One of the more challenging aspects of natural resources education is to impart a landscape perspective to students in the course of professional instruction. This is one of the more subtle but important aspects of ecosystem-oriented forestry. The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words pertains to this context, as does "water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink." There is abundant technological potential embodied in the several satellite remote sensors continually adding to an already vast warehouse of image data, but casting this digital image raw material in a form for ready viewing by students has heretofore required technically sophisticated infrastructure and run afoul of copyright restrictions on sharing of such data. Recent developments in compressing image data for viewing and redistribution can resolve much of this difficulty. A "PHASE" compression of satellite data reduces it to a fraction of its media requirement, frees it from copyright restrictions, and makes it compatible with web downloadable no-cost viewers. Landsat thematic mapper data for the entire state of Pennsylvania have been compressed in this manner to fit on a single CD-ROM and still leave room for a host of other data. An individual diskette will accommodate a chunk of landscape large enough to provide a backdrop for most settings in natural resources education. The PHASE software is shareware, and a little help from local remote sensing specialists should be sufficient for getting started.
Myers, Wayne L.
"Lending landscape perspective to natural resources education,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues:
Vol. 7, Article 26.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol7/iss1/26