Conversations with folks from JPL about Curiosity, extra-planetary data, and Geospatial.
Last night we had a few folks over to the VerySpatial (rental) condo for a get together. Frank and Barb did most of the cooking (BBQ Chicken, brats, burgers, veggies, corn, deviled eggs, etc…) with Sue as hostess and I was sue chef and dishwasher. We had folks from Esri, Esri Australia, the newly anointed Esri Melbourne R&D (aka Maptel) office, Chatham County Georgia, WVU, and others (apologies I forgot some). We are really happy with the turn out and had a blast meeting and talking with everyone. Again, we want to thank everyone for taking time out of a crazy UC week to celebrate our 7th anniversary with us!
For our Like4Trees campaign, we didn’t make the 250 likes we had hoped for, but we made a good go with 75. We will add in the number of folks who came last night to push up the amount of our donation to the Greenbelt Movement.
Apparently, while at the Esri UC, URISA has announced their new Geospatial Management Initiative (GMI). You may recall that we have heard about the Geospatial Management Competency Model (GMCM) that is being developed to join the GTCM to lay out the roles of geospatial professionals. URISA sees the GMI as a way to build a Geospatial Management Body of Knowledge in order to act as a straw-man document for the GMCM (much as the previous GIS&T Body of Knowledge acted for the GTCM).
We will be sure to head over to the URISA booth tomorrow and see if we can get more details from Wendy and the gang.
Landsat, the moderate-resolution imagery satellite program that we all know and love, turns forty today. In 1972, Landsat 1 was launched with new technologies that along with its successors would lead the world, over the intervening years, to a better understanding of the environment, human impacts, and, perhaps most importantly today, human/environment interaction.
With access to the ever increasing spectral resolution through the MultiSpectral Sensor (MSS) and Thematic Mapper (TM) instrument packs we discovered, mapped, and used information about longterm, and short-term, change to reflect on everything from land use and land cover to soil moisture and water issues to viewing these multiband images and the landscape they represent as art. While the Landsat Program is not alone in these endeavors, it does deserve special recognition for its longevity, durability (Landsat 5, a workhorse even if it isn’t capturing TM data any longer), and initiative in leading many areas of the remote sensing/earth observation industry of today.
Perhaps most importantly, however, is its accessibility. From getting disks from EROS Data Center to recent initiatives that brought the referenced data online for download, the Landsat program has helped industry, researchers, teachers, and students all look at the world in a new way, often with a broader perspective.
Here’s to the Landsat Program’s first 40 years, and, with the much anticipated launch of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (or simply Landsat 8) just around the corner in 2013, here is to many more years of moderate-resolution data to come.
Happy Birthday Landsat!
A year after the introductory post to my “All tied up” series I am actually releasing my next post. In the intervening year terms have, if anything, become even more interwoven with many of us often going to the now de facto ‘geospatial technologies’ to explain the wealth of technologies and data that we pull out of the toolbox and database for any given project. The term that has most been hidden by this (in my opinion, with no easy way to back it up) is Remote Sensing. By Remote Sensing I refer to what Lillesand and Keifer define as “The science and art of obtaining information…acquired by a device that is not in contact with the object…”.
This is a very broad definition and it captures all of the ways in which remotely sensed information is captured, but here I will narrow it down to those raster-based data (and occasionally point cloud data) that are captured from a distance. We can easily include photogrammetry (planes, balloons, etc) and satellite remote sensing capturing everything from panchromatic to hyperspectral images.
While we are on ‘what it is’ I will include what may get lumped in occasionally. Remote sensing is not all sensor data from remote locations. While the term is not incorrectly used, it is not always the same since some of these sensors are in direct contact with what they are measuring (stream gauges, temperature sensors, etc). So in a Venn diagram there is a large overlap between sensors located remotely and remote sensing instruments, but they are not completely overlapping sets. Kind of an aside, but I wanted to make a Venn diagram.
Getting back to remote sensing, there are two ways to look at the term. One is that it isn’t so much tied up, but largely absent in the industry today. In many areas, imagery has become the term of choice and, of course, the backdrop in our web maps, cartographic products, etc. In these projects and products we talk about imagery, but its source has become an almost unimportant aspect of some work. The other way we look at remote sensing is definitely one that is tied up in GIS. Many, many moons ago you had raster software and vector software and much of that raster geospatial software was driven by remote sensing activities, but that has changed (I think we can agree, for the better) in the GIS space as vector and raster has come together. As discussions with some of the leading remote sensing software vendors on the podcast have shown they are inline with, or even making tools available directly within, GIS software packages. We have lost the divide between GIS and Remote Sensing which having to switch between applications gave us. The separation continues to fade in terms of the software arena.
What does standout in terms of Remote Sensing, not tangled up if you will, is the hardware used to capture imagery (from satellite to helicopter to kite to drone…) and the data itself. This content continues to push our industry forward as we can collect both broad swath information that pushes science forward (e.g. moderate resolution data) and we continue to create sensors with ever-finer resolution and higher accuracy and precision (e.g. lidar). These data, as mentioned, are seen now more than ever with web maps and virtual globes, but it is the analytical potential that they offer, whether resulting in time series, human/environment processes, or finding archaeological sites, that are the strength of our investment in remote sensing platforms and data.
We will cut the strings there, as raster analysis is another set of terms that have been tied together as well. But keep in mind as you are doing your research or projects that your imagery is the result of over a century of research in capturing and manipulating images from a distance. While we have begun to take the technologies for granted in some cases, remote sensing remains an integral part of many areas of the industry.
With only a week to go, I wanted to remind everyone that we are in the last week of our Like4Trees campaign. We will donate $1 per person who has liked the VerySpatial Facebook page by July 25th to the Greenbelt Movement (up to $250). Everyone who likes the Facebook page will also be in the running for one of two Keep Cups that you will be able to customize to your hearts content.
We also have a couple of spots left for folks to attend our A VerySpatial Evening, Wednesday 25 July at our condo a couple of blocks from the San Diego convention center. We will have food, beverages, and plenty of geoconversation. If you would like to reserve a spot, please contact us.
Finally, if you are going to be at the Esri EdUC or UC and would like to talk to us about your project, product or just to say ‘hi’ then give us a shout and we will setup a time to meet. Or, if you see us wandering around, just stop us and we will be happy to chat, unless we are running to another interview, of course.
Hope to see you in San Diego!