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eNewsletter March 2010

Key Findings of U.S. Department of State Workshop on Rebuilding for Resilience

How Science and Engineering Can Inform Haiti's Reconstruction

Major data needs for improved risk and vulnerability assessments include:

  • Improved topographic and bathymetric information – The currently available 90-m resolution Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) data are not sufficient. Higher-resolution SRTM data exist and should be released. There is an associated need for still higher-resolution light detection and ranging (LIDAR) acquisition in key hazard-prone areas.
  • Remote-sensing data and studies – Continued and enhanced remote sensing observations are required to monitor and update hazard assessments. Satellite-based optical and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) observations are needed to support field observations and to monitor surface deformation associated with strain accumulation and mass movements.

Full Release at: http://www.state.gov/p/io/rls/fs/139155.htm


Intermap Licenses 3D Terrain Models to Garmin, Joins Forces With Skyguide on Civil Aviation Solution, and Is Listed by Fast Company Among World’s Most Innovative Companies

Deal with Garmin. Intermap Technologies has signed an agreement with Garmin Ltd., a manufacturer of satellite navigation equipment. Under the terms of the three-year agreement, Intermap will furnish 3D elevation data for the United States and Western Europe derived from its NEXTMap countrywide digital map database. Initial Garmin products utilizing NEXTMap data are expected to reach the consumer market beginning in the first half of 2010.

With NEXTMap data, Garmin can enhance its outdoor product line through terrain rendering and the creation of shaded raster imagery. Additionally, with seamless three-dimensional data across multiple countries, Garmin can create elevation-sensitive content and applications across the range of its product line. Neither company has released detailed contract terms. See www.garmin.com.

Agreement with Skyguide. Intermap has signed a cooperation agreement with Skyguide to deploy an advanced terrain and obstacle solution in support of the Electronic Terrain and Obstacle Data (eTOD) mandated initiative of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Intermap and Skyguide, the organization responsible for providing air navigation services within Swiss airspace and in the airspace of certain adjoining regions in neighboring countries, will provide ICAO-compliant and seamless terrain data for eTOD Areas 1 and 2 as well as any customer-supplied data in an industry-compatible database.

Under ICAO mandates, member states are required to provide more accurate terrain and obstacle data in the vicinity of aerodromes as part of a strategy to increase safety while efficiently managing the growth in air traffic. Intermap's aviation data service will allow air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and civil aviation authorities (CAAs) to operationally plan more efficiently while providing an increased level of quality, all enabled by the unprecedented accuracy and consistency of Intermap's NEXTMap elevation data and its multi-nation coverage.

The NEXTMap dataset will enable ANSPs and other users to create more accurate planning of arrival and departure routes. Historical cross-border harmonization problems, such as lack of standardized data format and ease of use, are no longer issues, allowing users to concentrate on the operational use of the data. The seamless data can also be used by other applications such as radio navigation coverage calculations, simulations, or terrain warning systems, including minimum altitude warning systems.

The service will incorporate options to include the collection of terrain and obstacles in eTOD Areas 3 and 4, provision of a Web interface, and the creation of powerful analytical tools not typically present in ATM-industry-standard software. The process for collecting the NEXTMap dataset is currently undergoing certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). See www.intermap.com.

Listing in Fast Company. Intermap was listed in Fast Company's annual Most Innovative Companies issue, which honors major brands including Facebook, Google, Cisco, Disney, and GE, along with such rising newcomers as Foursquare and Clearwire. Overall, Fast Company recognized more than 250 companies in 24 categories, including advertising and marketing, biotech, film and TV, media, music, and mobile. Intermap was named in the top 10 mobile companies list that also included Google, Apple, Amazon, Ford, and others.

To create this year’s Most Innovative Companies issue, Fast Company’s editorial team analyzed information on thousands of businesses across the globe. The result is a package unlike that of any other business media. It’s not just about revenue growth and profit margins; it’s about identifying creative models and progressive cultures – to define the many forms of innovation that exist across the business landscape. Fast Company recognized Intermap’s AccuTerra product, a navigational application for Apple’s iPhone that allows users to track, store, and share their outdoor recreation experiences – all without a WiFi connection. Intermap’s high-resolution digital elevation model serves as the foundation map source for AccuTerra. Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies issue (March 2010) is on newsstands now, and is online at www.fastcompany.com.


ebrary Launches Free Natural Disaster and Extreme Weather Searchable Information Center

A provider of digital content products and technologies, ebrary has created a publicly available research center featuring hundreds of government documents related to natural disasters and extreme weather. The company gathered authoritative public domain information from government Web sites and created an interactive, searchable database. Using DASH! (Data Sharing, Fast) and other ebrary services, it aggregated PDF content and developed its new Natural Disaster and Extreme Weather Searchable Information Center.

The new site (http://site.ebrary.com/lib/disaster/home.action) launched by ebrary is one of a series of research centers that the company’s employees are building on topics that are important to them. Last November, ebrary staff created the H1N1 Searchable Information Center, which is freely available at http://h1n1.ebrary.com/home.action.

All of ebrary’s searchable information centers include the following research capabilities:

  1. multiple options for searching, navigating, and browsing;
  2. ebrary InfoTools, which turn every word into a portal to additional information on the Web;
  3. notes and highlights;
  4. ability to copy/paste and print text with automatic citations and URL hyperlinks back to the source;
  5. personal bookshelves with moveable folders that can be emailed to others.


MDA to Support Expedition to Investigate Acidification of the Arctic Ocean

Information from MDA’s Information Systems group’s RADARSAT-2 satellite will help guide the Catlin Arctic Survey expedition that includes lead explorer Ann Daniels and an international team of research scientists. The expedition, which set out on March 15, will investigate the potential effects of carbon dioxide on the Arctic Ocean. This is the second Caitlin expedition that MDA has supported.

From the vantage point 798 kilometers above Earth, RADARSAT-2 data are charting the way for the three British polar explorers. RADARSAT-2 imagery will assist the team in identifying potential hazards and obstacles as they trek over the ice, in addition to locating safe sites that will allow aircraft to deliver vital supplies to them. The satellite will provide nearly real-time operational information that will give them the bigger picture of ice conditions in the hours and days ahead. For its part, MDA plans to correlate the data collected by the expedition with the RADARSAT imagery to determine the ability of the technology to measure ice thickness.

MDA has a strong history of supporting Arctic surveillance for the Canadian Government using RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2 imagery for daily surveillance of Canada’s Arctic and its ocean passages. The Canadian Ice Service and the Canadian Coast Guard rely heavily on RADARSAT imagery to chart ice conditions to assist ships in route planning and navigation, not only in Canada’s high north, but also along key transportation corridors such as the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Representing a major enhancement of Canada’s successful RADARSAT program, the federal government recently announced funding for the construction of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM). RCM is a three-satellite configuration that will further enhance Canada’s ability to ensure its sovereignty and security through space-borne maritime surveillance, including the Northwest Passage. See www.mdacorporation.com.


Merrick Acquiring Data for RDECOM-STTC Project, Releases Version 6.1 of MARS Software Suite

Merrick & Company is acquiring and processing light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data and visible near infrared (VNIR) hyperspectral imagery for a U.S. Army Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC) project located in Orlando, Florida. The work is being done under a contract for Applied Research Associates, a 1,400-person, international research and engineering company.

STTC’s mission is to ensure the dominance of the U.S. Army by creating, integrating, and delivering technology-enabled solutions. These advanced technology simulators provide key training opportunities for war fighters. The collected data will provide the basis for urban terrain modeling and will be used to design a 3D simulation training model. The data provided includes 128 spectral bands and .5-meter pixel resolution VNIR hyperspectral imagery, along with 0.5-meter ground sample distance (GSD) LiDAR data in order to provide a very high-fidelity data set. Features that will be extracted from the data include bare earth, building footprints, tree canopy points and polygons, surface hydrology, road networks, and utilities. The data are being collected over a 19-square-mile area.

The company recently released Version 6.1 of the Merrick Advanced Remote Sensing (MARS) software suite, a production-grade Windows application designed to manage, visualize, process, and analyze LiDAR data with powerful visualization capabilities and unparalleled performance. See www.merrick.com.


GCS Research Delivers Mobile GIS Application for Android Smartphone

GCS Research, a developer of advanced geospatial technology solutions, has introduced a downloadable property information application that allows users to view location-specific information from smartphones running the Android operating system. The 'Montana Parcel App' leverages mobile geographic information system (GIS) technology, phone-based GPS, and other Web services to access publicly-available property data and geometry from two Montana databases.

The Montana Parcel App allows smartphone users to access real estate information remotely from anywhere in the world or while standing on a property in Montana. Users can rely on the phone's built-in GPS receiver to pinpoint their current location in the state, or they can zoom into a mapping interface to select an area of interest. Within seconds, the application retrieves location-specific property information for the selected site from two Web-enabled databases.

The first is a parcel boundary file maintained in a Montana cadastral database. This cadastral information is managed in an ArcSDE geodatabase and served over the Web by ESRI's ArcGIS Server solution. The smartphone application traces the property boundaries in red on the phone's map display. Next, the application accesses the State of Montana CAMA (Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal) system, where it retrieves property details, such as owner name, parcel legal description, acreage, assessed value, and zoning code. The mobile mash-up leverages the Android mobile operation system to deliver a personal solution for anyone wanting to have the information at their fingertips.

Users may download Montana Parcel App for free by searching for "GCS" in the Google Android Marketplace on their Android OS phones. GCS Research will soon migrate the Montana application and other mobile GIS tools to additional smartphone operating systems. GCS plans to continue development of location-based services that harness the GPS-based sensors, other embedded sensors, and video/still imagery cameras on smartphones for mobile GIS applications involving augmented reality, geospatial analytics, and advanced geometric calculations. See www.gcs-research.com.


Aerotec Provides Airborne LiDAR for IBM's "Smarter Planet" Videos

Aerotec, LLC recently provided airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) for IBM's "Smarter Planet" series of videos. "Data Anthem" was produced by Ogilvy & Mather New York and directed by James Frost of Zoo Films. Aerotec's airborne LiDAR was used for the opening scene and some of the follow-on scenes. The videos sought to use the most compelling, arresting ways of visualizing actual data to complement the message of the importance of data, the context for its proliferation, and the enormous opportunities that lie within it.

IBM's "Smarter Planet" videos are being used to convey the idea that the data all around us is spatially and logically "connected" and can be processed in a variety of ways to enrich our daily lives on the planet while preserving the planet and its resources at the same time.

Aerotec provided airborne LiDAR point cloud data for approximately seven square miles of the downtown area of Houston, Texas at a nominal point density of 40 LiDAR points per square meter. Emphasis was placed on detailed definitions of all buildings, from their top down to street level. Street details were also provided, including cars, trucks, and pedestrians. Additionally, emphasis was placed on infrastructure, such as elevated roadways, railroads, drainage features, and other elevated structures. Post-production added dimension and space within the environment to convey the idea that our world is alive with data. See www.aerotecusa.com.

The video can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cj6VtYpBI4 or downloaded at http://www.yousendit.com/download/THE3ZGVkWkJFd2QzZUE9PQ.


Brazilian Company Hiparc Geotecnologia Purchases UltraCamL

Hiparc Geotecnologia has contracted with Vexcel Imaging GmbH, a Microsoft company, to purchase an UltraCamL medium format camera system. The deal was brokered by Vexcel Imaging reseller GeoToolBox Ibérica S.L. (GTBi), based in Madrid, Spain.

Taking advantage of the large-format camera concept that has proven successful with the UltraCamX, UltraCamXp, and UltraCam Xp Wide Angle, the UltraCamL offers the same geometric accuracy and dynamic range in the medium format market. The UltraCamL is the largest medium format camera system on the market today suitable for smaller aircraft and projects requiring a rapid response. The system is ideal for smaller large-scale and photogrammetric projects, high-resolution (true) orthophoto production, DSM (digital surface model) production, aerotriangulation, corridor mapping, and LiDAR integration. See www.vexcel.com and www.hiparc.com.


MapMart offers ATLIS Geomatics High-Resolution Aerials of Canada

MapMart, an online source of mapping and imagery data sets, has added ATLIS Geomatics 10cm-30cm aerial imagery to its offerings. A growing number of Canadian cities from the ATLIS Geomatics data set are now available online at MapMart, as well as from the free MapMart On-Demand Toolbar.

Until recently, geospatial data users had few options in purchasing aerial imagery of Canada, but ATLIS has emerged as a premier provider of high-resolution Canadian data. MapMart has partnered with ATLIS to
offer high quality data for the Canadian urban and rural areas in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Canadian cities that will be coming online during Q2 are Calgary, AB, Morden and Winkler, MB, and municipalities throughout Southern Manitoba. See www.mapmart.com and www.atlis.nl.


LizardTech Releases LiDAR Compressor 1.1

LizardTech, a division of Celartem Inc. and a provider of software solutions for managing and distributing geospatial content, has released a new version of LiDAR Compressor, which enables users to turn giant point cloud data sets into efficient MrSID files. This latest release, version 1.1, offers improved lossless compression performance, better data quality for lossy compression and many other user interface improvements.

A trial version of LiDAR Compressor is available as a free download on LizardTech’s website at www.lizardtech.com/download.


RapidEye Adds Harris Corporation to Its U.S. Team of Reseller Partners

RapidEye – a geospatial solutions provider that owns and operates a constellation of five identical Earth observation satellites that allows it to combine large-area coverage, frequent revisit intervals, and high resolution – recently signed a partnership agreement with Florida-based Harris Corporation’s Government Communications Systems Division. Harris Corporation is an international communications and information technology company that produces wireless equipment, electronic systems, and both terrestrial and spaceborne antennas for use in the government, defense, and commercial sectors.

Harris already incorporates RapidEye’s 5-meter resolution data into its TrueTerrain true-color orthomosaic products for the visualization-simulation and mapping markets and will be able to offer new, image-based products covering large areas to its global customer base. RapidEye is very focused on expanding awareness of its products in those markets. RapidEye’s satellite constellation of 5-band multispectral 5-meter data provides a new source of commercial imagery that will allow Harris to build a suite of value-added products to better serve its commercial and governmental customers alike. RapidEye's worldwide network of partners and distributors is continuously growing to provide customers an avenue to purchase RapidEye products in their own region and in their own language.

The RapidEye Geodata Kiosk, an online shop for satellite imagery, now has more than 6.5 million square kilometers of North and South America as well as the whole area of Germany. All satellite data in the Geodata Kiosk are multi-spectral, orthorectified level 3A products and are ready to be integrated into any GIS. The data includes the full states of Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas in the United States, as well as the Brazilian states of Bahia, Mato Grosso, Pará, Paraná, and São Paulo.

Millions of additional square kilometers of Earth are available in the RapidEye Library. It contains more than 730 million square kilometers, of which around 410 million square kilometers have less than 20 percent cloud cover. The library is continuously growing as the company downloads new images from its satellite constellation daily. See www.harris.com and www.rapideye.de.

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