Symposium Summary: New Technologies Abound; Collaboration Trending Up

Submitted by Damon Hess and Katie Pierson

November 18 (Portland, OR) – In a packed conference room of 109 participants from 35 organizations, Bill Bradbury challenged attendees at the “Emerging Technologies in Field Data Collection” workshop to become more efficient in their monitoring activities. As Northwest Power and Conservation Council Chair, Mr. Bradbury has been a strong supporter of the scientific process making all the more poignant his calls for the adoption of technology so that “salmon will thank us.”

Intel’s Richard Beckwith, in another keynote address, described new private sector innovations targeting environmental monitoring and offered a glimpse into the future of remote sensing. DEQ’s Aaron Borisenko closed out the keynote speeches by acknowledging his agency’s role in leading Oregon towards an “enterprise” approach to the collection and reporting of natural resource indicators in order to reduce redundancies and increase sharing.

The workshop included nine speed talks in which presenters — the innovators and early adopters in this space — compared the pros and cons they experienced using technology in the field. Workshop participants were then treated to eight different hands-on demonstrations of how these new technologies were put into practice last field season.  The attendees reveled in the opportunity to make connections between what they currently use and the new systems on display. Collaboration was obviously top of mind as so many organizations involved in such similar work were assessing exciting new systems for automating data collection, workflow, and QA.

The day closed with a panel discussion, where the audience actively contributed their opinions on implementation bottlenecks, private versus public sector involvement, and the real challenges associated with sharing raw data. The workshop succeeded in providing a forum for supporting collaboration. The overwhelming response from participants was that events like this are needed to encourage partnerships around information sharing. As technology advances around us so rapidly, we in the natural sciences need regular check-ins to make sure we are harnessing the disruptive developments that will help us stretch further our monitoring budgets.

You can find workshop materials at

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