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UMD Ranked as Global Leader in Remote Sensing Research

November 14, 2013

Laura Ours 301-405-5722

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – As the significance of remote sensing research to measure key environmental concerns is increasingly recognized around the world, the University of Maryland is positioned as a global leader in the field. UMD is ranked fourth among the 14,384 research institutes worldwide participating in remote sensing research, according to a recent article in the journal Scientometrics.

Remote sensing technology is used to measure environmental trends and phenomena, including land cover and land use, vegetation states and climate change, and also is incorporated in the development of new earth observation satellites.

UMD's performance is tied primarily to the strength of the Department of Geographical Sciences, which is housed in the College of Behavioral & Social Sciences, and the Department of Atmospheric and Ocean Science and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, which are housed in the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences. The university's remote sensing efforts place an emphasis on interdisciplinary research, both internally and externally with government organizations and academic institutions around the world.

"This study highlights the impact that scientists from the Department of Geographical Sciences have had on the field of satellite remote sensing over the years. We are continuing to take leadership in this area and are collaborating with colleagues across the country and around the world," said Professor Christopher Justice, chair of the department.

"The University of Maryland has a long and unique history of working with NASA and NOAA on remote sensing," says Antonio Busalacchi,  director of UMD's Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center. One standout among many is the work of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites. These partnerships have yielded "decade's worth of precipitation observations from space-based platforms," Busalacchi said, "as well as research that supports advances in food security, human health, water, energy, and disaster risk reduction."

The Scientometrics study measured articles related to remote sensing listed in the Science Citation Index and the Social Sciences Citation Index from 1991 to 2010. The number-one ranked entity in the study was NASA, which frequently partners with UMD , on significant projects and ventures incorporating remote sensing, including the recently established Joint Global Carbon Cycle Center.

Joining NASA and UMD in the rankings' top five were the Chinese Academy of Sciences (#2), Caltech (#3) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (#5).

Read the Scientometrics article.


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