Remote Sensing

Landsat 5 has resumed operations

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Tim Warner here at WVU just forwarded us the good news that Landsat 5 has resumed acquisition operations for the continental US and international data acquisition will be coming back online in the next few weeks. Engineers were able to make adjustments to Landsat 5’s solar array to give it enough power to continue its mission. This is definitely good news for the remote sensing community.

The press release is available at the Landsat Mission website


Pleistocene Park

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A project is underway in Russia to return a portion of Siberia to the landscape and ecosystem that existed 10,000 years ago during the late Pleistocene. The initiative is led by Russian biologist Sergei Zimov, and is aptly dubbed “Pleistocene Park”

Already 20 square kilometers have been fenced off, and Yakutian horses, reindeer, and moose have been released into the park. Zimov hopes to import Canadian bison, musk oxen and eventually re-introduce the Siberian tiger once the large herbivore populations have been built up. has a piece on Pleistocene Park from May 2005, and the New Scientist (subscription required) just did a feature as well. The National Geographic article suggests that if Japanese and Russian researchers were ever successful in finding viable woolly mammoth DNA and actually reviving the species (yes, they are really trying), they would be introduced into Pleistocene Park.

Via BldgBlog

space (not spatial)

Most Earth-like Planet Detected

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Continuing last week’s podcast “space theme”, CNN has this story about astronomers using new techniques to discover the most Earth-like planet found yet. From the story, “an international team has detected a cold planet about 5-1/2 times more massive than Earth — still small enough to be considered Earth-like — orbiting a star about 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer), close to the center of the Milky Way.” Now THAT’S remote sensing!

Ok, bad joke… but still exteremely interesting to those of us fascinated with space!



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Adena over at AllPoints Blog posted an entry on Platial, an online friend site which uses Google Maps and tagging to add information about place to a spatial location on the map. She links to an article in the Portland State University Daily Vanguard about Platial’s founder Paul Olsen. He likens Platial’s online collaborative atlas to blogging, “but instead of postings centered on people, Platial is a forum for information on places.”


Eyebeam R&D’s OpenGLExtractor

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Want to add your favorite 3D game character to GoogleEarth? Eyebeam R&D’s OpenGLExtractor allows you to capture and re-use 3D geometry data in other 3D graphics applications, basically a “screen grab” for 3D objects. The example on Eyebeam’s OpenLab site shows a couple of mashups with Google Earth where 3D data was captured and imported. If you are interested in 3D development for virtual worlds and 3D mapping, check out OpenGLExtractor.

*Note* OpenGLExtractor runs as a plugin for Eyebeam’s GLIntercept, so you would have to have some familiarity with OpenGL programming to use it, but it is a free download.

Via BoingBoing


Maps for illegal immigration

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A Mexican government funded commission is moving to distribute 70,000 maps to aid people trying to cross into the US. They will feature water cache locations, show transportation routes, and locations of rescue beacons. Although I’m not an expert, this is one of the first instances I’ve heard of a government using mapping to help people leave its own country. CNN has the details

From Jesse:  A map of Arizona!


More on soundscapes – The Silence of the Lands project

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The University of Colorado at Boulder’s Center for Lifelong Learning & Design is working on a cool project called Silence of the Lands. Participants use handheld devices to record and geoerefence ambient sounds which are then added to a GIS to generate a collaborative soundscape. The researchers “look at digital cartography as a form of storytelling capable of pervasively feeding back social debate over long periods of time.” They have completed several thought-provoking papers on a number of research foci, including affective geography and metadesign.

Via Trends and We Make Money Not Art


Asus MyPal A636 GPS-equipped PDA reviewed – Engadget

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ASUS MyPalEngadget has a link to a review of a new GPS PDA. These devices are to support those of us who have Trimble GeoXT envy, and a budget…well kind of. Coming in at $600 MSRP, I will stick with my tablet and a PCMCIA GPS card. The review, which is at, has some great pictures and screenshots from its included wayfinding software.

Asus MyPal A636 GPS-equipped PDA reviewed – Engadget