Program ID: Innovation Anthology #14
Program Date: 03/01/2007
Program Category: Technology
Necessity truly is the mother of invention. Just ask Dr. Craig Coburn, an Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Lethbridge.
Dr. Coburn uses remote sensing and satellite imagery in his research on farm crops and forests.
Not long ago he really needed a goniometer. This is a device that scientists use to measure the angles of light reflecting Around and over a surface target.
The problem is, there are very few gonimeters in the world. And each one costs about half a million dollars.
Well, Dr. Coburn put on his thinking cap, dusted off his carpentry skills, and for $200, he built his very own goniometer out of fibreboard.
CC: There’s no duct tape on it but there’s odd things that you find in the plumbing section of you local hardware store. The other advantage is it’s very lightweight which most of these extremely expensive goniometers are, you know, on the order of say, 800 kilograms. Where I’ve been seen wandering around the university carrying my goniometer. The whole thing probably weighs about 20 or 30 pounds.
This home built goniometer helped Dr. Coburn remote sense the difference between grassland crops like barley and canola.
Thanks today to The University of Lethbridge.
FOR INNOVATION ANTHOLOGY, I’M CHERYL CROUCHER