October 24, 2005
National Digital Orthophoto Program Meeting
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Bob Mesko, cartographer CP of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, spoke on the mission of the Corps' geospatial elevation program, which involves rapid response, full service geodesy, cartography, hydrographic, photogrammetric mapping to civil works, military design, construction activities and environmental restoration. The program was established to maintain technology to provide rapid response and full expert support with the use of CONUS and OCONUS A/E contracts. They have $5 million worth of contracts related to the hurricane right now. Geospatial is just a sub-group of the Corps, according to Mesko, who said that the primary job of the Corps is engineering and construction.


The Tec Imagery Office is to monitor/coordinate all army commercial imagery purchases to save the Army money. Their goals are to acquire commercial satellite imagery at no cost and to prevent duplicate purchases among their customer base.


During Hurricane Katrina and Rita, their mission was
- to acquire imagery permitting identification of damaged roof in support of a temporary roofing mission

- to interpret imagery for damage to roofs with symbols for damaged roofs

- create street maps and /or image maps with damage symbols

- imagery was also provided to other agencies providing disaster support including EROS Data Center for distribution via fire wire via National Map.

- Imagery has wide application for wide range of other missions such as debris volume estimate, initial damage assessment, coastal and wetland, damage, high water marks and mitigation.
The Corps contracts out 100% of all photogrammetric production work. The question was asked, what triggers rapid response for the Corps (as in the case of Hurricane Katrina), Mesko replied, “When FEMA recognizes a national emergency, that's the trigger for rapid response.”




BLM - Monitoring Rangelands


Allan Bollschweiler of the Santa Fe BLM, introduced Enrique (Tres) Montano of BLM who spoke about the issues of monitoring rangelands. The questions they ask are: how are rangelands changing over time? How are federal rangeland managers making decisions? What tools are available? Can the decision process be improved?


The BLM use fusion of Vegetation Monitoring and Analysis Program (VMAP) Rangeland Condition Observations and satellite imagery for real time monitoring of rangeland. VMAP is a centralized database of rangeland monitoring data collected since 1980. The BLM works with HDHR, MODUS and AVHR and will use the orthoimagery of the State of New Mexico after it is delivered out this winter.


In the old view of regarding rangelands, there was the belief that if you had fire, grazing pressure, climatic or other pressures; if you removed them, you would return the land to a more desirable state. The new view recognizes that you can't just hope for recovery by removing pressures. Many new grass types emerge after fires or overgrazing for example, and many thresholds become alternative states.


There are three states that the land of New Mexico or perhaps the west can be in:
State 1 - grassland

State 2 - sagebrush steppe

State 3 pinion, juniper


Montano said that you can't return land to a previous state. There are no truly undisturbed grasslands in New Mexico. VMAP monitors vegetative production, ground cover and plant frequency, and is presently text based.




Raster Data Management


Mark Hardy of SANZ Inc. spoke on advanced raster image processing with their product EarthWhere, and Tony Kimmet of the USDA-NRCS embellished that with a report on NRCS raster data management using EarthWhere. EarthWhere is based on a server based application called OSSIM developed for the DMA/NIMA/NGA. It is COTS software designed to improve the function of provisioning, according to Kimmet. With EarthWhere, users can combine raster data cataloging image processing and storage management into a data provisioning application. A resource data gateway has been packaged for end users and supports raster data types.




Katrina Imagery Support


Glenn Bethel, USDA remote sensing advisor and Paul Rooney of FEMA, spoke on “Katrina Imagery Support,” listing what imagery was available from what sources and what it might be useful for.


An example: the NRCS-NCGC has
- Pre-Katrina mosaics for 36 parishes using 2004 CIR NAIP orthoimagery.

- They completed 5 composite mosaics for Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas using pre-Katrina/Rita data from 2004 from NAPP/NAIP imagery.

- They have provided geodata to many disaster relief agencies.
The USDA is assisting in asset damage assessment with the federal, state and local agencies on matters such as livestock, agricultural land issues, and watershed assessment. (This report was quite extensive and will most likely be the topic of another report.)




New Mexico Orthoimagery Project


Gar Clarke, New Mexico State Engineer and State GIS coordinator and Mike Inglis of the University of New Mexico (UNM) reported on the progress of the New Mexico Statewide Orthoimagery Project. Incidentally, the project is not being done through NDOP, but NDOP will benefit by using the orthoimagery collected as part of their complete map of the U.S. I learned that the reasons New Mexico may have undertaken this alone was because so much of the land is federal land under the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and also there is not much farm land compared with other states, to merit NAIP coverage.


The project is a one meter DOQQ project initiated three years ago, and is viewed as a “collaborative opportunity.” Funding limitations drive the need for multi-agency cooperation. Previously DOQQs were the result of a federal program. Indian lands in the state are substantial.


Because there is a high priority for digital data coordination in the state, in 2003 Governor Bill Richardson signed into effect a Geospatial Data Acquisition Coordinate Committee to assess and coordinate acquisition of aerial and mapping data for the state of New Mexico. This dictum was designed to meet the state's mapping priorities and requirements, assess, prioritize and request aerial and mapping data and coordinate these needs with NM congressional delegation, and identify funding sources.


What has transpired is a collaborative effort involving a number of state agencies working to get this initiative off the ground, including the office of the State Engineer, Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety, Finance and Administration, Cultural Affairs, Energy Minerals and Natural Resources, Tax and Revenues, State Land Office, Game and Fish and others. Federal contributors included the Farm Service Agency (FSA), NRCS, USGS, Jicarilla Apache Reservation, BLM, FEMA, Kirtland Air Force Base, and Bureau of Reclamation.


The challenge for this initiative is to move money which has already been allocated between state, federal and local entities to the subcontractors. As with other bureaucratic efforts, the state must have money in place before a task order can be initiated.




Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances


ESRI and Soluziona, an international technology and professional services company, announced an agreement to integrate their respective software solutions to better serve the electric utility market.


They will work together, to integrate ESRI's ArcGIS technology with Soluziona's Open Utilities solution suite and, through joint sales and marketing efforts, introduce these solutions to both the United States and international markets. This will provide utility companies with better enterprise asset management capability, from network planning and design to operations and service restoration.


EarthData, a mapping, remote sensing, and GIS organization, announced the acquisition of operations from LJT & Associates' wholly-owned remote sensing unit, Emerge Remote Sensing Services, Inc. (Emerge), an Andover, MA-based provider of digital orthorectified mosaic imagery products. Assets conveyed as part of the acquisition include digital aerial sensors, computer hardware, mapping backlog, and a business portfolio that encompasses both government and private sector customers.


Green Hills Software, Inc., real-time operating systems (RTOS) and device software optimization (DSO) provider, announced that it has established an agreement with NAVTEQ, to offer integrated solutions to developers of telematics and infotainment systems requiring navigation. As part of the agreement, NAVTEQ map data and other technologies have been integrated with Green Hills Software's royalty-free INTEGRITY and velOSity real-time operating systems. The combined solution from NAVTEQ and Green Hills Software has already been selected by several tier 1 suppliers to the automotive industry and deployment is targeted for certain vehicles for model year
2006.


You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.


To read more news, click here.



-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.


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