Feb 15, 2011

Pecora Award Recognizes Stellar Achievements in Earth Observation

Estimated Article Reading Time: 3 min.

Interior Department also announces Landsat funding, geospatial appointments.

The prestigious 2010 William T. Pecora Award has been presented to the U.S. Air Force Eagle Vision Team for providing invaluable support to homeland security, humanitarian aid and natural disaster recovery efforts.

James G. Clark, Director, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Innovations, Deputy Chief of Staff for ISR, Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C., accepted the award on behalf of the Eagle Vision team. The award was presented by Anne Castle, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, and Waleed Abdalati, NASA Chief Scientist, at a ceremony held today in the Pentagon.

“Observing our world from space has a wide range of benefits from disaster response to advancements in earth science, as the record of the Eagle Team ably demonstrates,” said Assistant Secretary Castle. “I am honored to present this award in recognition of their exceptional service.”

“Eagle Vision is an excellent demonstration of how Earth observations from space not only support our soldiers and allies, but also make a big contribution to our country’s humanitarian efforts at home and abroad. One of NASA’s primary missions, according to NASA’s founding charter, is expanding human knowledge of Earth. Eagle Vision is an excellent example of the great achievements that can be realized in Earth science through inter-agency collaboration,” said Dr. Abdalati.

The DOI and NASA annually present individual and group Pecora Awards to honor outstanding contributions in the field of remote sensing and its application to understanding Earth. agle Vision Team has tirelessly supported the advancement of Earth observations for the last 16 years. The program consists of five ground stations, capable of downlinking real-time commercial satellite imagery from numerous Earth observation satellites to deliver time-vital precision images in support of U.S. global crisis response. The ground stations are deployable worldwide to provide onsite support to crisis response.

In each of the past three years, the Eagle Vision team imaged over 75,000 square kilometers in the state of California in support of wildfire suppression. The Eagle Vision team provided imagery for relief efforts for every major flood or hurricane to hit the U.S. homeland during the past four years, including Hurricane Katrina. In 2009 alone, the Eagle Vision team provided support to 19 different disaster events in six different countries. In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, two Eagle Vision units provided images to first responders within 24 hours of the first shockwave.

In response to African countries devastated from long civil and regional wars, the Eagle Vision team deployed multiple times, from 2004 to 2007, to collect commercial, satellite imagery of Chad, Mauritania, Uganda and Niger to build a current, broad-area geospatial collection for humanitarian support.

The award was established in 1974 to honor the memory of William T. Pecora, former director of the U.S. Geological Survey and under secretary of the Department of the Interior. The 2010 individual Pecora Award was presented to Dr. Marvin E. Bauer of the University of Minnesota in November 2010.

In other recent geospatial news, to ensure the future of Landsat Earth Imaging, the President’s FY 2012 Budget proposal includes $99.8 million for National Land Imaging. This includes $48.0 million to establish a permanent budgetary and managerial home for the Landsat series of Earth-imaging satellites at USGS. USGS will work closely with NASA to procure and build future satellites. For more information, see the President’s 2012 USGS Budget Proposal news release.

The Secretary of the Interior today announced new appointments to the National Geospatial Advisory Committee, which he chairs. NGAC provides recommendations on geospatial data throughout all levels of government and sharing with the private and nonprofit sectors.