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.
Recently, we received several books from ESRI Press for reference and review, and first up is Remote Sensing for GIS Managers (2005) edited by Stan Aronoff. Aronoff and his co-authors have provided a comprehensive overview of remote sensing, ranging from the history of remote sensing to types of sensors offering an in-depth and thorough presentation of Remote Sensing.
The title is somewhat misleading since this book would work nicely as a text in an undergraduate remote sensing class, offering general information on aerial and satellite based remote sensing. There is, in fact, very little GIS oriented material aside from a few case studies in one of the later chapters. The text is divided into roughly five sections: Chapters 1-4 offer a general introduction, Chapters 5-9 review different types of sensors, Chapters 10-11 discuss image interpretation, while Chapters 12-13 cover examples of applications and how Remote Sensing fits in organizations. The last section is made up of three appendices that offer very detailed information on georeferencing imagery, individual sensors, and a list of resources.
Each of the sections is well organized, offering information that is relevant and descriptive enough to convey the technical ideas to a broad audience. As should be expected from any book that revolves around imagery, there are several full color reference figures that support the text. These figures represent not only raw data, but data capture and image analysis techniques. Perhaps the most useful portion of the book is also the portion that will eventually date it, the overview of satellites and their relative capabilities. This portion of the text is the most relevant to the title, providing a wide set of information on platform capabilities which is important to GIS managers who are looking for the best, most cost effective imagery or sensor data for a given problem or project. In the end this book is not going to be touted as a landmark in Remote Sensing, but it is a solid reference work.
Overall, this is a strong remote sensing text which is very affordable in comparison to most textbooks at $69.99US. Be wary of this text if you are looking for a quick and dirty introduction to Remote Sensing, which is what I would expect most Ã¢â‚¬ËœGIS ManagersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ would want. Instead, at nearly 500 pages this text would be a good addition to a reference library if you do not already have an introduction to Remote Sensing style textbook.
If you’re like me, when you go to plan your summer vacation, weird questions like, “Is there a major earthquake fault or active volcano in the area?” will eventually come up. Now you don’t have to worry about those pesky active volcanoes in your holiday planning! The site features a google mashup with the Smithsonian and USGS Weekly Volcano Activity Report, so you know you’re always up-to-date with the volcanic activity in the area. Clicking on the volcano point brings up a handy, dandy popup featuring current activity, background, some general information, and the more complete entry into the greater database. The general tab will let you zoom directly to the volcano for a better look.
The BBC has an article on a new satellite that will be launched next year that will look at the mesosphere and very high clouds. Apparently the expansion of these clouds is an indication of the temperature of the mesosphere dropping another impact of the ever increasing pollutants we pump into the atmosphere.
Harvard magazine has an interesting article about global warming. It’s a longer read than many of our posts, but worth checking out. Of particular note is the artistic rendering of what parts of the US would look like if the oceans rose 3.5 meters. Much of Florida would disappear and a over half of Manhattan.
I didn’t get a chance to blog this earlier because of our slow internet connection in San Juan, but NASA’s 2 new cloud monitoring satellites, CloudSat and Calipso, were successfully launched Friday morning after some difficulties they delayed their originial launch date. What’s cool about these satellites is that they are carrying instruments that can view clouds in 3D, which will hopefully give scientists new perspectives on how clouds and airborne particles like aerosols impact weather and climate.
CNN.com featured an article today about NASA’s role in a global effort to monitor the Great Barrier Reef off Australia. NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites, part of the Earth Observing System (EOS), are used to capture frequent data on ocean surface temperature and color, which are important indicators of the health of the reefs and the algae that essential to the coral. If water temperatures get too high, the algae are forced out of the coral, which become bleached and can eventually die.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) there will be a total or near-total solar eclipse that will be visible in parts of Europe, Africa, and South America (see this guide from MSNBC). For the rest of us, however, NASA and the Exploratorium will be offering a live satellite broadcast of the eclipse from Side, Turkey, starting at 5am Eastern US Standard Time Wednesday. Over 90 museums, planetariums and other sites around the world will be broadcasting the eclipse, and the video will be streamed live over the Internet via MSNBC.com, NASA, and other outlets. EclipseLive.com will also be offering their own coverage.
In a cool twist, the Exploratorium will be streaming the total eclipse into the virtual world of Second Life, the online virtual world game, where a developer has created a virtual version of the Roman-era ampitheatre where NASA will be broadcasting from.
So, if you can get up at that hour, or for those of you in Europe and Asia where it will be much later in the day, check out the eclipse without the danger of damaging your eyes!