Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Michigan Tech graduate student wins a spot in International Satellite Imaging Competition

By Jennifer Donovan, Michigan Tech director of public relations

HOUGHTON -- There is trouble in paradise. Across what used to be home to half a million people making a living farming, raising livestock or fishing, the land is becoming inhospitable to vegetation. The flocks of migratory birds that used to fill the skies are rarely seen.

An aerial view of the marshes of southern Iraq. (Photo courtesy Michigan Technological University. Reprinted with permission.)

The region used to be called the Garden of Eden. It’s located in a region of Iraq known as Mesopotamia, a formerly fertile valley between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers that is becoming increasingly arid due to rising salinity of the soil. Now a graduate student at Michigan Technological University, originally from Iraq himself, has developed a plan to use high-resolution satellite imagery to analyze the salinity of the ground and -- hopefully -- find ways to make the Garden of Eden fertile again.

DigitalGlobe, a company that manufactures a high-resolution, 8-band sensor for satellite imaging, found the project so innovative and promising that they have invited Sinan Abood, an interdisciplinary PhD student in environmental engineering at Michigan Tech, to participate in a worldwide competition called the 8-Band Challenge. More than 500 proposals were submitted; Abood’s is one of 10 that were accepted. The competition, open to graduate students and postdoctoral research fellows, is slated to be judged this spring. ... Read the rest of this article on the Michigan Tech News.

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