NASA’s Eyes on the Earth

I was just checking my Twitter feed, and I had to check out a tweet from NASA about their interactive page called Eyes on the Earth, which is a cool gateway to information about all of NASA’s Earth Observation missions, like ICEsat, Cloudsat, Landsat 7 and even the new OCO (Orbiting Carbon Observatory) that is scheduled for launch later this month.

Oddly, though, Landsat 5 is not shown on the Eyes on the Earth graphic. I know Landsat 5 was experiencing some age-related issues, but the word I remember from back in February 2008 was that it was back in action. Hmmm, maybe I missed a press release or news item somewhere…

UK Satellite company talks low cost

The BBC has an interesting article on plans by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) to launch a $70million satellite that will be able to capture 60cm pixel images. SSTL believes the proposed satellite system dubbed ART (Accuracy, Reach, Timeless) could cover 95% of the planet every 30 months. The key to the system is that they anticipate the cost of the imagery to be $0.15 sq/km versus current prices aroung $20 sq/km. Check out the full article over on the BBC website

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | UK sat firm plans low cost mapper.

ERDAS opens webinar archives

There have been several companies moving to the webinar route over the last year. These are great ways for users to get to know the nooks and crannies of products, geospatial or not, and it allows for some level of interaction with the person leading the webinar. The downside is that they aren’t always convenient to fit in your schedule, no matter how many times a given webinar is offered. Perhaps the most useful thing about a webinar is that it can be tossed online afterward for any and all who missed the original or just missed a point. ERDAS has gotten around to archiving their webinars for the general public. What is more, they seem to be rolling them out quickly so you don’t have to wait a month or more if you missed the live webinar. And…AND…you can take it with you when you download the webinar and run it on your laptop though you will need the WebEx ARF player to view the file, so no viewing on your personal media player of choice.

Data, data everywhere

We received an email from long time VerySpatial friend Michelle about the release of the full library of Landsat data. We touched on the fact that Landsat 7 was freely available a while back, however you can now access the full 35+ years of Landsat 1 through 7. To access this data head over to the USGS Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis) or the EarthExplorer. If nothing else, the USGS just made remote sensing class projects so much easier.

Earlier this week another US agency, the Census Bureau, posted the 2008 TIGER/Line Shapefiles for road networks and addresses. This is a very large dataset that is broken into many pieces, but I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet. For the most part the data is generally used is small areas where only one or two pieces are needed. However, some folks may need to have access to larger areas, so if anyone goes through the process of joining the data or creating a web service of the data let us know so we can point everyone to it.

Using Remote Sensing to Spot Cholera Outbreaks

Scientists have figured out how to predict cholera outbreaks by looking at sea life. The idea pioneered at the University of Maryland is a rise in sea temperatures lead to the production of Phytoplankton, which are the root cause of cholera. As these phytoplankton get into the water supply, cholera pathogens are released and can lead to outbreaks. Obviously fore warned is fore armed, so this is will certainly help public health officials cope with these devastating outbreaks.

Via BBC News

Space Race Heats Up!

Although the space race hasn’t been a two horse race in a long time, India certainly jumped a head this week with this bit of news – India launches first moon mission! The Chandrayaan-1 was successfully launched yesterday on a survey course of the moon. The mission is unmaned with the goal of developing a 3D model of the lunar surface. In fact, the whole mission is to develop a 3D atlas of the moon to help look for mineral resources that can be potentially mined and used in fusion reactors back on Earth. There’s a video at the bottom of the link showing the launch, which is fun to watch.

New document defining Professional Services

The ASPRS has released the Draft Guidelines for the Procurement of Professional Services for comment. The draft document seeks to replace guidelines published in 1987 by the ASPRS. With input from MAPPS, ACSM, federal and state employee members of ASPRS, and the ASPRS Professional Practices division the document will hopefully be representative of all of those in the industry that utilize remote sensed data. The document should provide those who seek to find the best method to choose vendors a hand in the process. The document is short and focused and includes sections that define the profession, outline relevant licensure issues, and provide various procurement methods.

The document and an overview PowerPoint can be accessed on the ASPRS Procurement Guidelines Committee website

GeoEye-1 image sample from ITT sensor

ITT, the company that created the ‘earth imaging payload’ on the recent GeoEye-1 satellite, has posted a sample image from the satellite. While the image isn’t raw, it is still impressive. It is a fusion image created from blending the 0.41m panchromatic image and the 1.65m color image. I remember fusion from just a decade ago that blended IRS with LandSat that I though was great, but this clearly pushes us to the point where satellite is truly competing with aerial imagery…and more importantly can you imagine the size of datasets created when you classify them 🙂

GeoEye › Gallery

Watch the GeoEye Launch today

GeoEye is going to stream the launch of their GeoEye-1 satellite Saturday afternoon (today) at noon PDT on their website. Always fun to watch a launch and probably interesting for the kids as well. Since we will be finished recording before launch we will talk about it in next weeks news I guess.

UPDATE: All seems to have gone well on the launch (which you can watch from their video archive) and GeoEye is looking forward to the next phase which will be the calibrating and ‘check out’ period

Some of what’s coming in ERDAS Imagine 9.3

Unfortunately, I signed on to the Imagine 9.3 session late and missed most of the things I wanted to see (Web Services and vector rendering details) but while I was in the session they talked about some of the compression updates and RADAR tools using slides then offered a live demo of some of the content I had missed. The points I walked away with were:

1) there will be a new module in conjunction with TerraGo named Imagine Map2GeoPDF and they showed an example of using it to export a single map composer image and a batch using the Map Series tool (nice, very nice)

2) vectors are drawing (especially redrawing) faster, at least points and lines, but there was an off hand remark about polygons drawing a little slower without an explanation

3) there was an interesting demo of contrast tools. I am not sure if the are new or not in 9.3, but they are new to me 😉

4) as I was dialing up the audio via skype (which was being cranky as usual) I saw a bullet point on a new license manager, but I missed the details

Other interesting bits include ERDAS falling in line with other companies and moving to quarterly service packs and incorporating enhancements into the SPs, but just fixes. ERDAS also is releasing ~10 minute videos via their own YouTube channel and FTP (though the URI they gave was blocked). Overall, while I was hoping to see the parts at beginning of the webinar I am pretty excited about being able to talk to someone about the upcoming changes in ERDAS Imagine when the product is closer to going gold.