Assessment of Geospatial Technologies for Natural Resource Management in Florida
At a time when growing populations are taxing the earth's resources as never before, natural resource managers and users are discovering the power of geospatial technologies. These evolving technologies, once expensive and exclusive to domains of researchers and scientists, are now the choice of local, state, and national resource managers around the globe. This research presents the results of a preliminary survey of benefits and limitations of geospatial technologies for natural resources applications in the state of Florida. The survey was sent to users and producers of relevant geospatial technologies applicable to natural resource management. Results from 134 respondents show that 98% of the organizations surveyed still conduct field surveys for data collection, monitoring, and inventories, while 88% of those organizations develop maps to summarize and visualize their data. Approximately 87% of the surveyed organizations use one or many types of geospatial technologies to collect, visualize, integrate, or interpret their information about natural resources with the most common technologies being aerial imagery, geographic information systems, and global positioning systems, followed by topographic maps and satellite imagery. However, there were also some available technologies in which their capabilities were little known or appreciated by these organizations such as terrestrial light detection and ranging and integrated mapping technology. These results will serve as a source of information regarding how geospatial technologies are used in Florida and their current real or perceived limitations. The study is also important for educational institutions and producers to provide appropriate training for basic technologies and to encourage users to integrate the latest and cost-effective geospatial technologies efficiently.
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