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Archive for the ‘satellite imagery’ Category

Special Coverage: Online GIS Courses Change the Face of Geospatial Education

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

The face of GIS and Geospatial education has changed dramatically over the past few years, with online courses being offered in numerous subjects, ranging from GIS fundamentals to Spatial Analytics and Geodesign. What is more phenomenal is that these courses reach out to all corners of the earth, making a GIS/geospatial education a possibility for almost everyone on the planet.

Screenshot from a Washington College lecture

Screenshot from a Washington College lecture

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NASA needs help from citizen science

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

A recent CNN report announced thatNASA is asking for the help of citizens in viewing hundreds of thousands of images taken from space over the years, from the 1960s Mercury missions to the present images snapped from the International Space Station.

North Korea is barely lit when juxtaposed with neighboring South Korea and China.
North Korea is barely lit when juxtaposed with neighboring South Korea and China.

Via The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, NASA is making these images available for citizens to examine.

NASA says the hope is that the images “could help save energy, contribute to better human health and safety and improve our understanding of atmospheric chemistry. But scientists need your help to make that happen.”

The catalog contains more than 1.8 million photos, about 1.3 million of them from the space station and roughly 30% of them taken at night.

 Photos: International Space Station
NASA gets rare view of black hole
NASA tests supersonic parachute for Mars

Tyson on deep space exploration

The CNN report said that before 2003, night images from the space station could be blurry, even with high-speed film and manual tracking, because the station moves at about 17,500 mph. In that same year, astronaut Don Pettit used a drill and assorted parts he found on the station to cobble together a “barn-door tracker,” a lower-tech predecessor to the European Space Agency’s NightPod, which was installed at the space station nine years later.

According to the report, NightPod’s motorized tripod compensates for the space station’s speed, providing what NASA scientist William Stefanov says are the highest-resolution night images from orbit. Satellites collect data more regularly, but the photos tend to be lower resolution. “Now the pictures are clear, but their location may not be, which limits their usefulness,” the NASA news release says.

Citizen science has a better handle on location than the night images from the space station and satellite imagery. The Complutense University of Madrid is spearheading efforts to get citizen input and organize the photos.  They have broken down the  the images into three components requiring different levels of participation:

1. Dark skies. This is the easiest project, as it requires no scientific expertise. “Anyone can help” by sorting the images into the categories: cities, stars or other objects, said Alejandro Sanchez, doctoral student at Complutense.

“Without the help of citizens, it is almost impossible to use these images scientifically. Algorithms cannot distinguish between stars, cities and other objects, such as the moon. Humans are much more efficient for complex image analysis,” he said.

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DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 launched from Vandenberg today

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Today DigitalGlobe of Longmont, Colorado, announced the successful launch of WorldView-3, the company’s sixth and highly advanced high-resolution, super-spectral commercial satellite. From Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the satellite launched on a Lockheed Martin Atlas V rocket at 11:10 PDT.DigitalGlobeflight

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New indepth coverage for September: Satellite Imaging

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

During the week of September 15th, GISCafe Voice will run a special feature blog on the topic, “Satellite Imaging.”

Geospatial3 (more…)

Citizen data can change the world

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Tierney O’Dea Booker, spatial journalist in Support of Citizen Science, with USC Spatial Sciences Institute, gave a fascinating presentation at Esri UC 2014 in San Diego on how citizens can become involved in science, and contribute to data on sensitive projects. Her talk was entitled “Drones, Pigs, Maps and Oil.” Before coming to USC Spatial Sciences Institute, Booker was with NBC working with anchorman Tom Brokaw, and worked with Medic Mobile developing health technology for mobile phones.

droneonfarm

“The most effective way to get involved in science is to do science,” said Booker. She got interested in data journalism while with Medic Mobile, and in spatial data through Ushahidi.

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From the Exhibit Floor: Esri UC 2014

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

The Exhibit Floor reveals industry trends, as vendors respond to requests of their customers with timely products and services. The emphasis at Esri UC 2014 was on data and apps, reflecting the trends discussed in Monday’s Plenary session. Global data, the mining of crowdsourcing data, spatial analytics to business users, the launch of WorldView-3 that will open up worlds of data previously unable to be explored – are just a few of the exciting areas covered in the exhibits and special vendor presentations.

TomTom Traffic

TomTom Traffic

This year marked the 22nd Esri conference for veteran company TomTom, which derived originally from the company GDT and later TeleAtlas. According to John Cassidy, vice president of sales and James Pardue, licensing, TomTom’s focus has evolved from the original interest in making Census data better back in the GDT days, to spatial navigation in the present day. Hardware, analytical, navigation and spatial are the primary areas of their business.

“Everyone wants global data,” said Cassidy. “TomTom is heavily invested in the crowdsourcing model.”

Cassidy said that in 2013, 6 billion pieces of information per day were processed by TomTom. In 2014, already 9 billion pieces of information per day have been processed. Their focus has become quality accuracy and quality control.

“Real world users are more valuable,” said Cassidy. “A lot information is gathered using smartphones.”

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First images from SPOT 7 satellite published

Monday, July 7th, 2014

The first images gleaned from the SPOT 7 satellite were published by Airbus Defence and Space. The satellite was launched on June 30th and the images were obtained just three days after launch. Within hours, satellite programming and image acquisition, telemetry reception and processing, were all made operational to deliver these first images. These images depict highly diverse landscapes, revealing SPOT 7 range of ability to capture natural resource and urban zone mapping and agri-environmental monitoring.

SPOT7_LaMecque_presse

The entire SPOT 6/7 constellation is now in place and an improvement over the capabilities and performance offered by SPOT 5, the SPOT satellite launched in 2002. Because of the much improved capability of SPOT 6/7, SPOT 5 will be decommissioned from  commercial service during the first quarter of 2015. This new constellation offers a higher resolution, greater programming reactivity and a much higher volume of images acquired daily (in monoscopic or stereoscopic mode).

Why SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 are so advanced is because they form a constellation of high-resolution Earth observation satellites phased at 180° in the same orbit. According to press materials, this means that each point on the globe can be revisited on a daily basis and wide areas covered in record time, all with an unparalleled level of precision. With both satellites in orbit, acquisition capacity will be boosted to six million square kilometres per day – an area ten times the size of France.

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Skybox to be acquired by Google for $500 million

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Google announced it will acquire Skybox for $500 million yesterday.

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Crowd-sourcing search for Flight MH370

Friday, April 11th, 2014

According to an article in The Telegraph, an unprecendented crowd-sourcing effort was launched to scour the internet looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

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Sochi from the sky with a Pléiades satellite image

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014


Airbus Defense and Space satellite imagery of Sochi, Russia, displays the Russian town that was probably unknown to most of the world before the Olympics. Depicted are its sports complexes and natural setting. The Pléiades satellite image shows buildings — housing, and indoor sports complexes in the Adler district of Sochi, wheras the video depicts the town of Sochi, as well as nearby Adler and the Krasnaya Polyiana mountain cluster.

Airbus Defence and Space’s geo-information products – such as 3D elevation models drawing on satellite imagery – are useful for feasibility studies, risk modelling, environmental impact and cost evaluation in large civil engineering projects. Equipped with 3D data, construction projects are better able to gauge how much earth needs to be cleared or how much land needs to be filled on a building site.  

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