Masters Theses


Joe H. Taft

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Kerry T. Schell

Committee Members

John C. Rennie, Barret


The objective of this study was to determine the technical and economic feasibility of using remote sensing systems for measuring or estimating outdoor recreation use. This involved determining the methods currently being used for estimating recreation use and their cost, determining the technical capabilities of remote sensing systems, and estimating the cost of using these systems to produce recreation use estimates. To accomplish this, literature was reviewed in the fields of recreation use estimation and remote sensing. Personal visits were made with specialists in both areas to determine capabilities and costs. The two remote sensing systems selected for cost comparisons were black-and-white aerial photography and infrared scanners. Several rec-reation locations were selected in the East Tennessee area which had a variety of site characteristics. A sampling plan was designed for each area using the two remote sensing systems and using conventional sampling techniques. Costs were computed for each area and for each system using the cost estimates judged to be the most reliable. It was found that black-and-white aerial photography can be used in open areas and should be considered for use over large bodies of water where an estimate of only water surface use is desired. (In this study, however, black-and-white aerial photography was more expensive than conventional sampling for obtaining use estimates on a TVA reservoir.) Infrared (IR) scanners might produce useable data in open areas, however, the cost is 100 times as great as the cost of conventional sampling and seven times as great as aerial photography. Conventional double-sampling methods will probably continue to provide the bulk of use estimates for several years into the future.

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