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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Tambopata and flux tower from CAO

CAO 3D spectroscopic imaging of Amazon rainforest with tower

27th September 2016

CAO ROD landscape

Mapping Rapid Ohia Death in Hawaii

11th August 2016

Mauna Kea Nitrogen

Forest Canopy Nitrogen Mapping Goes Operational

30th July 2016

California forests in drought, 2011-2015

CAO Mapping Forest Drought Stress and Mortality in California

28th July 2016

CAO-CarbonMap-Panama-1

Rapid High-resolution Mapping of Panama’s Forest Carbon Stocks

16th July 2016

CAO-TreeBiomass-Nwas-KNP-SA

Tree-based biomass mapping throughout African savanna woodlands

16th July 2016

Gold Mining in Peru

Illegal Gold Mining in Peru

2nd July 2015

Kinney paper 157

Mapping Hawaiian Ecosystems

15th June 2015

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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 (wLiDAR) Scanner, 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 a 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 Visible-to-Near Infrared (VNIR) Imaging Spectrometer and waveform Light Detection and Ranging (wLiDAR) 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.

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Latest Publications

Access our publications on topics of conservation, ecology, policy, and remote sensing
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1312
Discoveries
506
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1640
Data Shares
281
Publications
766
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!

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Blog

Our latest thoughts on our research, conservation and the environment
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Peru
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United States
Techniques
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Spectranomics at 10: Unlocking Biodiversity with Remote Sensing

CAO News, Events
Limahuli Valley, Kauai

Limahuli Valley, Kauai

July 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of a scientific idea hatched in a distant valley along Kauai Island’s northern coast in the central Pacific. The 2006 conception was preceded by ten other years of research on the chemical properties of plant canopies in far flung environments ranging from desert shrublands to tropical rainforests. That preceding decade had cumulatively yielded just a hint that a tree-of-life approach to studying forests might be possible at the mother of all scales – Earth’s biosphere.

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