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$2.7M funding supports satellite imaging centre


Lethbridge, AB – The Alberta Terrestrial Imaging Centre (ATIC) at the University of Lethbridge is receiving $2.7 million in funding from the federal government.

The two-phase investment includes funds that allow ATIC to research the potential uses of satellite images and to purchase satellite imagery equipment that will enable the development of commercial applications. Research will be carried out on the uses of satellite images in areas such as agriculture, resource management, water resources, energy, emergency response and the environment.

One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is the integrated management of the earths resources in a sustainable and economically viable way, said Richard Davidson, chancellor of the University of Lethbridge. The continued success of our society will depend on developing new tools and related applications to manage this balance. ATIC will help build those tools.

ATIC was jointly created as a non-profit entity by the University of Lethbridge and Iunctus Geomatics – a private firm based in Lethbridge. Iunctus is providing ATIC with an unlimited research license to an archive of approximately 500,000 images, and an additional 1,200 new images per year for research purposes.

The facility will provide Canadian researchers with direct access to a library of over 500,000 Canadian SPOT images acquired from 1986 to present. SPOT is a special satellite technology that provides images with a higher resolution. Researchers will be able to work with ATIC to directly control the SPOT satellite constellation to acquire new imagery.

ATIC says its goal is to expand research and training opportunities in the field of remote sensing at the university level. It also has access to more than 1000 SPOT 2 and SPOT 4 images and up to 200 SPOT 5 images per year, to facilitate research programs across Canada.

The University of Lethbridge campus is home to the direct receiving station (DRS). Construction was completed in May 2005. The DRS includes all the equipment and data collection hardware needed to capture and produce SPOT imagery.

ATIC will primarily serve its academic partners, including 70 research institutions across Canada, by providing high quality data and finished images. In addition, it will develop and license intellectual property, as well as provide services and products to private and government organizations.