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 Geospatial Solutions
M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD
M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD
Dr. Tighe has a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences, a graduate degree in Remote Sensing and GIS, and a B.Sc. in Physics and Geology. Dr. Tighe has delivered lectures ranging from a half day workshop to a 4 week training program to over 2000 participants in USA, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil, Ecuador, Honduras, … More »

Precise positing

November 26th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

Precise positing – the ability to know your location from a latitude – longitude, or X-Y location, on the earth and how high above mean sea level your feet are firmly planted on the ground to within centimeters. Is this type of information becoming a wave of the future or am I just a geek about it? When I go to the gym in the morning, I am strapped with my fitbit and my Polar Heart Rate monitor which provide me with information about my speed, distance, x-y-z location, and heart rate while I train. Not to mention, providing me with an avenue to publish my activity via social media to participate in competitions with friends. J This type of information can be plotted on Google Earth to see where I have traversed, although, sadly enough when I workout at the gym my traverse is a “dot” as I barely change in x and y or z (height) for that matter, when on a treadmill. On the other hand, when I am outside, my walk changes in all three dimensions which can be displayed quite nicely in Google.

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Careers in Remote Sensing Part II

November 15th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

On August 20th I posted a blog on a distinguished Intermap employee “Mr. Robert Crawford” who has been in the remote sensing business for nearly four decades. The blog had a snipped of a newspaper article from “CORPUS CHRISTI CALLER dating back to February 18, 1977.

Bob Crawford

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Accuracy of Flood Modeling?

November 12th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

Flood inundation models provide predictions of the depth and extent of a potential flood. This information is then used in the assessment of risk to life and property in the floodplain (e.g. creation of hazard and risk flood maps), and to develop mitigation and restoration strategies. We have seen over the past decade significant advances in flood inundation modeling due to advances in hydrological modeling software coupled with the availability of more accurate elevation data. But how is the accuracy flood hazard and risk maps established? Read the rest of Accuracy of Flood Modeling?

Coahuila, Mexico Fire Disaster

November 5th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

While at the ASPRS “Imaging and Mapping for Disaster Management: From the Individual to the Global Community” I attended many excellent talks about remotely-sensed solutions for disaster management.  An excellent presentation, given jointly by Rohini Swaninathan (NASA Intern) and Pedro Juan Rodriguez Rivera, reported on the use of freely available, satellite-based, remote sensing technologies and GIS solutions to help identify hotspots of large fires burning in Mexico. This project was prompted because of the 2011 fire in Coahuila, Mexico, where nearly 100,000 hectares of land were burned, costing the Mexican government to spend over 19 million US dollars. This fire represents the largest amount of land burned in a single fire in Mexico and took weeks to be extinguished.

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Geospatial Data for Geological Applications

October 29th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

Within many of the world’s natural resource rich countries, the mining industry faces a number of key challenges including, but not limited to: prospecting in uncharted land; managing the remote locations of new deposits; gathering multiple datasets to one environment, production delays due to adverse weather; understanding, managing, and averting risk impacts, and bringing supply to market. Moreover, geologists use a vast variety of geospatial datasets that typically include bedrock and surficial geological maps, airborne geophysical survey data, geochemistry of lake-sediment samples, mineral occurrence data, structural lineaments, fold axes and formation contacts, as well as base maps to get the answers they need. Integrating these disparate datasets into one environment is key in understanding natural resource potential, especially in remote locations.

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Disaster Management

October 25th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

Flash floods, typhoons, earthquakes, wildfires, tornados, hurricanes; the list is extensive when it comes to natural disasters! With increased global awareness of worldwide natural disasters, the geospatial community is increasingly getting involved in innovative ways to provide and utilize geospatial data to the field of natural disasters. Without geospatial data, one cannot expect effective and efficient disaster management because geospatial data are the essential element of Emergency Response Systems (ERS).

ERS systems maximize the use of geospatial information to meet the real needs of users across a wide variety of different sectors and disciplines. Over the past decade, we have seen progressive, web-based and data hosting infrastructures coupled with evolving geospatial data and methodologies, which enable the development of unique decision support frameworks for the disaster preparedness and response.

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Geospatial data saving the planet?

October 22nd, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

Perhaps a dramatic title for today’s blog, but an interesting article from the World Wildlife Fund that I read on Friday has been on my mind all weekend. The gist of the newsletter topic was to investigate how we can produce more with less water and pollution by working with 100 companies and just 15 raw materials (or commodities). If that tagline tweaked your interest, I bet Jason Clay’s speech on this topic would more than get you to where I was on Friday, thinking about this topic for a few days.

As we geospatial users become knee deep in geospatial data, the web, the cloud, and analytical tools for a host of geospatial applications, I wonder how we respond to the type of thought process Jason encourages. I believe that in order to contribute globally, where geospatial data is used to save the planet, you must get every part of the food chain involved, so that an idea can be sustained over long terms rather than one offs. How may we use geospatial data to provide a better, sustainable carbon footprint for all? How can we get everyone to work together to manage the planet with a sense of urgency? To help preserve the planet, we need work together to preserve biodiversity as a starting point. Jason identifies 15 commodities that are produced in bio-diversity rich geographic locations. He also indicates that the top 100 companies control 25% of the trade of all 15 commodities. By working with 100 companies to promote and accept sustainably-derived commodities (which means they will force or push producers to act sustainably) we can start the process of saving our planet.

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SAR Imagery: Is there a way to focus it?

October 15th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

Synthetic aperture radar or SAR imagery can be challenging for non-radar geeks to figure out what exactly the SAR image is illustrating. Of course our eyes have little trouble understanding aerial photo images primarily because the cameras used to collected photos operate at similar wavelengths (located in the visible portion of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum) to our eyes. SAR sensors on the other hand, operate in the microwave portions of the EM spectrum which is very different from how our eyes see.

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The Importance of Accurate Elevation Information for Watershed Management

October 11th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

Topography plays an important role in the distribution and flux of water and energy within natural landscapes. Increasing quality and resolution of elevation information, new processing methodologies, and expanding GIS capabilities and linkages with water resources models are expected to lead to a heavier reliance on elevation data as a source of topographic and surface drainage information.

The capabilities and limitations of elevation data for use in watershed management applications include, but are not limited to: elevation data availability; elevation data vertical and horizontal accuracy; quality of the available elevation models to provide topographic and drainage information; requirement of the scale of the modeling of catchment basins; and ability to assess risk associated with flooding. The characterization of elevation data quality and the association between topography and water resources models is related to the grid sample distance (or resolution) and the vertical accuracy of the elevation data used. Moreover, the quality of readily available elevation data, varies from source to source in terms of horizontal resolution and vertical accuracy which are the two important aspects of elevation uncertainty in the modeling with raster GIS. Often times, however, the choice of elevation data (sample elevation data are illustrated below) selected will depend on budget, ability to process and analyze data, the capability to generate the necessary answers needed for a project and the mapping scale of a project (e.g. mapping scales may correspond to 1:5,000 (small village, NEXTMap 5m), 1:10,000 (town; NEXTMap 5m), 1:20,000 (large county ASTER or World 30m), and 1:50,000 (a nation; World 30m or SRTM 90m)).  A few examples of elevation GSD and vertical accuracies are presented here. Read the rest of The Importance of Accurate Elevation Information for Watershed Management

Sustainable Oil Palm Cultivation – A true possibility?

October 4th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

Palm oil is a vegetable oil used globally in processed foods like cooking oil, chocolate bars, ice cream, instant noodles, and margarine. Palm oil derivatives are common ingredients in many personal care products such as cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, and detergents. Finally, palm oil can also be used as a biofuel ( because they are an attractive quick fix to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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