Pacific Services Center

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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Geospatial Technology

3-D image of land cover data overlaying the Diamond Head area of O'ahu

Supporting the application of advanced technology for visualizing, measuring, and analyzing our islands and coastal waters to support informed decision-making.

Our Hawaiian ancestors knew the importance of knowledge and understanding. The Hawaiian elders say, "He lawai`a no ke kai papa`u, he pukole ke aho; he lawai`a no ke kai hohonu he loa ke aho," which loosely translated means, a person whose knowledge is shallow does not have much, but he whose knowledge is deep, does. The NOAA Pacific Services Center strives to deepen our knowledge as it develops new tools and technology. We believe it is important to understand the place of humans in the environment as we support coastal management decision-making and community resilience.

Geospatial Technology

Geospatial technology refers to the modern tools and techniques-such as remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and the Global Positioning System (GPS)-that allow for visualization, measurement, and analysis of features or phenomena that occur on the Earth. The Global Positioning System is a technology that allows people to measure locations (latitude, longitude, elevation) on the surface of the Earth. Remote sensing is the science of gathering information at a distance. The technology provides a descriptive, analytical way to identify geographic features. It is unsurpassed when it comes to getting data sets for a large area in a short amount of time. Remotely sensed data provide compelling visual proof of the state of the environment, including land use patterns and the impacts of natural disasters that affect our environment and society. Geographic information systems (GIS) are software applications that allow people to integrate, store, analyze, share, and display geographic information. Used together, remote sensing, GIS, and GPS provide ready access to high quality information about our natural and built environments.

The NOAA Pacific Services Center supports the application of geospatial tools and technology to help the Pacific Island emergency and resource management communities make more efficient and effective decisions.