Press Release

Revealing the Trail: Anyone, Anywhere Can See Where Lewis & Clark Trekked Montana Company Partners with NASA for Lewis & Clark Research and Education

By SpaceRef Editor
November 20, 2002
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Bozeman, Mont. – The Montana State University TechLink center today announced a new partnership between GCS Research, a geospatial information technology company in Missoula, Montana, and NASA, that will make the Stennis Space Center’s vast cache of satellite imagery along the Lewis and Clark trail available to the public for the first time. GCS Research is a client of TechLink, which worked with technology transfer managers at the Stennis Space Center’s Earth Science Applications Directorate to forge this historic partnership.

In the past several years leading to the upcoming Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration, NASA scientists at the John C. Stennis Space Center have worked with other researchers to use satellite and aircraft remote sensing imagery to create precision 3-D maps and visualizations of Lewis and Clark’s trail and campsites. “We realized that this comprehensive data set that we are creating has great value to educators and researchers across many disciplines,” said Dr. Marco Giardino, NASA’s Project Director. The data sets include imagery from many different NASA sensors, precision 3-D topography, and also historic data, including Captain William Clark’s maps. Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery left a very detailed account of their journey, including some surprisingly accurate maps, of their expedition from St. Louis to Astoria, Oregon and back. “The data can be used to examine how the ecosystem has changed in the last 200 years,” said Dr. Giardino. “This includes changes to the Missouri and Columbia river systems, to mapping the spread of invasive species, and even how population and migration have changed the face of the West.”

Under the agreement with NASA, GCS Research will collect the NASA data and make it available to the public on the World Wide Web, free of charge. “Educators, researchers and the public will have access to NASA’s unprecedented collection of geospatial information about the Lewis and Clark Trail,” said Alex Philp, President of GCS Research. “We want people to be able to explore the geography of the Lewis and Clark Trail and discover a sense of change occurring across these diverse American landscapes.” By using their existing partnerships and proprietary software products, GCS Research will enable easy public access to the imagery data. “You won’t need to buy expensive, professional level data processing software,” said Philp. “All you’ll need is a web browser.”

About GCS Research

GCS Research LLC is a Montana based company specializing in the development of custom mapping and geoimagery applications for the Internet. Building upon the software and data technologies of its strategic industry partners, GCS Research creates custom applications and products to communicate geographic information across a diverse range of industries and media types. The company is developing custom applications and products to communicate geographical information to a diverse set of customers worldwide. To learn more about GCS Research, please visit the company’s website at or phone (406) 721-6744 or email

About NASA’s Earth Science Applications Directorate

NASA’s Earth Science Applications Directorate at the John C. Stennis Space Center has ongoing research projects to utilize its unique remote sensing capabilities for the historic and archeological study of fort sites and campsites along the Lewis and Clark Trail. This project will assist the NASA researchers with their goal of providing high quality educational material to teachers and students that highlight NASA’s remote sensing technology.

About MSU TechLink

TechLink is located at Montana State University in Bozeman and funded by NASA and the Department of Defense to move technology from federal laboratories to the marketplace, thereby contributing to the success of both technology-based companies and key resource-based industries in the state and region.

SpaceRef staff editor.