The Desert Research Institute is a recognized leader in combining geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing to address biological, ecological and hydrological problems both nationally and internationally. A large number of DRI investigators use aerospace remote sensing and GIS to map, monitor, and model earth surface processes in a diverse range of applications including hydrology, air quality studies, ecosystem and human health, and agricultural productivity.
The spatial analysis facilities at DRI are equipped with a wide range of hardware and software tools for addressing these applications. Hardware includes a distributed network of Sun, SGI, and PC workstations for individual and shared resource use, numerous disk subsystems with many terrabytes of storage, and a wide range of high resolution printers and plotters. DRI maintains a system-wide license of ESRI GIS software packages, including the new ArcGIS scalable GIS software, Arc/Info workstation, ArcView and its extensions, ArcIMS, ArcGIS Server, and other ESRI products and databases. DRI maintains a system-wide license of ITT VisionSystems image processing and programming software packages, including ENVI, RiverTools, IDL, Noesys, and VIP. The Institute also maintains a system-wide license of ERDAS Imagine geospatial image processing software tools and Google Earth Pro. Global Mapper, National Geographic Topo!, and Splus, are also available at DRI.
DRI has both Trimble and TDS Solo real-time differential map-grade global positioning system (GPS) units, two survey-grade GPS units from Trimble and Ashtech, as well as many Garmin hand-held GPS systems. The Institute maintains a Nikon DTM 450 Total Station for accurate surveying. A full range field spectrometer (ASD FieldSpec Pro) is available for performing detailed spectral analysis of field samples. A ground penetrating radar (GPR) system is available for subsurface remote sensing. DRI has a high resolution thermal imaging camera for detailed analysis of terrestrial thermal properties. The Institute maintains an archive of over 1000 image data sets from over 30 different imaging systems covering Nevada and selected study areas from five continents. DRI also maintains an archive of 10 meter digital elevation model (DEM) data for the entire conterminous United States.
DRI maintains a teaching laboratory where university level classes and hands-on short courses in image processing, remote sensing, and GIS are taught using industry standard software packages such as ArcGIS, ENVI and Imagine.
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