Mid-January 2013 air quality proved to be dangerous to the health of Beijing residents and those of many other cities in China. Authorities warned people to stay indoors as the nation faced one of the worst periods of air quality in recent history. Factories were government-ordered to scale back emissions. According to news reports, hospitals experienced more than 20 to 30 percent increase in patients complaining of respiratory issues.
According to NASA Earth Observatory, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired these natural-color images of northeastern China on January 14 (top) and January 3, 2013. The top image shows extensive haze, low clouds, and fog over the region. The brightest areas tend to be clouds or fog, which have a tinge of gray or yellow from the air pollution. Other cloud-free areas have a pall of gray and brown smog that mostly blots out the cities below. In areas where the ground is visible, some of the landscape is covered with lingering snow from storms in recent weeks. (Snow is more prominent in the January 3 image.)
On this first day of the Winter Solstice, it is a time of reflection and quiet, noticing how remarkable it is that the planets are all aligned with the sun. It is also a good time to look at what we might find important geospatial topics for 2013.
In a move that the geospatial industry had been expecting, on Monday, GeoEye announced plans to combine with competitor DigitalGlobe in a deal worth $900 million. This move is in response to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency informing both companies that it plans to curtail funding for its $7.3 billion EnhancedView contract, pieces of which were awarded to both firms in 2010.
The two former competitors provide photos and satellite imagery from satellites that are contracted by the NGA, the products of which are generally sold to federal agencies, the military and other government institutions.
ForWarn is a satellite-based forest disturbance monitoring system for the conterminous United States. It delivers new forest change products every eight days and provides tools for attributing abnormalities to insects, disease, wildfire, storms, human development or unusual weather. Archived data provide disturbance tracking across all lands since 2000. Interactive maps are accessible via the Forest Change Assessment Viewer.
Jeff Culwell vice president of operations, DigitalGlobe talked about what led up to their anticipated WorldView-3 satellite and the details about it. The satellite is slated for launch in mid-2014. The announcement was made at the 28th Annual National Space Symposium.
High resolution imagery of sub-meter – less than 40 inches – is only available from GeoEye, DigitalGlobe, Astrium Geo, and ImageSat. It is what the stuff of Google is made of. GeoEye and DigitalGlobe represent approximately 75% of this market, and 2/3 of their revenue is tied to the U.S. government. There are lots of free, government sources of satellite imagery like Landsat, and weather satellites from NASA and NOAA, but these are not high-resolution satellites that can zoom in on your house, or support 3D modeling for engineering and virtual reality-type applications.
Read about why U.S. commercial satellite imagery is important:
After just having celebrated its 10th anniversary of service on 1 March 2012, ESA’s Envisat stopped sending data to earth. The last contact between the satellite and the ground station in Kiruna, Sweden was established on Sunday, ever since no data has been received. ESA’s mission control is working to re-establish contact with the satellite. Launched in 2002, Envisat has orbited Earth more than 50 000 times delivering thousands of images and other data used for example for climate change studies or natural disaster mitigation supporting more than 4000 projects in over 70 countries.
One of the last images to be transmitted before the loss of contact. Picture: ESA
The Change Matters viewer from Esri can show how your area has changed over a given time period, say for instance, from 1988 to 1990. Las Vegas is known for its phenomenal sprawl over the past four decades. Time-lapseimages from the Landsat earth monitoring satellites reveal in false-color, multispectral imagery how urban sprawl has stretched out from Nevada’s “Sin City” over the past four decades.
This latest video was posted by NASA in honor of the 28th anniversary of Landsat 5’s launch on March 1, but the pictures actually go back to 1972, when the Landsat program began.