Focus of the Purdue Terrestrial Observatory


The focus of the PTO will be to facilitate and engage in state-of-the-science, cutting-edge research and applications, including high performance computing applications, high band width remotely sensed data transfer, parallelizing code for image analysis, data fusion, data mining, knowledge-based classification, signal processing, spatial/temporal geomorphology relationships, and advanced visualization functions, including immersive environments, virtual worlds, and decision-support informed by virtual exploration of the archival remotely sensed data, with on-the-fly change detection, and generation of alternative what-if future scenarios. Calibration and ground reference information will be enabled by in situ imaging spectrometers, radiometers, acoustic signature devices, ground penetrating radar, laboratory analysis of biogenic and anthropogenic surface features and, for specialized applications, ultra wide band analyzers.

The PTO's applied research will specifically focus on innovative and groundbreaking research and development initiatives directed toward (a) homeland security applications, (b) environmental and ecological applications, (c) meteorology and climatology and (d) economic development applications:

Homeland Security:

  • Food Security - from field, storage, to domestic retail markets and exports
  • Epidemics & Epizootics - monitoring habitats for disease vectors & mapping outbreak spread and containment
  • Monitoring the integrity of power grid and nuclear power plants
  • Vulnerability assessment for structures, facilities and for urban areas
  • Disaster planning, evacuation planning and mitigation strategies for biogenic and anthropogenic incidents

Environmental & Ecological Applications:

  • Watershed-scale hydrological monitoring
  • Identification of best practices for sustainable natural resource management
  • Precision farming
  • Biodiversity assessment
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Urban development and sprawl impact

Meteorology & Climatology:

  • Storm system characterization and tracking
  • Climate change vulnerability assessment, mitigation and adaptive response
  • Interaction between atmospheric circulation and ocean circulation, utilizing remote sensing data, visualization and modeling in a high performance computing environment

Economic Development:

  • Strategic business site location
  • 3D geological visualization & mineralogical exploration analysis
  • Environmental impact assessment & thermal energy conservation analysis
  • Spin off business development related to high resolution real-time satellite data - commercialization of remote sensing value-added products

Governmental and private sector partners are being sought to collaborate with Purdue University in ensuring that the Terrestrial Observatory's phased development will soon attain preeminence in real-time earth observation methodologies, commensurate with Purdue's long history of remote sensing research with its LARS faculty and with Purdue's key role in aerospace research engineering, as evidenced by the fact that nine of the thirteen American astronauts who walked on the moon are Purdue alumni. Accordingly, resources are being sought to supplement Purdue's initial investment to secure a state-of-the science ground station array, supporting hardware and software, cutting edge analytical facilities for spatial/temporal data, endowed professorships for remote sensing scholars, and fellowships/ assistantships for students specializing in remote sensing applications.

PTO Links

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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