This is a nice mix of the new finding the old. Satellite sensors are being used to find possible sites for further exploration in Egypt. The remote sensing data makes finding the sites easier than more traditional means of digging around. Thus far, dozens of sites have been found that span as far back as 5,000 years ago. While some of this may be going on in other parts of the world already, this is a first for Egypt. It will be interesting to see what these efforts can add to our knowledge of the ancient world.
This is a great example of what ISDE5 is all about. SPOT Image in conjunction with partners ESRI, Infoterra, and Unesco is presenting Planet Action which is a participatory/educational site that:
aims to support projects all around the world whether from scientific or civil origins, bringing these communities as well as various industries together in an effort to foster awareness and coping strategies
and will focus on an array of earth observation ideas. It has a great subtitle of “Spot the impacts, engage in action.” We missed the unveiling on Monday, but there is a press event of Thursday so we will try to get an interview then. Head over to the Planet Action site to find out more on your own.
The good folks over at Ars Technica are reporting an AP article that says the US Intelligence community wants to have the license to censor satellite imagery. The idea is for the government to be able to control what the public can and cannot see in times of war or emergency via satellite. That way, people can’t take advantage of the situation by using the imagery. Although I can see the NGIA’s concern, I have to say I’m highly skeptical of the ability for the government to even begin to do this. Buying up all the data like they did before Afghanistan is impractical and the US isn’t the only game in the space town anymore. How can you stop data from around the world making it onto the Internet for all to see? Also, it’s always important to remember that that which can harm often can do good as well. Certainly however one feels on the issue, it will be an interesting development to follow.
I know I have been quiet on the blogging front this week, as I am trying to cram in catching up on grading work, lecturing, and preparing presentation for the big AAG conference next week in San Francisco, but I wanted to put up a quick note that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) released the first imagery from CARTOSAT-2, the 12th in the line of IRS remote sensing satellites, which was launched on January 10, 2007. The panchromatic imagery has a spatial resolution of 1 meter, and will be available for purchase commercially. India is looking to continue its presence in the international remotely-sensed data market, and
will also be using the new imagery for their own domestic mapping needs.
Via The Hindu
The capture and use of ultra high resolution images is really only at the beginning stages, and one of the issues of course is how to let people actually see them in a way that demonstrates their amazing resolution. Microsoft Research has come up with a new beta viewer for these high-res images, called HDView. Basically, it is a browser-based viewer (currently only available for Internet Explorer and the Windows environment) that allows the user to pan and zoom high resolution images with very wide fields of view and sizes that number in the billions of pixels. By downloading and caching portions of the image, HDView allows smooth movement around the image and while zooming in and out (at least on my machine). The HD View viewer also gives the image a projection of sorts to give it a 3D-like perspective when zoomed in. Also, there is a command line tool to allow you can create your own HD View content and publish it on the web.
I’ve been playing around with HD View for a little while today, and I have to say that zooming in and out of the sample images and just looking at the level of detail is really amazing. If you decide to try it out, you should know that it doesn’t necessarily work well yet on all machines, and it does need to install an ActiveX Control.
A little sonic cartography for your Friday listening pleasure. Ever wanted to know what the elevation of a trip from Tokyo to Rome sounds like, curious as to what satellite paths sound like…head over to g-turns.com to get an idea. The site takes elevation data and uses it like a vinyl record, so that the hills and valleys represent the grooves in a record creating the sound. You can subscribe to their podcast to listen to daily samples. Really cool. The other part of the site is the great ‘hardware’ that they offer and the numbers sold…you have to love the tongue in cheek hullabaloo. My favorite so far, the podcast based on SPOT flight path, would be a great bass track for an electronic song.
I’m not sure when this actually was actually first made available, but today I saw the press release about the USGS’ Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA), which was generated from over 1000 Landsat scenes of the continent. In addition, if you head to the LIMA website, you will also find links to other mapping and remote sensing data resources for Antarctica, including the Interactive Atlas of Antarctica, a web mapping platform that displays available GIS layers for Antarctica, including satellite and orthoimagery.
I saw this on MobuzzTV and thought it fits our them of all things geospatial. The video shows high altitude footage from a V2 rocket test back in 1946.
As the evidence of the impact of global warming continues to mount, some places are taking the initiative to better understand local impacts and try to mitigate them. One example is Halifax, Nova Scotia, will is beginning a program to use LIDAR to map the coastline around Halifax Harbour, its drainage basin and the East Petpeswick peninsula. They hope that the results of the new survey will help local officials better predict what areas may be affected by the rise in sea level and other weather-related impacts of global warming in the coming decades.
The National Research Council has released its report on the state of US Earth Observation satellite operations, which discusses the 29 current missions, including Landsat, and offers recommendations for continuing US earth monitoring capabilities into the next decade at least. I have only read the executive summary so far, but it paints a disturbing picture:
“As documented in this report, the United StatesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ extraordinary foundation of global observations is at great risk. Between 2006 and the end of the decade, the number of operating missions will decrease dramatically and the number of operating sensors and instruments on NASA spacecraft, most of which are well past their normal lifetimes, will decrease by some 40 percent. Furthermore, the replacement sensors to be flown on the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), are generally less capable than their Earth Observing System (EOS) counterparts. Among the many measurements expected to cease over the next few years,Ã¢â‚¬Â¦include total solar irradiance and Earth radiation, vector sea surface winds, limb sounding of ozone profiles, and temperature and water vapor soundings from geostationary and polar orbits.”
You can read the full report, entitled Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond, online at the National Academies Press website