On Tuesday, the USGS issued a press release that they are now offering orthorectified Landsat 4, 5 and 7 free for download from the Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis) or from Earth Explorer. For those of us who had the task of having to orthorectify satellite images ourselves, this will be a great new time-saving data source.
Just before Christmas, the European Space Agency issued a press release reviewing the use of geospatial technologies and data in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004 and discussed some of the ways in which these technologies are aiding in regional redevelopment and rebuilding
An interesting article from The Daily Times (Salisbury, Maryland) discusses the impact of rising sea levels on the Maryland coastline, including the submergence of numerous small islands and talks briefly about a joint project between the USGS and Maryland DNR that mapped portions of the coastline using highly-accurate LIDAR technology.
Although this has been blogged in one form or the other several times over the last few months, I think it’s an increasingly pressing issue. States are having real problems about what they can see on Google Earth. This really gets to the heart of the whole public/private debate. As the article points out, Google isn’t putting out there anything that isn’t available from other places in other forms. It also reminds the GIS folks that sometimes completely innocent intentions can be feared.
The Gigapxl Project is based on an amazing super-high resolution camera built by Graham Flint, which he has used to take amazing landscape pictures, including a panorama of Pittsburgh, which is not too far from us. One of the Project’s main goals is the Portrait of America, where the team travelled all across the US and parts of Canada. The Image Gallery has some nice examples of Gigapxl photographs.
Popular Science’s website has a great article about Graham Flint and Gigapxl, and the last page of the article also includes some interesting comments from Michael Jones, co-founder of Keyhole (now Google Earth) and his involvement as a supporter of the project.
Although Landsat is NASA’s most well-known satellite program, other missions are providing a wealth of information about our Earth. Aura, a satellite which was launched July 15, 2004, collects data that are used for studying the composition, chemistry and dynamics of Earth’s atmosphere, including ozone levels, air quality, and climate. At the recent American Geophysical Union conference, maps based on Aura data were presented showing the levels of Nitrogen Oxide (a precursor to ozone formation) in the eastern US.
An interesting article from the BBC. While we spoke to Dr Warner primarily about sensors that record reflectance values of the surface of the earth, there are several sensors in orbit that record nonterrestrial phenomena such as weather and, in the case of this article, pollutants.
Tim Warner mentioned this non-profit organization on this weeks episode and it looks quite exciting. In their own words, “SkyTruth promotes environmental awareness and protection with remote sensing and digital mapping technology.” They support environmental advocates, local planners and others through their remote sensing activities and have been doing so since 2002.
To learn more and to support their efforts check out their website at:
On November 26th, Landsat 5 began experiencing problems with its back-up solar array drive, which maintains the proper pointing angle between the array and the sun to charge the batteries. The primary solar array failed last January, so this is pretty serious. Imaging operations have been suspended at least for the next 2 weeks. Landsat 5 was launched in 1984, and was originally designed with a 3-year lifespan, so it has already performed well beyond expectations, capturing over 125,000 images of the Earth’s surface. The loss of Landsat 5 would certainly be a blow to the Landsat program, and those who use its imagery in their research and work.
Via USGS News release and Dr. Tim Warner
Where It’s At… Newsletter & Podcast is a great new podcast that is being produced down under. Their first podcast includes a couple of interviews including one with Michael Goodchild. The hosts and podcast (and related newsletter) are related to the Spatial Science Institute. I am excited to see how the podcast grows. Go to their website to download directly or check out iTunes to subscribe to the podcast.