering Committee on Space Applications and Commercialization. The recommendations are the consensus of the steering committee and not necessarily of the workshop participants.

Rather than trying to cover the full spectrum of remote sensing applications, the steering committee focused on civilian remote sensing applications in the coastal environment.1 The workshop featured three case studies in coastal management involving (1) the application of Sea-viewing Wide-Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) data in monitoring harmful algal blooms, (2) the use of airborne lidar bathymetry for monitoring navigation channels, and (3) the use of both satellite and aerial remote sensing to identify sewage outflows. All three provided detailed information on the applications as well as problems encountered in developing them, allowing the steering committee to learn from the real-world experiences of particular users.

In addition, participants in five workshop splinter sessions—on education and training, institutional, technical, and policy issues in technology transfer, and user awareness and needs—identified and discussed more general barriers and bottlenecks that interfere with the development of remote sensing applications and also explored ways to overcome such problems. Plenary presentations focused on research on technology transfer; science and policy issues in the coastal zone; a comparison of remote sensing technology transfer with respect to geographic information systems and the Global Positioning System; and new directions in the use of remote sensing data. This material provided a basis for much of the steering committee’s analysis and figured significantly in its development of the report’s findings and recommendations.


To encourage finding more effective ways to develop new and useful applications of remote sensing data, the steering committee considered barriers to as well as opportunities for developing successful applications through the transfer of knowledge and technology.2 Its examination of the remote sensing technology transfer process led to the identification of a number of gaps that must be bridged in order to develop effective civilian applications:


Although a great deal of excellent work on operational applications has been done within the defense community, those developments were independent of civil remote sensing in terms of both budgets and technologies and hence they are not within the purview of this report.


The steering committee approached technology and knowledge transfer in terms of the application of remote sensing data and images in the public, private, and not-for-profit

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