Enhancement of Education, Tourism and Business Through the Distribution of NASA Data Over the Internet

The Virtually Hawaii web site was active from March 5, 1995 through August 31, 1999. The following description was a part of the presentation for the duration of the project.


The primary objective of the Virtually Hawaii project is to assemble a data base of satellite, space shuttle (such as the example above), and aircraft remote sensing images covering the state of Hawaii. These images will be available via the Internet, along with hand-held ground photographs and descriptive and educational text.

By providing direct access to NASA image data and their descriptions, we hope to enable individuals all over the world to learn about Hawaii, thereby enhancing the primary industry in Hawaii, tourism. Tourism is economically vital to Hawaii, attracting over five million visitors each year to enjoy the beauty of the islands.

At the local level, this project will enable Hawaii's State and Federal offices, as well as local citizens, to utilize remote sensing data for land assessment and the evaluation of natural hazards (e.g., coastal pollution, volcanic eruptions, forest fires, hurricane warnings and damage assessment, etc.). Encouraging the business sector to see this data base as a potential market that could be developed by selling hard copies of the data at copy centers, hotels and realty offices is one of our long term goals to sustain our project beyond the three years of NASA funding.


The Virtually Hawaii project has three major facets:

The first facet of Virtually Hawaii is to build a data base of remote sensing images covering the entire state of Hawaii over a broad range of spatial resolutions. This work is in support of potential local business applications, as well as providing an over-view of the state for tourists. These images will be accessed through our 'image navigator' in order to locate the highest spatial resolution image for any part of the state. The inclusion of new aircraft images collected by our collaborator TerraSystems, Inc., is an important aspect of the Virtually Hawaii project.

The second facet of Virtually Hawaii is to develop several 'Virtual Field Trips' to places of particular interest in Hawaii in an effort to increase the public's awareness and ability to access, interpret and use remote sensing data. This part of the project is focused on innovative teaching methods for students from local schools and the University System. Curriculum development is also part of this effort. We will be developing a series of quizzes to challenge students who are using Virtually Hawaii to learn specific things about the islands.

The third facet of Virtually Hawaii is to provide access to real-time weather satellite data, as well as several data products produced from these weather satellite images. These data will be provided along with text describing how to interepret the weather and surf conditions for any location in Hawaii. A discussion of these weather satellite images will be provided over local education TV programs.


Learn more about all the Virtually Hawaii team members



Author: Peter Mouginis-Mark

Copyright by P. Mouginis-Mark

Curator: Lori Glaze