Training in remote sensing, like that for chemistry and physics from which it draws, demands a "hands-on" experience by students. Explosive growth in the field over the past decade has left instructors and professors in the untenable position of having inadequate instructional aids. Moreover, the extraordinary breadth of sensor applications, both proven and feasible, has led to almost ad hoc decisions as to what should be included in current course work. This ill-defined and ill-equipped status, in the absence of common denominators, results in students whose training is difficult to assess.
Two recent compilations (Morain, Nealey) summarize the current expanse of remote sensing education in the U.S. Conservatively, there has been a 400% increase in educational opportunities since Eitel published his survey in 1972. Since the late 1960's, however, research has so concentrated on analog and digital electronic processing that students can often only claim introduction to topics rather than active hands-on activity.
The need for inexpensive and widely available instructional aids has become critical if future remote sensing specialists are to be trained to meet the expanding demand. New and forthcoming materials from the Laboratory for Applications of Remote Sensing (LARS), the Technology Application Center (TAC), the EROS Data Center (EDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Pilot Rock, Inc. (PRI) will greatly increase the availability of instructional aids. They should also help define the set of common denominators heretofore missing. A logical extension of these efforts is the acquisition and mass production of hard copy images and other training aids for individual student use.
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