- [Woman] I'm Jennifer Swenson,
I've been teaching a remote sensing class here at Duke
for, wow, 14 years?
- [Man] I'm John Fay,
and I am an instructor in the GIS program
here at the Nicholas School.
We are striving to keep a program on the cutting edge.
GIS is a constantly evolving field.
Some of the examples of the topics I cover in my classes
are hydrologic analysis,
factors associated with given species habitats.
We use statistical analyses to determine those.
What threats are happening to those habitats?
What is the extent and range of an animal's habitat?
How can we connect habitat?
- [Woman] We separate remote sensing tools
into active sensors and passive sensors.
Whether they're in space or mounted on a plane,
they don't actually give us visual information,
but actually properties of the physical, you know,
height of the forest or the density of biomass.
The continuous energy that's being emitted or reflected
across the electromagnetic spectrum,
we simply, we can't see with our eyes,
and so the sensors actually sense that information.
They're very rich datasets.
- [Man] We use drones to be able to study the distribution
and abundance of marine debris
on a beach or on a salt marsh.
Now at the same time, we're also able to use drones for,
for studying larger animals, things like whales.
And for the first time,
be able to take body measurements of those animals
while they're swimming in the ocean.
And that helps us understand how healthy they are,
and also how things like climate change
might be affecting them in certain places.
This is truly a revolution for us
in marine science and conservation.
- [Woman] We can map annual deforestation
or carbon sequestration across the whole globe.
We couldn't do it without remote sensing.
- I've talked to a few Duke alums
that work in the kind of forest conservation realm,
and many of them have told me,
I wish I would have remote sensing.
So here you go, taking remote sensing.
- I felt that I've like peaked in my career
with the skills I had at that point.
So I really need to, like up my game.
People were doing GIS, and like all kinds of analysis
and really it was limitless the things they could do.
In the second semester,
I saw myself doing all those things and it was amazing.
It was just, it was a very big change
in a very short span of time.
It was everything I thought it would be and more.
- [Woman] During my studies at the Nicholas school,
I obtained a certificate in geospatial analysis.
So the GIS skills that I learned here
were incredibly valuable,
and they make you very marketable.
- [Woman] With the geospatial and remote sensing skills,
MEMs have the software skills and the ability to adapt,
and they've dealt with many different datasets.
It's something that employers see as,
"Oh, okay, they know exactly how to do this.
They can start on something tomorrow."
- I had an internship where I got to apply a lot
of the things that I've learned throughout my first year.
Even with one GIS class, I was able to do a lot of work.
- In the past two years,
I've consulted an intern for Conservation International,
the World Wildlife Fund,
the Nature Conservancy and Forest Trends Association.
Having these technical skills has been a great way
to get your foot in the door
because there's just such a high demand
for data management and data analysis in this day and age.
- If you have any kind of resource management
that you're going to be doing,
GIS is going to be really important.
And you don't need to be an expert.
For me, GIS is really important.
I don't have to do it myself.
I can bring someone on,
but knowing what it's capable of is really important.
- Images are more powerful than words
and imagery or maps created from GIS or remote sensing tools
can effectively communicate ideas to others.
- Everybody understands a map.
They immediately connect because it's space,
and it's geography.
Then you can tell them how the vegetation is drying out
because of climate change or deforestation is happening
right around here.
- GIS is one of the tools that I have in my toolbox
when I'm presented with a conservation challenge.
It is one of the most valuable ones that I have.