Remote Sensing in a Nutshell

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), remote sensing is a science that obtains information regarding objects or areas from a distance,  typically using aircraft or satellites to take radar or infrared photography. In 1972, a joint initiative between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA launched the first earth resource satellite (Landsat-1). The Landsat Project is the world’s longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution, land remote sensing data.  The remote sensing data collected has been used by agriculture, commercial, education,  emergency response geology, government, forestry, industry, and military and many other communities.

According to the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), satellite observation has several advantages. It allows users to observe a broad area for a long period, including change detection and invisible information on the electromagnetic spectrum without visiting the area.
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GIS and California: The Alarming Revelation

Another guest post by this semester’s journalism intern.

Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, are computer systems that allow individuals to map, model, and analyze large amounts of data through a single database. Recently, through the help of GIS maps, significant data have turned up some alarming realizations in regards to a very crucial and life-changing matter: water supply. This new information shows how important the use of GIS is, and how it is utilized in a matter that can effect everyday living.

Californians have a lot to worry about nowadays on top of the mudslides, wildfires, and battles with oil companies. The state referred to by some as “unsustainable” has always had issues with water supply. Now, with new information brought forth by NASA scientists, a strict and frightening op-ed has been released to Californians regarding their water: The state only has about one year of water supply left.

Other information also found by NASA satellites indicate that water basins in Sacramento and San Joaquin are 34 million acre-feet below normal compared to the 2014 year, which started October 1, 2013 and ended September 30, 2014. With it being the hottest year yet for California, water gages from The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California indicate that last year was mostly responsible for damage to the water supply for the state, and the lack of snowfall and overall precipitation didn’t help the drought. The Sierra Nevada (Sacramento) is responsible for more than 60 percent of water supply to the state. It sources drinking water for 23 million people, and irrigation water for agricultural land.
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Cloud Computing Speeds Up And Simplifies the Adoption of Spatial Technology

Jim Skurzynski is an expert of spatial technology, computing in the cloud and on-line real estate and government technology. Skurzynski is a founder of Digital Map Products, a leading provider of web-enabled spatial solutions that bring the power of spatial technology to mainstream business, government and consumer applications. He helped start up Digital Map Products with the vision of helping take spatial technology “to the masses,” making the powerful tools available to small and medium-sized businesses as well as major corporations. He has spent the majority of his career designing and managing the deployment of technology solutions in a variety of public and private sector environments. Over the past twenty years, he has held executive management positions in spatial technology companies in the USA, Canada, and Mexico.

As you know, this blog is all about how spatial technology is going mainstream and becoming a key tool for businesses of all types. One of the most exciting trends in GIS and other spatial applications right now is the impact of cloud computing. With the cloud providing a simple and on-demand network of GIS services and software-as-a-service applications, companies that want to implement spatial technology can often get started without costly outlays of time or money.

I predict we’ll see fast-paced changes in the near term including a lower cost infrastructure for creating spatial applications, more sophisticated real estate, business and government uses, and a rapidly-expanding pool of people who “think” spatially. Some of the reasons I think the cloud is supercharging spatial technology adoption include:
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