The Environmental Resilience Institute hosted its second data summit on Friday, April 24, giving affiliated researchers across multiple disciplines a platform to share their data-intensive work. The online meeting included presentations on Indiana attitudes toward environmental change, topography data captured by drones, and earth satellite imagery data.
"This summit gets people together to share some of the great research that is going on," said ERI Director Janet McCabe. "It is exciting to see what ideas and partnerships get sparked when everyone is together."
Additionally, the summit helps facilitate collaboration as ERI researchers work to more accurately predict changes to the environment and produce actionable strategies to help communities prepare for environmental change.
During the summit, ERI Fellow Matthew Houser and IU Professor of History Eric Sandweiss shared background information and early results from the Hoosier Life Survey, a comprehensive effort to gauge Hoosiers' attitudes toward the environment and extreme weather. The survey collected data from more than 2,700 Hoosiers and is providing insights on public attitudes toward environmental change, personal values, trust in news media, and attitudes toward a variety of risks. As the team continues to analyze survey results, it will be delivering policy reports with more tailored findings to the public and partners across the state.
The summit also featured the work of IU Associate Professor Brian Yanites, who discussed how researchers from IU’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences are using new technologies to conduct innovative investigations of Indiana’s landscape and understand interactions between land, water, the atmosphere, plants, and animals.
In his talk, Yanites described the deployment of a new drone system to map topographies at high resolutions. This works allows the researchers to observe events and processes relevant to earth surface research. One way this technology is being used is to analyze the landscape of Angel Mounds State Historic Site in soutwestern Indiana. The drones are providing high-resolutions imagery and the ability to penetrate vegetation. This allows researchers to study the landscape and identify previously unknown features of interest.
Concluding the event, Joseph Mascaro and Samapriya Roy, representing the satellite imaging company Planet, gave an introduction to the company’s data and software services. ERI recently acquired an academic license to use Planet satellite imagery for research. The presentation covered successful academic use cases and examples of instructional and research uses.
"The presentations at this summit really demonstrate the range of scientific data that is part of the Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge—from survey data from social scientists, to earth scientists' local data collection with drones, to the global data collection with satellites," said ERI Data Manager Justin Peters, who organized the event.