UK Satellite company talks low cost

The BBC has an interesting article on plans by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) to launch a $70million satellite that will be able to capture 60cm pixel images. SSTL believes the proposed satellite system dubbed ART (Accuracy, Reach, Timeless) could cover 95% of the planet every 30 months. The key to the system is that they anticipate the cost of the imagery to be $0.15 sq/km versus current prices aroung $20 sq/km. Check out the full article over on the BBC website

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | UK sat firm plans low cost mapper.

Contest Question 2

The second question can be accessed on the front page of the website. If you missed the first question you can still access it at The contest is open to anyone however only US residents are eligible for the Grand Prize. Correctly answering each week’s question will give you an entry in the contest (1 per question) and following VerySpatial on Twitter before Feb 11 will give you an additional three (3) entries. Good Luck and be sure to come back next Tuesday for the next contest question.

The Grand Prize will be a Flip Mino video camera for you to capture your geographic adventures.

ERDAS opens webinar archives

There have been several companies moving to the webinar route over the last year. These are great ways for users to get to know the nooks and crannies of products, geospatial or not, and it allows for some level of interaction with the person leading the webinar. The downside is that they aren’t always convenient to fit in your schedule, no matter how many times a given webinar is offered. Perhaps the most useful thing about a webinar is that it can be tossed online afterward for any and all who missed the original or just missed a point. ERDAS has gotten around to archiving their webinars for the general public. What is more, they seem to be rolling them out quickly so you don’t have to wait a month or more if you missed the live webinar. And…AND…you can take it with you when you download the webinar and run it on your laptop though you will need the WebEx ARF player to view the file, so no viewing on your personal media player of choice.

Updating feeds

I am updating the feeds on VerySpatial for the blog and podcasts. There seems to be some issues for those who have proceeded me in this endeavor so I will apologize for any inconvenience this will cause (for instance, I am fairly confident this will reset everyone’s download counts for the podcast in your RSS reader/podcatcher). I figure if I am going to break one thing I should go ahead and break ’em all in the same week (before Google breaks it for me).

Updated design

After three years of threatening to update the look of VerySpatial, we have finally made good on the threat. We plan to create more featured content to take advantage of the new design, keep an eye out for more columns and screencasts in the near future.

We will be fixing a few issues in the new update over the course of the week, but if you run across any problems please contact us.

US Foreclosure Heat Map

If you’ve been curious as to exactly how bad a problem this foreclosure business has become, perhaps this heat map might give you an idea of the severity and location. It’s published by RealityTrac and gives a good indication of county by county level data. However, sometime more interactive might be nice. Well, if you live in California, Foreclosure Radar provides a Google Map interface, but you have to subscribe to do anything useful. The USAToday published an interactive map of the Denver area to give an idea of how hard certain areas were hit. I hope we’ll see more and more of this type of mapping thing in the coming months, as this stuff if perfect for geographic analysis. Understanding the underlying geography to these massive housing failures might help us understand who to target to help mitigate some of these effects on certain areas.

Synthing the Inauguration

In case you haven’t already seen this, Microsoft is partnering with CNN to use Photosynth create a huge synth of Obama’s Inauguration on Tuesday, January 20th. Using a combination of photos from CNN photographers and anybody attending the event who wants to participate, the synth will capture the entire sweep of the Inauguration, from closeups of Obama to wide shots of the whole scene. If it works well, it will be the first time that 3D technology will be used to capture such an historic moment.

I think this is an amazing idea, and for those of you who will be attending and want to participate by taking photos with your cell phone or digital camera, you can get information on what you need to do from the Photosynth team’s blog or from CNN’s page on “The Moment”


We never really talk about GE Energy’s Geospatial Asset Management solution Smallworld. This mostly has to do with the fact that we have never had a chance to see it in action (other than a few still photos). One of the reasons it has always kept my interest piqued, however, is the fact that it is an object-oriented GIS. While you can create object oriented databases in Oracle, 1Spatial’s Gothic, and a couple of other database apps, we (as an industry at large) generally still use relational or object-relational databases.

I can only talk about OOGIS from a reading knowledge but it is a technology that I think may start moving more into the mainstream as a bridging technology since an object can store, and be represented by, multiple geometries. So as we move toward 2D and 3D representations and analyses with current and future geospatial technologies, OODB/OOGIS can act as a bridging technology that will allow us to store our spatial primitives while at the same time storing a 3D version of the same information.

So…if you are using Smallworld or another OOGIS solution in your work, send me an email. I would love to get a deeper understanding of how OOGIS works in a real world implementation, and if you are interested we could even do a podcast on how you are utilizing your OOGIS solution.