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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 »

Is Your Next Home in a Fire, Flood, or Crime Area?

October 1st, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

As a follow-up to my blog entry September 17th Flooding in Colorado – Assessing Risk as an Individual can be Challenging!, I wanted to talk about a new consumer report, called The 360 Report™, which Intermap®  has just announced. While I like to keep my blogs educational rather than a product or sales pitch, I wanted to share with you our new 360 report. Why? Because it was brought about by Intermap employees who have experienced tragedy associated with the fires or flooding that Colorado has seen over the past two years.

The 360 Report is a consumer report akin to “Car Fax” only instead of telling you information about a used car that you are considering to buy, it speaks to the risk associated with fire and floor (as well as crime) of your current or potential property! How cool is that?

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The importance of aircraft stability in Commercial Flying and Remote Sensing Data collection

September 24th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

I just traveled quite a distance to come to the Asian Geospatial Forum Conference in Malaysia on the new Dreamliner – 787. Six hours into the flight we had to back track to Anchorage to avoid an emergency landing in Russia, all because our flaps were not working. To accomplish a flapless landing the pilots had to speed up and drop down fast. In three or four minutes we descended about 5000 feet! They warned us, and I quote, “this is a serious but doable approach, remain calm and review the safety brochure.” The ability of the pilots to control or stabilize the aircraft to achieve a safe, albeit rough landing, got me thinking about our Lear jets used to collect interferometric synthetic aperture radar (IFSAR or InSAR) data. Ok, maybe I am a radar geek if that is what I am thinking about in an emergency landing?

In many cases, we fly in remote areas where there is little opportunity for us to deploy ground control, but still need to acquire high resolution data. How is it possible to achieve high resolution data collections without the deployment of in-scene ground control? The answer lies in the stability of our aircraft and our ability to precisely know where our two radar antennae are with respect to the ground we are mapping and our nominal flight trajectory (planned flight path).

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Flooding in Colorado – Assessing Risk as an individual can be challenging!

September 17th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

Colorado is a semi-arid state, which typically indicates a climatic region that receives precipitation below potential evapo-transpiration, but not extremely. The climate is typically associated with dry winters, wetter springs and summer, highly changeable weather, frequent wind, and the occasional monstrous thunderstorms with damaging hail. Yet, we Coloradans are experiencing catastrophic flood events where, folks on ridges are not free from the reaches of water flowing downhill, from the sky, or from the saturated water table from below. Where has sunny Colorado gone this past week?

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Seeing through the trees

September 13th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

Successful mining exploration relies heavily on the accuracy of the geology map layer that depicts the spatial distribution of geologic units and structure. Often times, however, existing geologic maps vary in quality and accuracy due to differences in purpose of mapping, scale or level of details, inconsistency in nomenclatures, and types of map projection/registration. Conventional mapping methods of bringing existing geologic maps to the desired quality level or standard will entail a large amount of time and effort, and consequently will also drastically slow down mineral exploration. The creation of digital geology maps (map components: topography, structure, and lithology) from the desktop using interferometric syntehtic aperture radar (IFSAR or InSAR) provides a cost effective method, espeically in remote dense vegetated areas.

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Oil Palm Plant Phenological Stages Identified Using High Resolution Radar Imagery

September 10th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

Oil Palm plantations cover more than 700,000 hectares in East Sabah, Malaysia. Sabah also has the highest yield of oil palm fresh fruit bunch per hectare, in Asia. Moreover, oil palm crops are an important agriculture sector for the Malaysian economy in terms of export earnings, since it contributes to >30% of the total income from exports. Accurate and reliable three dimensional and near-real time geospatial information is needed for sustainable oil palm plantation management, especially on plant quality, health, and crop yield calculations.

Oil Palm

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Radar Image Interpretation

September 3rd, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors “see” the ground in a different way from optical sensors such as SPOT, aerial cameras, or the human eye; therefore, radar images have certain characteristics that are fundamentally different from those in images collected by optical sensors. The key then to understanding and interpreting radar images lies in the answer to this question: What happens to the electromagnetic energy in a radar pulse as it meets the terrain being imaged, interacts with the terrain, is recorded by the radar sensor, and subsequently is processed to generate a radar image? Answering this question is not easy. However, with the resolution of SAR sensors are getting better and better, details provided in, for example a 50 cm pixel, help our eyes to discern topographic features more readily than ever before.

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Geospatial in the Mining Industry

August 23rd, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

A sound understanding of geography is needed in every phase of a mining venture development. Starting with exploration and resource mapping, the extraction of regional and local fracture patterns and the identification of lithogical unites, to mineral analysis, to finding an ideal location for the mining facility, including disaster management and environmental impact assessment of all elements.wheel

Earth observation information, from commercially available radar and optical remote sensing systems, is regarded as a powerful tool for all phases within the mining industry. Geospatial products, in particular, play an important role because of their unique ability to provide highly accurate and detailed 3D geospatial information and solutions that increase the efficiency of reconnaissance mapping, exploration, logistical planning, and production operations.

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A career in mapping stands the test of time

August 20th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

A career in remote sensing and GIS exists in every imaginable discipline, from environmental science to commercial businesses and much more. Such a career path has a wide range of opportunities available to let you combine your passions or interests with GIS and or remote sensing for a satisfying and successful career. Intermap’s very own Senior Project Manager, who keeps us on track with our large mapping projects where we are currently mapping the diverse landscapes in the Philippine’s and Alaska, has been in the mapping industry for the past four decades.

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Compass Data

August 16th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

Ground control points (or GCPs for short) consist of a system of points for a given blogproject area whose x, y, and z positions are known and referenced to a ground coordinate system, such as the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83), and whose images can be positively identified in corresponding imagery. Historically, such control was established by means of field surveys, until now. CompassData has a proven technology to provide extracted GCPs from remote sensing surveys, eliminating the need to have feet on the ground. Mr. Hayden Howard, Vice President at CompassData commented that “until recently, there has been no option for controlling an optical image in restricted areas such as China, Cuba and North Korea but with this technology we are now able to extract accurate coordinates for features that can be used to verify or control a satellite image or DEM.” CompassData’s technique has great advantages in remote and dangerous terrain. CompassData remotely sensed GCP (RSGSP) technique involves the extraction of accurate 3D RSGCPs from TerraSAR-X SpotLight and StripMap images.

They have evaluated the RSGCPs against Differential GPS control points and/or a highly accurate LiDAR DEM on varied test sites, all situated in challenging terrain and confirm accuracies to +/- <1m. Such control is ready for use in accurate georeferencing of airborne and spaceborne imagery and for the vertical and horizontal assessment of digital elevation data, to name two common applications of GCPs. Although GCPs collected by terrestrial means typically offer higher accuracies, this spaceborne approach is a significant milestone in control.

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DEM Accuracy Webinar

August 13th, 2013 by M. Lorraine Tighe, PhD

The relationship between digital elevation model posting density and vertical accuracy is dependent on various terrain characteristics (e.g. slope, topographic variability, and land cover) as well as sensor characteristics (e.g. sensor type and viewing geometry). To obtain a better understanding of these relationships and of the factors that contribute to them, join Intermap and Carahsoft’s joint webinar entitled “The Importance of DEM Accuracy and How It’s Measured.” The webinar will present concise explanations about the difference between digital elevation model (DEM) resolution, precision, and accuracy, provide the primary statistical methods for determining elevation accuracy (RMSE, LE90, and LE95), as well as review what influences elevation accuracy, such as sensor technology and terrain characteristics.

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