Kain Kutz did the same things growing up as those around him.
The St. Edmond Catholic School graduate went on to attend the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and it was there that he found his calling.
Kutz is currently a Remote Sensing Training Specialist at the Geospatial Technology Application Center (GTAC) of the United States Forest Service in Salt Lake City, Utah.
A graduate of St. Edmond in 2011, Kutz participated in several activities at school, including football, tennis, wrestling, and the student advisory council. He attended Iowa and earned his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and Planning with a minor in Geography in 2015 before earning his Masters in Geography two years later.
“I have always felt attracted by the management of natural resources”, Kutz said. “In my undergraduate program, I tried to explore everything related to the environment. Things changed when I became aware of what remote sensing was.
“It kind of blew my mind to see how much information we could create/drift about the Earth’s surface from satellites, planes or drones. This information could then be used to inform the making of decision.
“The field also aroused my interest because of its interdisciplinarity. I am not pigeonholed into any particular resource area or discipline; I can play with hydrology, fires, forestry, politics, drones and aviation, data mining, image analysis and more.
Remote sensing is the process of detecting and monitoring the physical characteristics of an area by remotely measuring reflected and emitted radiation. This is usually done by satellite or aircraft, but any camera can capture remote sensing images.
From there, measures are taken and information relayed to be studied or for the managers of the territory to make decisions. The GTAC focuses its work on applying the scientific data gathered through this process to advance the Forest Service’s mission to lead to better land management decisions, more efficient work processes, and better communication with the public, interest groups and partners.
Some of Kutz’s primary responsibilities include training and training development, which includes exploring and testing new geospatial technologies, developing workflows, and creating and delivering training that demonstrates how to implement this technology.
“Recently, I have been involved in developing and supporting Unmanned Aerial Systems/Drones (UAS) activities within the Forest Service,” Kutz said. “I am the lead developer and instructor for the UAS Application Workshop for Resource Management which teaches interagency personnel how to operate UAS aircraft in national airspace, define and plan a project, execute the project, then turn the images into useful geospatial products.”
Kutz has worked at the Forest Service’s GTAC in Salt Lake City since 2017.
“Like most people, my working days vary,” he said. “Some days I attend meetings or review and write reports. Other days I fly drones and learn about new UAS technology. I am constantly working on materials and guides for other Forest Service employees to help them use remote sensing technology.
“I offer many virtual webinars showing other members of government how to use remote sensing technology in their work. I also expect to travel or be on the road working approximately 20-30% of the year supporting wildfire fighting, conducting UAS workshops, and conducting our own UAS projects. »