NASA’s Aura Satellite Mission

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.

NASA’s Aura mission website and Earth Observing System website

Via Chemical & Engineering News

AVSP Contest #2

As we announced in Episode 21, avsp Contest #2 is now underway. What you have to do is send the answers to the three questions below to by January 12, 2006. Eveyone who answers the three questions correctly will be included in the drawing that will take place on January 14, 2006. Winners will be announced on avsp Episode 26, our half year episode!

The questions:

    1) Which US research satellite was recently encountering technical difficulties?
    2) What web-based mapping project seeks to redefine geographical boundaries of the US based on peoples perceptions as opposed to the existing state or county boundaries?
    3) What is the phrase Sue coined in episode 19 for the new Web 2.0 mapping interfaces?

Please include your name in the email. We will contact the winners for their mailing address after the drawing. All entries must be received by 11:59 PM PST January 12, 2006 to be eligible. Only one entry per person.


The alphabet soup in the title is a boon for the open standards movement. The OpenGeospatial Consortium (OGC) announced yesterday that the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has accepted the OGC Web Map Service (WMS) Implementation Specification. Now available as IS0 19128:2005, the WMS specification is currently a widely supported standard in modern geospatial products for serving and accessing information.

Read the full press release at OGC Press Room.

New Journal : Religion and Society…

I have to give a little shout out here to the person sitting at the desk across from me. Dr. Briane Turley has been involved, with others, in the creation of two very successful online journals (the Journal of Southern Religion and the American Religous Experience) and is part of the initial editorial board (and webmaster) of a third. The just released Religion and Society in Central and Eastern Europe will focus on just what the title suggests, however the editors are distinctly aware of the role Geography and geography (the discipline and the applications) will play in many of the submissions they will receive.

I would have to say that open online journals are one of the missing pieces in Geography right now. It is great to see innovation in this area continue to move forward in other disciplines.

Windows Live Local beta

So, I guess the other web mapping news would be the release of Windows Live Local in beta, which incorporates Virtual Earth. I played around with it a little in both IE and Firefox, and the navigation definitely has issues right now. The main new feature is the Bird’s Eye imagery for selected US cities. The images are actually quite nice. There have been a lot of comments in various blogs and tech news sites, so you’ve probably already seen a few.