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Proceedings of the Symposium on Global and Environmental Monitoring

management, planning, and monitoring. The 1RS includes development of procedures,
specifications and standards, complementary to ongoing forest inventories, and within the
overall framework of the National Integrated Information Management program. This is
a combined effort of Timber Management (TM), Engineering, and Computer Sciences &
Telecommunications (CS&T) groups within the Forest Service. CS&T has defined the
National GIS Plan (Project 615) which is currently being implemented. Most data layers
needed for resource management are already obtained from remote sensing (mostly
aerial photography, some satellite imagery and thermal imagery, etc.) but there is a need
to streamline methods so information can be easily obtained and transferred into GIS.
Timber Management and other resource groups within the Forest Service will define
requirements for resource layers from remote sensing data. The Nationwide Forestry
Applications Program (NFAP) will manage the 1RS by providing technical expertise and
remote sensing facilities in conjunction with GSC facilities. The facilities will serve
Regions, Forests, and Stations for development and validation of procedures. Once the
process of automating and integrating remote sensing into GIS is operational, it will be
duplicated and transferred to various levels of the Forest Service, depending on their
The IRS grew from a recommendation of a working group session at the Second Biennial
Forest Service Remote Sensing Applications Conference held April, 1988 in Slidell,
Louisiana (Lund, 1988). The Directors of Timber Management and Engineering
supported the presentation of the initiative to the Forest Service Directors in January of
1989. A steering team was formed in the spring of 1989 as recommended by the Forest
Service Directors to coordinate the definition and implementation of the IRS. The IRS
steering committee chaired by Timber Management drafted an initiative statement which
was subsequently approved and funded by the Forest Service Deputy Chief (October,
1989). NFAP was assigned technical and administrative leadership.
Even though the Forest Service has been mapping, managing and monitoring the nation’s
forest resources since the beginning of this century, the evolving nature of remote sensing
and geographic information system technologies have proven to be invaluable spatial
information tools. In short, the Integrating Remote Sensing initiative will:
develop a set of standards and procedures for creating the
’vegetation’ component for use in geographic information