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June 26, 1998

The State of Maine, the University of Maine, the US Navy, and the Maine Science and Technology Foundation (MSTF) have signed an agreement that initiates a partnership to improve the stewardship of the state's natural resources.

The partners will work together under a memorandum of agreement to gather and exchange environmental information using the Navy's remote sensing technology. This technology can be used to monitor erosion, pollution, sea level rise, fishery stocks, and the conditions that would be ripe for algae blooms which kill countless fish and shellfish each year.

Remote sensing is a process in which extremely clear pictures are taken from distant equipment, such as a satellite, an airplane, or radar. Scientists match these crystal clear photographs with the information known about landscape and topography to obtain nearly perfect descriptions of the environment. This matching process is called "ground truthing."

The partners will create integrated science and technology working groups; determine the data and technology needed for joint projects; identify related research papers that can be shared; select the best sites for multi-use ground truthing; prepare a plan to obtain and continually update a large, high-resolution data library; conduct a cost-benefit analysis on using remote sensing advanced technology for military and commercial projects; and identify sources of federal funding to execute identified projects.

Maine is among the first states to take advantage of the precise remote sensing technology available through Navy aircraft programs.

MSTF, which facilitated this agreement, is a state-chartered, non-profit organization that stimulates economic growth in Maine through the practical application of world-class science and technology. For more information, visit their web-site at www.mstf.org.