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About IRIS

The Institute for Resource Information Sciences (IRIS) at Cornell University integrates environmental information science and technologies to support education and research.


Integrating environmental information science and technologies provides a strong mechanism to effectively utilize, conserve, and sustain environmental resources for the benefit of the world community.


To advance through research and education the development and use of environmental data and information using resource inventory, remote sensing, geographic information systems, and related spatial information technologies.

Programmatic Goals

  • Enhance the derivation of information from maps, aerial photographs, satellite imagery, and other remotely sensed data for meeting environmental management needs.
  • Disseminate knowledge and promote understanding of maps and images and enhance skills in spatial data processing, analysis, and management for professionals and students.
  • Lead and support an environmental information science and technology capacity for accessing, exchanging, analyzing, and visualizing spatial data and information.


  • 1984 - Through the integration of like programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the College of Engineering, the Cornell Laboratory for Environmental Applications of Remote Sensing (CLEARS) was formed as an administrative unit in the Center for the Environment (CfE).
  • 1996 - CLEARS was renamed the Institute for Resource Information Systems (IRIS) to reflect our broad level of programming in remote sensing, resource inventory, and geographic information systems.
  • 2005 - IRIS was renamed to the Institute for Resource Information Sciences and reassigned by CALS as a program within the now Section of Soil and Crop Sciences.
  • 2016 - IRIS was restructured from a faculty program to a consortium of Senior Associates and Affiliates, supervised by their Department/Section Chairs and guided by an Advisory Committee of faculty from multiple departments/section