Peder Nelson

Researcher/Instructor
Oregon State University
"We all have questions about where we live and the health of our environment. Citizen science provides the tools, methods, and resources to help answer some of these questions. Involving people in citizen science data collection increases their confidence in decisions that affect their communities, regions, or world. In my science, I want others to see the unique perspective that satellite data provides both spatially and temporally (you can time-travel now!)."

Where are you from? 

I was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota when my father worked at the EROS Data Center. But we moved to southern and central California until I moved to Colorado where I attended high school and college. Now I live in Portland, Oregon.

 

What do you do?  

I am the science lead for GLOBE Observer’s land cover feature of the app, working to connect people and pixels. Based as a Sr. Research Assistant with Dr. Robert Kennedy’s Environmental Monitoring, Analysis and Process Recognition Lab at Oregon State University (http://emapr.ceoas.oregonstate.edu/), I primarily perform outreach and scientific analysis of satellite-based remote sensing data to map, measure, and monitor the landscapes of Earth. In addition, I am an Instructor in the Geography Program at Oregon State University where I teach undergraduate and graduate level courses in geospatial technology, cartography, and environmental remote sensing.

 

How do you use GLOBE Observer?  

I am leading the development of the land cover tool within GLOBE Observer. I am also using the data I collect to calibrate and corroborate land cover maps being created by several scientists including Dr. Robert Kennedy at Oregon State University, (http://emapr.ceoas.oregonstate.edu/) and (http://emapr.ceoas.oregonstate.edu/pages/media/conus/stem_nlcd_examples.html)

 

How do you plan to use GLOBE Observer in the future?

For science and for fun. I am going to record what my neighborhood, city, and state look like today so that twenty years from now, there is a record for comparison to future conditions. Everyone tells me that ‘it didn’t use to look like this’, so I want to use GLOBE Observer to have the photos and data to describe what I mean when I tell others about the way things have changed during my life.

I also plan to use it when I am out hiking and skiing so that I can remember what it was like when I was there.  By using GLOBE Observer, I know that my photos and field notes will be archived along with other NASA data.

 

Why is citizen science important to you?  

We all have questions about where we live and the health of our environment. Citizen science provides the tools, methods, and resources to help answer some of these questions. Involving people in citizen science data collection increases their confidence in decisions that affect their communities, regions, or world.

In my science, I want others to see the unique perspective that satellite data provides both spatially and temporally (you can time-travel now!).

 

What advice do you have for people just getting into citizen science?  

Get involved. Only you can really describe where you live or what you are seeing at any moment. Citizen science tools give you a way to answer questions that seem to constantly pop-up like, “when did this building show up?” and “has it always been like this?,” which can then turn into understanding how Earth works.

 

What do you do for fun? 

Learning about and exploring Earth. I do this through skiing, hiking, canoeing, backpacking, traveling, taking land cover photos, exploring maps, seeing live music, spending quality time with friends and family. Exploring using Spatial technology like GPS and digital maps.

 

What inspires you? 

Beautiful places like mountain peaks, glaciers, rivers, art museums, human knowledge and artistic expression inspire me. The beauty of maps and the way humans have shared knowledge through space and time inspires me. We know so much today because of what others have done, recorded, and shared with us. The fore thought of prior generations to protect landscapes like the ancient Redwood forest so that I get to experience a bit of what they experienced also inspires me along with the Wilderness Act of 1964, which established publicly accessible areas that try to preserve natural processes and landscapes.

In addition, the view from space that comes from these Earth Observing Satellites that we have collectively built together. It shows how connected we are on our home planet.

I am also inspired by helping to share satellite images with others and see how it changes their perspectives.

The scientific method inspires me. It’s an approach to life that cultivates curiosity, allows for new information to calibrate and validate what I experience, and gives me a way to communicate across language and cultures.

 

Any favorite quote(s) that you would like to share?

René Daumal – (from Mount Analogue) - “You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: what is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen.”


Protocol Types: Land Cover


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