So on the premier Net@Nite with Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur they discussed Google Maps/Earth and the surveillant issues. That happened around the 25 minute mark.
The National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian is debuting a new exhibit starting today entitled Earth from Space. The exhibit features a gallery of remotely-sensed images of the Earth, as well as showing how remote sensing data is gathered and some of the applications it is utilized for. The exhibit has been getting some news coverage this week ahead of the opening, and some of the previewed images are really amazing. I always love visiting the Air and Space Museum, but it doesn’t look like I’ll get there in the near future. But, if you’re in the Washington, DC area, definitely head over to the museum and check out the exhibit.
Another article in National Geographic’s Digital Places series touches on a topic of special interest: geospatial technologies and archaeology. The article discusses how users of Google Earth and other web mapping applications that feature aerial and satellite imagery are incerasingly being used to identify features of archaeological significance. As UNC-Chapel Hill archaeologisty Sccot Madry noted: “I’ve spent 25 years on and off bouncing around in low-level aircraft, searching old maps, looking at aerial photographs, and I found a handful of new archaeological sites. I found more sites on the first day of sitting down and doing a systematic survey on Google Earth than in those years of using the other techniques.”
The article also rightly points out that the use of remotely sensed images for identifying archaeological sites goes back to the beginning of aerial reconaissance during World War I when observers were able to see features such as ditches, circles and vegetation discolorations that weren’t visible from the ground, but until the new push for high-resolution imagery spurred by the web mapping boom, imagery was expensive and coverage was often spotty. It will be interesting to see how Google Earth and other applications will continue to impact archaeological survey and site identifications.
BBC News is back at it with another column on geospatial technologies. This time they looks at the impact of geospatial technologies over the last couple years in response to disasters and how it is used everyday. They look at aerial imagery, Pictometry and some of the privacy issues that have been raised by the general public now that they know that we have access to this type of information.
Honestly, we just don’t know. Apparently the basis of most of our belief in the lack of life on Mars might be bad data. The Viking Mars Mission from 30 years ago flew close enough to Mars to see if it could remotely detect signs of life. Apparently scientists have reproduced the technology the Viking mission used and tested it in remote regions of Earth. Their findings show that Viking wouldn’t have found life on Earth using the technology it employs in similar climate regions when clearly there is life on Earth in those regions. Does that mean there is life on Mars? Nope, not necessarily. All we can say is that the Viking Mission employed techniques that wouldn’t have found signs if there were any life on Mars. Hopefully the 2009 mission will help decide once and for all this age old question.
For those of you interested in using GIS and remote sensing in conservation-related activities, the Smithsonian National Zoological Park’s Conservation and Research Center is offering a week-long advanced GIS and remote sensing course from Sept. 11-15th at their facility in Virginia. They still have some slots left, and this would be a really good chance for people to learn about specific applications and issues related to Conservation GIS. The price is $1300, but does include lodging and breakfast.
At least that’s what researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are claiming. Their idea is to use some combination of GPS or RFID to track then cars enter into a congestion area. If vehicles enter during peak times, they would have to pay more in tolls than if they go through off-peak times. So drive into work at 8:00am? Pay $.25 per mile. Drive into work at 2:00am? It’s only $.10 per mile.
It’s an interesting idea, but I personally worry about a couple of things. Ultimately, what happens to all the data people collect about where I’m going when? What would keep outside parties from having access to that data? Finally, I’m not sure driving times are really responsive to market forces. I can’t easily choose an entry time more economical to my budget because, well, my employer says I have to be into work by 9:00am or get fired. If you triple the toll during that natural travel time, I’ll just have to pay triple. Unless my employer allows for complete hours flexibility, I’m not sure this is going to have much of a real impact (other than better roads from increased toll incomes).
Saw this one on HGTV’s I Want That: Tech Toys. The XB-39 Eagleye is a R/C plane with a built in digital camera allowing you to capture those high resolution obliques all on your own. Actually, I am just guessing it captures obliques based on the picture I saw…you may be able to capture nadir images. If you have one of these, or have played with one, let us know what you think.
One of the greatest things about all this aerial/satellite photography we have around is the historical analysis possibilities. The New York Times has used aerial photography to document the destruction going on in Beirut. The area of interest is the area around the Hezbollah headquarters in Beirut. The leftmost tab shows that area as it looked on July 12th, 2006. The middle button shows the aftereffects of 19 days of bombing. The damaged areas are utterly clear.
No matter what your stance on the Israeli/Lebanese conflict ongoing, the destruction is simply terrible. I think we, as geographers and remote sensing specialists, need to bring more imagery like this to the public eye to show the products of armed conflict.
English Heritage has released aerial images of Stone Henge taken from a ballon 100 years ago (August 1906). Head over and see the comparison with a modern aerial image. Just because things are digital doesn’t mean they are new.