Remote sensing research, focusing on forestry applications of aerial photography, began at the University of Minnesota in 1952. In 1972 the Remote Sensing Laboratory was established in the College of Forestry. To reflect the key role of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the lab's research and analysis, the lab was renamed the Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory (RSGAL) in 1988. Today, our research, development and applications projects focus on computer-aided analysis of digital multispectral, lidar and radar data, including both aerial and satellite data, with GIS data being a source of data and classification results going into GIS databases for Internet access.
Our mission is to advance the development and application of remote sensing and geospatial analysis to inventory and monitor natural resources and environment through research and outreach. Much of the research is conducted in cooperation with public agencies in Minnesota. In addition faculty associated with the RSGAL are actively involved with instruction and graduate education.