One of our very own expert transportation engineers, Frank Zurek, recently had the opportunity of a lifetime as he was selected to attend the NASA DEVELOP program this past Fall. As part of NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Applied Sciences Program, “DEVELOP addresses environmental and public policy issues through interdisciplinary research projects that apply the lens of NASA Earth observations to community concerns around the globe. Frank spent three months at Idaho State University on a 10-week, fast-paced, project-based program studying remote sensing.”
Frank’s team project was titled “Evaluating Evapotranspiration and Water Budget Components in Semi-Arid Sagebrush Steppe.” In addition to learning to use NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) satellite information as it pertained to his specific research project, Frank also attended several training sessions on GIS (geographical information system) software ArcGIS Pro, TerrSet, and Google Earth Engine, and attended geospatial conferences and sessions on R programming language and geodesy.
Frank’s experience with the NASA DEVELOP program introduced him to an interdisciplinary team of geologists, biologists, and scientists and was a great way to bridge the gap between engineering and science, while promoting the work of the NASA Applied Sciences division. His newfound knowledge of NASA, NOAA, and USGS (United States Geological Survey) online datasets, remote sensing, and GIS analysis not only strengthened his skills as an engineer, but can also be applied to future Primera projects.