GEOG Alum, Faculty Member Receives National USGS-NASA Award

Darrel L. Williams, an adjunct professor in the University of Maryland Department of Geographical Sciences and alumnus who received his Ph.D. from the department in 1989, is the recipient of the 2017 William T. Pecora Award. The national, annual award recognizes outstanding contributions by individuals and teams using remote sensing to understand the Earth.

Williams is currently the chief scientist for Global Science and Technology and retired in 2010 from NASA following a 35-year career primarily focused on the Landsat program. Williams is credited for being the catalyst behind many innovations for the Landsat 7 mission. For example, he helped improve the quantity and quality of imagery by comparing simultaneously acquired Landsat 5 with Landsat 7 data for cross-calibration between the two satellites.

Sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA, the Pecora Award was presented on November 15 at a special commemorative event during the Pecora 20 conference. The award has been presented annually since 1974 and honors the memory of William T. Pecora, Ph.D., former director of the USGS and undersecretary of the Department of the Interior. Dr. Pecora was a motivating force behind Secretary Udall’s 1966 announcement for the establishment of civil remote sensing of the Earth from space.

Text and details were provided by the USGS.

Photo of Darrel Williams