Center for Environmental Science Applications (CESA)

Finding solutions to sustainability challenges by linking ideas, people and resources


Urban 4D was a proposed 5-year campaign to deploy aircraft-based remote sensing instruments over Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta and Baltimore. Building on a legacy of federally-funded urban research, the proposal team sought to build a common remote sensing based toolkit for city management, applied first to four locations and eventually to other cities. Urban 4D was an extension of ASU’s 100 Cities project.
The $30M proposal was prepared by a team led by Marc Imhoff of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Phil Christensen of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE). Jon Fink and Lela Prashad from SESE also had significant roles. Besides Goddard and ASU, other partner institutions included NASA's Ames and Marshall Centers, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Houston Advanced Research Center, University of Georgia, University of Pittsburgh, and MIT.
The proposal was reviewed in spring 2010 by NASA but not one of the five (out of 35) selected for funding. Several members of the team were debriefed by program amanagers at NASA headquarters in September and November 2010. NASA plans to have another Venture Class solicitation for earth-orbiting systems in two or three years. The Urban 4D team plans to compete for one of those ~$150M grants. We are also exploring other funding opportunities in the interim.