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eNewsletter May 2009

NSS Report on Earth Observations

The National Space Symposium each spring includes interesting discussions on Earth observations. Like the past two years, this year's panel discussion on April 1 was focused on the role of Earth observations for climate change. Dr. Alexis Livanos, Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Northrop Grumman Corporation, addressed the crowd with his speech titled, “The Keys to Climate Change.”

Dr. Livanos' main points were that nations and organizations must work together to address this multi-faceted issue with comprehensive solutions, and that the current state of our knowledge is inadequate. While we know that space assets are important for climate change (at least 26 of the 44 essential climate variables must be monitored from space), Livanos commented, “The fact that we currently have about a hundred Earth monitoring satellites should make us breathe easier—until we remember that this number will be reduced to about 25 in 20 years.”

The U.S. must step into the leadership role, as “CO2 recognizes no borders, and climate change respects no nation's sovereignty. So treaties and intergovernmental cooperation are also critical. The successful climate change solution will be a one-for-all and all-for-one proposition… Our nation must bring to bear its extraordinary tradition of innovation and unbridled creativity—a combination that has proven to be man's salvation against countless challenges.”

The panel that followed brought perspectives from various organizations. Lt. Gen. Eugene L. Tattini, USAF (Retired), Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Director of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), noted, “Seven years ago (when he retired from the Air Force), I would not have imagined myself on a panel talking about climate. Now I know that climate is a national security threat. We all should bear this in mind. And I am disappointed that more military are not here to learn more about that.”

Mr. Vincent G. Sabathier, Senior Fellow and Director for Space Initiatives at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) noted that tying space knowledge to climate change is a good idea. He noted that not much has happened since VADM Lautenbacher and Colin Powell worked on the launch of GOES in 2003, until in 2007, the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which was progress made possible thanks to satellite measurements. Also in 2007, Northrop Grumman provided a grant to study the current use of Earth observations for global change.

Echoing Dr. Livanos, Mr. Sabathier said that we in the U.S. cannot do it alone, and we must involve the private sector more, including agriculture, insurance, biodiversity, and others.

Ms. Abigail D. Harper, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), discussed the agencies' need to transition measurements into data for the observational community. They are working on that. Recently, NOAA has had some successes in the area of climate: Two of the five climate sensors that were removed from NPOESS are back on. Also, NOAA is doing a climate sensor analysis, and is considering all the ways to get those sensors into orbit, such as microsats and commercial vehicles.

Harper also emphasized, “Getting measurements is one thing—and climate data records are the next important piece to use the data. NOAA has a new initiative in response to a call from The National Academy of Sciences, to do climate data records. They will implement this starting in 2009.”

Editor's Note: The spring issue of Imaging Notes, coming out in a few weeks, includes an article about the use of satellites in measuring effectiveness of treaties, and an article about the current status of climate sensors. Both articles will be online by late May.

3D Imagery and Infrastructure: SPAR and GITA Conferences

If conferences are indications of momentum in an industry, 3D laser scanning is on the move. The SPAR 3D Laser Scanning Conference has grown from 200 attendees in 2004 to approximately 650 in 2008 and 2009. The SPAR 2009 conference held in Denver, Colorado, on March 30-April 1 attracted attendees from 27 countries with 40% of attendees representing civil, transportation, and building infrastructure, 35% representing industrial plant, and 20% representing other industries, including law, security, and preservation. This year, 37% of attendees were new to the conference.

From movies to video games, 3D entertainment has captured the imagination of the mainstream for years, and 3D laser scanning hardware and software companies are working hard to convince business of the value 3D imagery brings, from engineering and design, to asset management.

During the 3D Laser Scanning Boot Camp, presenters discussed the most widely viewed applications of 3D-I (3D imagery) as risk mitigation on large industrial and development projects. Applications discussed include:

  • Industrial plant—as is data—asset management, training, etc.

  • Civil infrastructure

  • Commercial buildings

  • Land mapping, contour mapping

  • Historic Preservation

  • Disaster Recovery

  • Reverse Engineering

  • Forensic investigation

  • Security

The business issues being addressed with 3D-I are productivity, accuracy of data to reduce rework time, and speed to market. The biggest challenges to the adoption of 3D-I have been the lack of software and visualization tools, the perception of cost and benefit, and data management and software. These issues and challenges may all be changing as the technology and software continue to improve. Visit www.sparllc.com for more information.

As infrastructure continues to make headlines, from deteriorating roads and bridges, to shovel-ready jobs and the effects of the Economic Stimulus, approximately 1100 attendees descended upon Tampa, Florida, on April 19-22 for the Geospatial Information & Technology Association's 2009 Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference and Geospatial Dimensions of Emergency Response Symposium. Of the 1100, 21% were first-timers exploring the power of geospatial technologies.

The buzz at the conference was all about hybrid-GIS and SmartGrid applications in utilities, and 4D GIS for pipeline safety diagnosis was introduced by Hitachi. As GIS evolves, data management and the indexing of time and the need to solve engineering, operational, and business problems are becoming increasingly important. For more information visit www.gita.org.

Imaging Notes Announces a Partnership with Secure World Foundation

The Secure World Foundation envisions secure, sustainable and peaceful uses of outer space made possible by efficient and effective global systems of governance. The Foundation's mission is to work with governments, industry and civil society to identify, develop and promote ideas and actions necessary for achieving the secure, sustainable and peaceful use of outer space.

The partnership with Imaging Notes fits within their theme of Human and Environmental Security: Maximizing the global cooperative use of space assets for humanity and focusing on cooperative Earth observation and the global sharing of EO data. Details appear here.

Spin-off Publication on Location in Business Launches in May

The Imaging Notes team is launching a new spin-off multi-media company called LBx Journal—Location in the Language of Business—for organizations that are integrating location into business and enterprise decision-making. The launch both in print and online will be at the Where 2.0 Conference in San Jose, May 19-21.

Natasha Léger's presentation at Where 2.0 defines LBx: Location-based (x) (LBx) is the recognition that all products and services are connected to location, whether they have to do with supply chain, transportation costs, distribution, inventory, asset management, proximity to the customer, or the performance of the product or service in various marketing. What is the (x) variable to you?

Read more about the concept of the new publication here.

Meanwhile, you can sign up for more information or subscribe at www.lbxjournal.com.

Where 2.0 Conference 2009


May 19-21, 2009
San Jose, CA

You are where you are. And if you're not at Where 2.0 this year, you'll be missing out on the technology, the trends, and the speakers defining the leading edge of the geolocation industry. Get your head into three full days of workshops, sessions, and keynotes exploring the future of the geolocation industry. Get a first look at emerging technologies and startups, as they present at Ignite Where and Launchpad. Get up to speed with source mapping tools, reality mining, open standards for data and location web services, and sensors for obtaining location data.

These are just a few of the in-depth workshops designed to send you back to work equipped with cutting edge skills: Web Mapping, API Hacking, Geoprocessing, Interactive Mapping, Open Source Mapping.

Imaging Notes readers receive 25% Discount on registration for Where 2.0. Just use this discount code at registration: whr09cm25.

Imaging Notes publisher Myrna James Yoo serves on the Program Committee for Where 2.0, and LBx editor/Imaging Notes columnist Natasha Léger serves on the Program Committee for GeoWeb in 2009.

Conferences Adding Location for Business Content

Two meetings this summer that will incorporate location for business are the ESRI User Conference, which has added their Business GIS Summit to the week's events in July, and the GeoWeb Conference, which has added a new Business Track.

Business Panel at GeoWeb

LBx Journal's Editor, Natasha Leger will be moderating GeoWeb's first Business Issues Panel. This panel brings together experts in executive business issues, technology, and standards to discuss the impact new applications, the availability and accessibility of data, and the GeoWeb infrastructure on the ability to solve such pressing business problems as finding new customers, increasing productivity, better financial management, developing better products, becoming more competitive, developing more efficient and safer operations, increasing speed to market, and improving internal and external communications. Find out how the GeoWeb infrastructure creates new business opportunities and new business models. Find out the business questions and answers you need to implement location solutions into your business. What data? Where's the data? When is interoperability an issue? What's the ROI? Panelists are Craig Bachmann, ITF Advisors; Clemens Portele, Interactive Instruments; Sean Gorman, FortiusOne; Carl Reed, OGC; and Sam Solt, Clear Path Labs.

GeoWeb 2009 is taking place July 27-31 in downtown Vancouver, BC Canada

ESRI GIS Business Summit will be held in conjunction with the ESRI User Conference, July 12-17 in San Diego.

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