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 An Oblique View of Terrain Mapping

Archive for November, 2013

Unfortunate Byproduct of Remote Sensing

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

As remote sensing technologies become both more accurate and detailed, as well as more frequently collected and posted in public view, when will the geospatial world start to experience significant push back from civil rights groups? Just last week an image of a boy’s murder scene in California was brought to the attention of the boy’s parents causing them severe mental anguish.

The image was an aircraft-based, natural-color image taken from a low-altitude aircraft from 4 years ago, and Google has agreed to replace it as soon as possible. But, the idea that a mapping image has entered this family’s private life makes one wonder how many more situations like this will occur as the image resolution from spaceborne platforms, that can update regularly and goes beyond the 50 centimeter level, and image updates begin jumping to monthly and even daily intervals. Street view gives a good preview into the world of high resolution monitoring because the images are collected at street level so we can actually see, in detail, what is taking place.

The intent of remote sensing, and even street view, has never been to capture people and their activities, it is just an unfortunate byproduct of remotely-sensed map data. So, with the advent of even higher res remote sensing, captured to improve our understanding of the world, who knows what will actually be shown.

Why World 30?

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

NEXTMap® World 30™ has been an ambition of the Intermap® data engineers since the processing of the SRTM collection back in 2001. The lack of ground control for the SRTM dataset was an obvious area that could stand to be improved. Our radar engineers knew that when the right ground control became available a fantastic opportunity would present itself to update this detailed dataset and make it the best circum-world coverage dataset available. The secret ingredient was the introduction of NASA ICESat data. In raw form, this global set of LiDAR ground control points was a cumbersome mix of cloud strike points and anomalies. Intermap polished the raw ICESat data using an extensive filtering process that cleaned the data set and reduced it to 820 million ground control points, scattered with predictable regularity around the globe and boasting a vertical accuracy of 25cm RMSE or better. With this control data, an SRTM error mask could finally be created and applied to adjust the Z values of the SRTM DSM.


Penn State
Teledyne Optech

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