C A R R E
Central Asia Research and Remediation Exchange
at San Diego State
CARRE's efforts are focused into three broad goals:
- Acquiring and assembling imagery and spatially based data sets of Central
Asia to be used as a framework for synthesis, planning, and decision making
for a spectrum of humanitarian and development projects.
- Integrating the results of these computer studies with efforts of the US
and Central Asian governments and numerous private volunteer groups to
identify and begin solving major environmental, health, and economic problems.
- Participating in the education of the peoples of Central Asia by
developing learning opportunities at SDSU and other campuses of the CSU
system, such as those where practical learning experiences using agricultural
and environmental planning can be done in conjunction with the imagery and GIS
Some of the specific ventures we have been exploring and developing within
these three broad project goals include:
ACQUIRING AND ASSEMBLING IMAGING AND SPATIAL DATA SETS AND PRODUCING
INTEGRATING STUDIES WITH GOVERNMENTS AND PRIVATE VOLUNTEER
GROUPS TO HELP SOLVE ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS.
- Helping network the efforts of the numerous researchers and organizations
actively working in Central Asia, particularly in the Kazakhstan and
Uzbekistan regions. By providing a common computer basis on which projects are
planned and managed, each of these groups gains from the efforts of the
- Acquiring and processing Landsat 1, 3, and 5 (Thematic Mapper) data of the
region to show changes through time and provide a variety of digital data
bases on which to build spatial data sets and to image land usage, water flow,
nitrate and related fertilizer damage, sand and salt dune migration, land
abandonment from salinization, hydrocarbon spillage, and cultural development
- Using space shuttle photography to display changes in regions such as the
Aral and Caspian Seas and Kara Bogaz Gol, where regional water management
problems have severely impacted the seas and neighboring land. Original
positives of the more than 200,000 shuttle photographs are available to us
from one of our Research Associates (Gerry Kuhn).
- Using regional weather satellite data (AVHRR) to map and display regional
dust storms, especially those blowing chemical contaminants into population
centers and areas of resource development. Satellite meteorological data
through time as displayed in animations provides a practical means of studying
the transport of these contaminants and predicting the environmental health
impacts on the people of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
- Mapping the flow of water within the Amu Dar'ya and Sur Dar'ya River
basins and their redirection through time by irrigation as a means of tracking
pesticides and other hazardous materials such as agent orange from their areas
of use to their interaction with populations and water resources. Work by
visiting Soviet scientists and hazardous materials chemists has helped provide
data on the pesticides and their regional impacts and needs for assessment.
- Mapping the subsurface flow of water from irrigated regions over the
drainage divide separating the Aral Sea from the Caspian Sea, whereby water
diverted from the Aral Sea flows in the subsurface to enter the Caspian Sea,
raising its level and damaging facilities around its margins as well as
raising the contaminant levels within the Caspian Sea.
- Studying environmental conditions and detailed water quality in areas near
the Aral Sea (Karakalpakia region along lower Amu Dar'ya river) where the
infant mortality rates are among the highest in the world.
- Working with groups who are collecting environmental, health, and other
data sets from the region including the identity of pesticides and regions of
most intense use.
- Studying and animating the changes in levels of the Aral Sea and its
effect on accentuating the regional dust storms that blow the pesticide and
agent-orange laden salt more than a 1,000 km from the Aral Sea.
- Trying to work through the CIS group at US AID to help provide a synthesis
of the problems in Central Asia and to make data bases available to address
them by groups with an expertise to do so.
- Providing imagery and GIS capabilities to a group of volunteer
hydrologists (Lifewater), who have undertaken a project to drill 11,000 water
wells in Uzbekistan through a combination of US AID and Uzbek resources along
with donations from private parties.
- Studying the relationship of infant mortality, sewage, and pesticides in
conjunction with the Graduate School of Public Health at SDSU and Dr. Alisher
Sharipov of the Tashkent Medical Pediatric Institute.
- Trying to work with the Uzbek government on water management issues along
with other university researchers. SDSU has been designated by the Uzbek
government as the lead US university in this effort through the efforts of Mr.
Dave Moore, Director of International Development for the San Diego State
University Foundation. We are also trying to acquire the same designation from
the Kazakhstan government to work on the problems shared by the two countries.
- Offering to participate in fact-finding efforts on behalf of the US
government and private organizations to determine the highest priority
projects for beginning and identifying the Central Asian co-workers who can
best facilitate accomplishing the tasks. SDSU has developed a significant
association with the Central Asia Research Institute in Tashkent and has
several proposals submitted in cooperation with this and other groups in
- Providing groups like US AID with samples of imaging and GIS outputs to
display techniques and their usefulness in visualizing spatial relationships
for planning and managing US foreign aid and development efforts. Volunteers
doing work in the Amu Dar'ya river delta (starting in May of 1993) will be
using imagery and GIS output from SDSU and trying to determine its usefulness
for water projects in the region.
ASSISTING IN THE EDUCATION OF CENTRAL ASIAN PEOPLE AND IN THE
EDUCATION OF WESTERNERS ABOUT CENTRAL ASIA.
- Make teaching facilities in imaging and GIS within our university
available for teaching extended short courses in using computers to do many of
the preceding tasks. People of Central Asia could be brought to a facility
that already works and is a teaching environment to develop their capabilities
to do this work at home on their own behalf.
- Serve as a site where faculty and leaders can study areas such as public
health, business, and environmental control within a working infrastructure.
- Provide a framework through other CSU and UC campuses and research
stations where imagery and GIS can be combined with resource management,
agribusiness, and health concerns.
- Make computer animations and short videos to educate using visual
techniques illustrating environmental problems and their adverse effects on
the health and economy of the Central Asian people. Videos will be done in
Russian, English, Kazakh, and Uzbek to facilitate communicating to a wide
range of people.
- etwork via Internet with people doing environmental assessment in rural
areas of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan who are actively pursuing projects.
Numerous volunteers within our department and others within the university are
offering their expertise to workers Central Asia via questions on Internet
about environmental solutions of specific problems.
- Develop the linkage of cities in the US with cities in Central Asia to
share expertise and promote business ventures and goodwill, such as El Centro
with farming communities in Kara Kum desert area along polluted shores of Amu
- Display existing demonstration facilities where high-protein algae are
being grown using methane as food for the algae. Algae can be eaten by people
(tastes like chocolate) or fed to fish contained within tanks to revitalize
fishing industry using hydrocarbon waste as the primary energy source.
- Show people living near the Aral Sea and Caspian Sea how the regional sand
and salt dunes could be stabilized using plants from Argentina that will grow
in such eolian salt and that have been cultivated in Southern California.
Large-scale planting of these shrubs and trees could stabilize a significant
portion of the dust source.
- Develop short course type classes in environmental and agro imaging using
the Salton Sea and Tijuana regions as demonstration cases to show the use of
imaging and GIS in concert with irrigation and pesticide problems as well as
cross cultural and national boundary problems. Using the Imperial Valley
campus and farmers and business people from the valley to provide practical
expertise, Kazakh and Uzbek farmers and leaders could be trained in the use of
practical techniques of improving their own countries using the imaging and
GIS married to field relations between natural processes and farming and
- Encourage the involvement of groups such as US AID and the World Bank in
developing projects in the Central Asia region by helping define problems and
means of solution.
- Encourage the involvement of earth science professionals in undertaking
projects in the region by developing a background resource of information and
data sets. Making an overview of these available to the geologic community
through the publication of a Geological Society of America Special Paper on
Environmental Imaging in Central Asia should make it far easier for others to
contribute their expertise to solving problems in the region in the near
future. This will also provide a union of scientists from Central Asia with
their co-authors in the west who are both trying to write about the same
problems and determine potential solutions.
- Reprint Russian publications and research reports in English with
appropriate graphics to make them more accessible to workers in the U.S. These
publications will be made available from the Central Asia Research and
Remediation Exchange at SDSU or other groups working to help the people of
For further information or for providing suggestions on
what can be done to help the people of Central Asia, please contact:
Eric G. Frost
Central Asia Research and Remediation Exchange
Dept. of Geological Sciences
San Diego State University
Diego, CA 92182
All images shown were produced by Lisa Heizer.
contents copyright © 1995, San Diego State University.
All rights reserved.
Last modified: 22 October 1998