Great Lakes Alliance for Remote Sensing

Quick Facts

Purpose: Develop a multi-partner collaborative devoted to using remote sensing to protect the ecosystems and environment of the Great Lakes.


PartnersMichigan Tech Research Institute, Polar Geospatial Center, and Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory – University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Creating, collaborating and sharing geospatial data across the Great Lakes Basin is a challenge due to the fractured and limited remote sensing capabilities of the public and private entities operating in this international setting.  To overcome this limitation, in 2016 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) began funding a collaboration between Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI), Polar Geospatial Center (PGC), Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Lab at the University of Minnesota (RSGAL) and SharedGeo to develop and test the potential for creating value-added geospatial products from high resolution satellite imagery which could be used to remotely monitor changes in the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem.  Joining this effort over time have been several Canadian partners and other U.S. academic institutions.  This group of organizations working together has adopted the name of Great Lakes Alliance for Remote Sensing (GLARS).

The near-term goal of the GLARS effort is to build an integrated, ongoing, remote sensing program for basin-wide mapping, monitoring, management and protection of Great Lakes coastal wetlands.  The effort has initially focused on developing accurate elevation measurement of coastal wetland features and water level changes across time using two main data sources with frequent collection dates: submeter optical satellite imagery from the NextView program and RADARSAT-2 satellite imagery. To learn more about GLARS, and download data, use the link below.

Great Lakes Alliance for Remote Sensing