Publications

Explore over 150 publications and papers.

Ecology from the air

See our Principal Investigator Greg Asner discuss what our forests are really made up of at TED Conference.

Global Press Coverage

Carnegie Airborne Observatory has been featured in leading newspapers and media all over the world.

Who we are

Our mission is to make scientific discoveries, support conservation, and galvanize action to protect the environment at large geographic scales.  Through our advanced Earth imaging technology, novel data analytics, and technical training of next generation scientists, we reach our mission goals all over the world.
Our hope is that a highly visual approach can bridge a widening gap between science, decision-making, and society for a more sustainable future.

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See latest images and video of our work and its results.
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CAO biodiversity approach

CAO Biodiversity Mapping Approach

1st May 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 10.13.07 PM

Oil Palm Plantation Explosion in the Amazon Basin

1st May 2015

CAO-Riverscape-DIA-Peru-DSM-PCA-3

All-New Forest Visions Through 3D Chemical Imaging

30th April 2015

CAO-Submontane-Kosnipata-Peru-DSM-RGB-2

Photographic-like Imaging of Remote Andean Forests

30th April 2015

CAO-SpeciesMapping-Nwas-KNP-SA-DSM-SVM-2

Mapping Whole Landscapes of Species for the First Time

30th April 2015

CAO-Tambopata-Peru-DEM-1

Land and Soils Below Forests Revealed by CAO

30th April 2015

CAO-RFmodel-carbon-Peru

CAO Maps All of Peru

30th April 2015

CAO-RainforestCanopy-CBL-Peru-DSM-RGB-2

Ultra-high Resolution Amazon Imaging

30th April 2015

Want to see more of our photos and videos? View Gallery

Our Systems

Current System

Airborne Taxonomic Mapping System (AToMS)

The most recent and technologically advanced instrument and computing package for CAO is called AToMS, or Airborne Taxonomic Mapping System.

AToMS has three integrated sensing technologies: (i) High Fidelity Visible-Shortwave Infrared (VSWIR) Imaging Spectrometer; (ii) Dual-laser, waveform Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system, and (iii) High-resolution Visible-to-Near Infrared (VNIR) imaging spectrometer.

AToMS is now in its third generation configuration, with advances in all sensors.  It can map features on the Earth’s surface in three dimensions, including all terrestrial ecosystems and the human-built environment. AToMS can also image coral reefs and other aquatic habitats with spectral detail.

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Previous Systems

CAO Beta

The Beta System operated from 2007-2009, providing spectral imaging through the Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) and three-dimensional imaging through the Carnegie single-laser Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) scanner. The CAO Beta System was a research test-bed for the current AToMS airborne sensor package. The Beta System operated in California and Hawaii.

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CAO Alpha

The Alpha System operated from 2006-2011, and consisted of a high-resolution Visible-to-Near Infrared (VNIR) imaging spectrometer and waveform Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) scanner. The Alpha System made major contributions to ecological science and conservation studies in California, Colombia, Hawaii, Madagascar, Panama, Perú, and South Africa.

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Worldwide Media Coverage

From The New York Times, Newsweek, The Guardian and Huffington Post, through Scientific American, Nature, National Geographic and Mongabay, to Wired, USA Today, The Economist and much more, Carnegie Airborne Observatory has been featured in leading newspapers and media all over the world.

See all our media coverage

Latest Publications

Read into our latest publications of resarch papers and media coverage into topics of Conservation, Tropical Forests Ecology and Technology of Mapping Systems.

Spectroscopic remote sensing of non-structural carbohydrates in forest canopies

paper150

Mapping carbohydrates in plant opens doors for climate change research on forests

Asner, G.P. and R.E. Martin
Remote Sensing 7:3526-3547
Published in 2015
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Regional-Scale Drivers of Forest Structure and Function in Northwestern Amazonia

paper149

Forest diversity is geographically linked to canopy structure and function in Northwestern Amazonia

Higgins, M.A., G.P. Asner, C.B. Anderson, R.E. Martin, D.E. Knapp, R. Tupayachi, E. Perez, N. Elespuru, and A. Alonso
PLoS ONE 10:e0119887
Published in 2015
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Organismic remote sensing for tropical forest ecology

paper148

Which organisms contribute to the spatial patterns of spectral and functional diversity in tropical forests?

Asner, G.P.
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 100:127-140.
Published in 2015
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Want to see all our Research and Publications? View all Research
451
Discoveries
289
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762
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163
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221
Collaborators

"CAO provided a whole new perspective on the lives of animals in the rainforest canopy. We were able to trace how primates move through this complex, three-dimensional landscape exactly as they see it."

− Kevin McLean, Yale University

"CAO lifted the veil on biogeochemical heterogeneity of rainforests in Costa Rica. In a single day, CAO revealed landscape patterns that would of taken a lifetime of field work to discover."

− Phil Taylor, University of Colorado

"The CAO was integral in tying together ground-based knowledge of savanna ecology and community-based natural-resource management to understand drivers of woody vegetation structure in South Africa."

− Jolene Fisher, University of Witwatersrand

"Development of the high fidelity VSWIR instrument with CAO has resulted in a new class of imaging spectrometer for 21st century science and application research."

− Robert O. Green, NASA

"I flew with the CAO over the Amazon, reporting their research about the complex dynamic between climate change and rainforests. CAO imagery was an invaluable tool for effectively explaining this research to a general audience."

− Simeon Tegel, Journalist

"We used the CAO to reveal fascinating geographic patterns of termite mounds in African savannas, and used them to predict the ecological effects of climate change."

− Shaun Levick, Max Planck Institute

"The CAO was pivotal in mapping suitable habitat for rare and endangered species in tropical dry systems Hawaii."

− Susan Cordell, US Forest Service
CAO operates off grants and donations.  To support us, please contact Greg Asner at gpa@carnegiescience.edu or click below to give us a donation. Thank you!

See our SponsorsGive us a donation

Blog

Our latest thoughts on our research, conservation news and the enviroment.
Filter by:
Technologies
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3-D Rainforest
Hyperspectral
Hyperspectral Imaging
Imaging Spectroscopy
Laser
Lidar
Remote Sensing
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Techniques
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Laser-guided Spectroscopy
Partial Least Squares Regression
PCA
Radiative Transfer
Support Vector Machine
Terrain Mapping
Vegetation Index
Locations
Africa
Amazon
California
Colombia
Earth
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Hawaiian Islands
Kruger National Park
Madagascar
North America
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CAO-carbon-cacao-region

CAO data used to link cacao baron to illegal deforestation in Peru’s Amazon

Media Coverage

A new report released by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) used Carnegie Airborne Observatory data to expose a chocolate (cacao) producer linked to the deforestation of primary Amazonian rainforest. United Cacao denied any illegal forest clearing, saying that the forests in question were degraded prior to agricultural expansion; however, the map of carbon density generated by the CAO proved otherwise.

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CAO-GoldenGate-CA-2013-11

News travels fast

CAO News, Media Coverage

We’re working around the clock getting ready for the launch of the new CAO-3 and the word is getting out.  We’ve had some great press coverage in the past week that we wanted to share with you.

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