REMOTE SENSING APPLICATION ACT OF 2001 — HON. MARK UDALL (Extensions of Remarks – June 29, 2001)



Thursday, June 28, 2001

  • Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing the Remote Sensing Applications Act of 2001. This bill would help communities grow more smartly by giving them greater access to geospatial data–information from analysis of data from orbiting satellites and airborne platforms–from federal agencies such as NASA and commercial sources.
  • I am pleased that my colleague Representative JIM GREENWOOD is joining me as an original cosponsor of this bill.
  • Many of our cities, in Colorado and across the country, are experiencing problems with unchecked and unplanned growth–otherwise known as sprawl. Planning for growth is primarily the job of state and local government. But the federal government also has an important role to play–whether through funding transportation, infrastructure, schools, and the like; establishing federal tax incentives and disincentives for private development; or puffing in place federal permits and licenses that may

    contribute to or restrain sprawl.

  • The federal government can also help to provide information to help towns and cities grow in a smarter and more sustainable way. Wise community planning and management cannot happen if communities do not have information to make sound decisions. The federal government can bring valuable–and powerful informational planning resources to the table.
  • One new space-age tool is the use of satellites to provide images of the Earth’s surface. We now have technology using geospatial data from satellites–that can produce very accurate maps that show information about vegetation, wildlife habitat, flood plains, transportation corridors, soil types, and many other things. Satellite imagery and remote sensing, when combined with Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system information, can be invaluable tools

    for use in such areas as land-use planning, transportation, emergency response planning, and environmental planning. Getting this integrated geospatial data to local communities would give planners important information they could use to avoid problems and help communities grow more smartly.

  • As a member of the House Science Committee and the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, I have learned about the technological opportunities available from federal agency activities and capabilities. The bill I am introducing would establish a program that will demonstrate the effectiveness of the use of integrated geospatial data to other governmental sectors.
  • The bill would establish in NASA a program of grants for competitively awarded pilot projects to explore the integrated use of sources of remote sensing and other geospatial information to address state, local, regional, and tribal agency needs. This proposed legislation would build on and complement an applications program that NASA’s Office of Earth Science announced earlier this year. Like NASA’s program, the Remote Sensing Applications Act would seek to translate scientific and technical

    capabilities in Earth science into practical tools to help public and private sector decisionmakers solve practical problems at the state and local levels.

  • The Remote Sensing Applications Act has the potential to begin to bridge the gap between established and emerging technology solutions and the problems and challenges that state and local communities face regarding growth management and other issues. I look forward to working with Rep. GREENWOOD and other Members of the House to move forward with this important initiative.