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Three disciplines support spatial analysis research: cartography is primarily focused on the design and production of maps, but is more broadly concerned with the effective communication of qualitative and quantitative geographic data; a geographic information systems (GIS) enables us to visualize, question, analyze, interpret, and understand data to reveal relationships, patterns, and spatial trends; and, remote sensing is the science of obtaining information about objects or areas from a distance, typically from aircraft or satellites and runs the gamut of sensors from traditional film-based aerial photography, to digital aerial photos, to satellite multi-spectral scanners and radar, to emerging technologies such as hyperspectral scanners and LiDAR.
Complex issues arise in spatial analysis, many of which are neither clearly defined nor completely resolved, but form the basis for ongoing research. At AWAE, cartography, remote sensing, and GIS are used in numerous applications such as modeling sediment yield from roads, estimating soil erosion rates, predicting stream temperatures, and mapping aquatic habitat. AWAE scientists actively involved in this research include: