A new stable version of GRASS GIS 6.4.2 has been announced by OsGeo. This release fixes bugs found in version 6.4.1 of the program and adds a number of new features. It also includes over 770 updates to the source code since 6.4.1. As a stable release series, the 6.4 line will include long-term support and incremental enhancements while preserving backwards-compatibility with the entire GRASS 6 line.
The new wxPython graphical user interface (wxGUI) has been updated with many new features and tools as Python is a fully supported scripting language, including an updated Python toolkit to simplify the authoring of personal scripts, support for NumPy based array calculations, and a Python application interface (API) for the GRASS C libraries. Additionally, Microsoft Windows support continues to mature. GRASS 6.4.2 debuts ten new modules, a new GUI cartographic composer tool, a new GUI object-oriented modeling environment, an interactive Python shell, and improved infrastructure for installing and managing community supplied add-on modules.
Residents of Longview, TX (reported on earlier this week – “There’s an app for that – citizen pothole reporting”) with smartphones can get a new mobile app called “CitySend“ created by CitySourced (didn’t credit that company in the first blog) to inform public works officials of their public issues. The mobile app, unveiled by Longview GIS Manager Justin Cure, allows users to take photos, record video and audio of a problem, and automatically provide GPS coordinates. After the report is submitted, users can track all reported problems on a map as well.
It looks like while the U.S. Defense Department got $2 billion lopped off its R&D budget for next, Darpa is looking good as the White House sees it as putting technological innovation as a key to America’s economic recovery.
“I wasn’t in on the end game negotiations, but I did advocate for preserving R&D/S&T department/government wide in a economic down turn,” says Gen. James Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who now chairs the defense policy studies program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The reasoning being we will need all the competitive advantage we can muster. The Administration was on board with this and fairly explicit in their support of labs and innovation organizations, the best of which they [the Administration] believe is Darpa.”
This week, a smartphone app will be made available to the citizens in Longview, Texas, where pictures and video can help the city address issues such as potholes that need repairing. Starting yesterday, citizens could log on to their smartphones, take a photo or video of a pothole or other problem in the city, note location and send it to the city.
The underwater volcanic eruption off El Hierro Island continues four months after it began.
Collected on February 10, 2012, this natural color satellite image shows the site of the eruption, near the fishing village of La Restinga. The beautiful aquamarine water indicates high concentrations of volcanic material. Right above the vent a patch of brown water can resemble a turbulent hot tub when the eruption is strongest.
This image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The eruption is just off the southern coast of El Hierro, the youngest of the Canary Islands. El Hierro is about 460 kilometers (290 miles) west of the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara.
According to El Hierro Digital measurements of the sea floor by the Instituto Oceanográfico Español showed that the volcano’s summit is now only 120 meters (390 feet) beneath the ocean surface—10 meters (30 feet) higher than it was in mid January. The height of the erupting cone is about 210 meters (690 feet) from the former ocean bottom, with a total volume over 145 million cubic meters (512 million cubic feet) of new material.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data. Caption by Robert Simmon.
New estimates published this week in the online edition of the journal of Nature reports that Alaska glaciers have been shedding about 46 billion tons of ice each year, making America’s Arctic state the world’s single biggest contributor to glacier-fed sea level rise outside of Greenland or Antarctica. Still, Alaska remains a wee player in the global ice frappe, producing only about 8.5 percent of the world’s annual glacier shrinkage of 526 billion tons, according to the study, led by a team at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Released by an international team of scientists is a laser-radar image of the area surrounding the site of a Magnitude 7.2 earthquake that occurred in Mexicali, Mexico, in 2010. The laser radar technique can spot surface changes of just a few centimetres; in this image the blue represents a post-quake reduction in height and red indicates an increase.
Laser radar image of Mexicali, Mexico earthquake, 2010
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Center for Climate Prediction holds a monthly drought briefing by teleconference to identify the latest drought areas in North America, according to Don Comis of the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS). ARS scientists, Martha Anderson and Bill Kustas, are hoping that in a year or so, data from their computer model/satellite package will give evapotranspiration (ET) maps a seat at that briefing.
Recently the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Board of Directors voted unanimously for a third resolution calling for immediate support and funding for the continuation of the Nation’s moderate resolution imaging program. Several events have led to the possible discontinuation of the collection of moderate resolution, multispectral remote sensing. One of those events was the technical failure in the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) instrument on-board the Landsat 7 spacecraft in May 2003, and most recently the decline of the Landsat 5 spacecraft.
Although many other remote sensing efforts exist these days, the more than 40 years of uninterrupted Landsat imagery has been instrumental in monitoring ongoing stresses on the Earth from climate change, population, land use and other factors that challenge the natural resources available to mankind. According to the announcement, measuring the Earth’s resources such as food, water, and energy is best done by collecting and implementing moderate resolution imagery.