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eNews Archive

eNewsletter December 2009

Climate News Relating to Remote Sensing

New Google Earth Feature Allows Users
to Explore Climate Change

In conjunction with the United Nations Climate Conference, a new series of documentary-style presentations use Google Earth to illustrate current and potential changes in the global climate as well as possible solutions for adaptation and mitigation. Narrated by former Vice President Al Gore, Stanford University climatologist Steve Schneider, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and other experts and notables, these short multi-media presentations use Google Earth to zoom in and out of the areas the speaker is discussing, outline areas of concern, and provide 3D imagery. They allow viewers to study climate change scenarios, interact with narrated tours, investigate deforestation, and even dive into the depths of the oceans.

The presentations can be viewed on-line at www.google.com/landing/cop15/ or downloaded and viewed in Google Earth.

Report Outlines Key Elements for a Climate Agreement

A joint initiative of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and The Climate Group, launched in March 2008 to help build support for an ambitious new global climate deal in Copenhagen this month and its subsequent implementation, has released a report titled Breaking the Climate Deadlock: Doing the Deal: Key Elements for a Copenhagen Climate Agreement. It highlights how a fair and effective global deal can be built and the benefits that it would provide.

The report's starting point is that, despite many complexities and uncertainties, "the political will to secure a strong agreement in Copenhagen is clearly in place" and that the "ambitious pledges" already made by all major countries, though insufficient, "constitute a major step in the right direction." The report urges governments to set themselves longer term targets, establish a review mechanism that will be able to recommend deeper cuts, agree to develop low carbon growth plans, and provide financial support for a fast start that enables immediate emissions reduction and builds the capacity for them to be scaled up. In addition, it urges governments to make financing available, in particular to support mitigation efforts in developing countries.

Among the report's key conclusions is that, in order to have a reasonable chance of keeping the average global temperature increase to no greater than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, while avoiding the need for excessively abrupt and expensive reductions in the future, "emissions need to peak within the next ten years and then fall by an average of around three percent a year thereafter."

For the full report, see www.theclimategroup.org/_assets/files/BTCD---Doing-the-Deal-13-10-09-Final.pdf

Web Site for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen

The 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) held in Copenhagen this month has a Web site that includes brief reports on the conference, official statements, climate facts, and blog entries. The site is sponsored by 22 private companies. The address for the site is http://en.cop15.dk .

Space Agencies Join Forces to Systematically Observe Climate Variables

During the two-week UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, this month, about 150 distinguished guests attended a side event titled "Global Monitoring of our Climate: the Essential Climate Variables" hosted by the European Space Agency (ESA), at which speakers from various agencies highlighted the role that Earth observation satellites play in providing systematic global climate observations. These observations are essential for climate change research and for managing mitigation and adaptation strategies.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has long recognized the need for global observations of climate variables in order to quantify the state of our climate. Within ESA's Climate Change Initiative a set of long-term global records of essential climate variables will be provided using space technology.

For more information, see: <http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Space_for_our_climate/SEMCGJ7JT2G_2.html>

New Web Site Showcases the Role of Satellites in Monitoring Climate Change

"Climate Change and Satellites", at www.climate-change-and-satellites.com, a new site set up by Thales Alenia Space for the Copenhagen UN Summit on Climate Change, is packed with information on the role of satellites in monitoring climate change. It focuses on the development of satellites to survey and monitor the atmosphere, the biosphere, the cryosphere, the hydrosphere, the poles and ice, sea level and water resources, forests and natural resources, and meteorology.


China to Launch "Yaogan VIII" Remote-Sensing Satellite

On December 15, China launched a remote-sensing satellite, the "Yaogan VIII", aboard a Long March 4C carrier rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern Shanxi Province, according to the center. Also on board is China's first public-welfare mini satellite, "Hope I," which will be used for the country's young people to experience aerospace science and technology. The predecessor satellite, "Yaogan VII," was launched on December 9 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gansu Province.

DOD, Cisco, and Intelsat Launch Space-based Internet Routing Project

URL: http://defensesystems.com/Articles/2009/12/04/IP-routing-leaps-into-space.aspx?p=1

A joint venture between the U.S. Department of Defense, Cisco, and Intelsat reached a major milestone with the launch of the Intelsat 14 (IS-14) satellite that contains an Internet router designed for the rigors of operation in space. The router onboard IS-14 is intended to demonstrate Internet Routing in Space (IRIS) capabilities to the military.

Because of its ability to reduce the latency, and corresponding transmission volumes, inherent in current satellite communications, IRIS has the potential to open up a host of new military and commercial opportunities.

Sanborn Acquires Optech's Lynx Mobile Mapper Technology

URLs: www.sanborn.com, www.optech.ca

Sanborn, a provider of geospatial solutions, has bought and implemented Optech's Lynx V200 Mobile Mapper technology, which combines LiDAR data with high resolution video collection. Sanborn has been deploying mobile mapping technology for several years. As early as 2001, the company was creating digital maps that captured visually and geospatially accurate roads, infrastructure, and other assets using the VISAT (Video Inertial Satellite) Video Capture and GPS/IMU technology.

The Lynx Mobile Mapper utilizes a new LiDAR sensor head and iFLEX, the latest in LiDAR innovation, to collect survey-grade LiDAR data at more than 200,000 measurements per second with a 360º field of view, while maintaining a Class 1 eye safety rating.

Microsoft's Vexcel Imaging Launches UltraMap 2.0 Photogrammetric Software

URL: www.microsoft.com/ultracam/news/umap20.mspx

Vexcel Imaging GmbH, a Microsoft company, will roll out release 2.0 of its UltraMap photogrammetric software beginning January 25, 2010. The product provides a flexible and scalable distributed system for managing and processing UltraCam data. The features of UltraMap 2.0 are implemented in five modules: framework, raw data center, radiometry, viewer, and aerial triangulation.

UltraMap includes features for managing data download, distributed processing using load balancing and resource management, aerial triangulation, and interactive data visualization for quality control. Use of Microsoft's Dragonfly technology enables smooth and high-resolution image browsing and zooming for very large sets of data content. Dragonfly supports multi-channel 16-bit UltraCam imagery for high quality visualization within the complete photogrammetric workflow.

Aerial triangulation has been integrated smoothly into the workflow, and includes new radiometry with gamma and levels dialog. The other new features are concentrated in the raw data center and the radiometry modules. Of particular note, "monolithic stitching" is a new feature that improves geometric image accuracy by one order of magnitude for unstructured terrain. In the radiometry module, UltraMap 2.0 introduces model-based radiometric correction that enables users to eliminate hotspots, atmospheric effects, and haze.

ERDAS Previews New Terrain Processing Solution

URL: www.erdas.com

In 2010, ERDAS will release LPS eATE, a new module for generating high-resolution terrain information from stereo imagery. The LPS eATE technology preview provides a sample of the new ERDAS terrain processing solution.

LPS eATE is an add-on module to LPS, an integrated suite of workflow-oriented photogrammetry software tools for production mapping, including the generation of digital terrain models, orthophoto production, and 3D feature extraction. Automating precision measurement, maintaining accuracy and including flexible operations such as image mosaicking, LPS increases productivity while ensuring high accuracy.

Its scalability makes LPS eATE an appropriate solution for both small and large terrain generation jobs. It utilizes the power of multi-core computer systems and supports parallel processing across a networked group of computers.

LPS eATE can handle a wide range of data input, from satellite to airborne frame to digital pushbroom sensor. With modern airborne and satellite sensors achieving increasingly higher resolutions, the product maximizes this image resolution and generates high-density results. LPS eATE also includes tools for producing LAS point clouds and supports the ability to visualize imagery in 3D by associating RGB values with terrain points in a LAS file. Additionally, the output point clouds can be classified and automatically filtered to remove undesired objects as an integrated part of the eATE process.

Definiens Releases eCognition Version 8 Geo-Spatial Image Analysis Software

URL: www.definiens.com

Definiens, a provider of enterprise image intelligence, recently released its latest software offering for Earth science professionals, eCognition version 8. It is designed for geospatial image analysis while also achieving improvements in processing performance. This software suite, which leverages the company's research and development efforts in 3D and 4D image analysis, introduces new capabilities in multi-dimensional geospatial image analysis. While LiDAR data used to require pre-processing prior to image analysis, users of eCognition 8 can now input LiDAR datasets in their native format.The software can also apply object based image analysis (OBIA) principles to LiDAR data and fuse LiDAR, vector, and optical data, allowing users to efficiently manage complex projects.

The new version of the software also simplifies the development of semi-automated production applications, by enabling users to wrap applications in an intuitive graphical interface. A range of new manual editing options guide and simplify workflows for production teams, making eCognition 8 more user-friendly and functional than its predecessors.

eCognition 8 also delivers a standardized graphical application called Quickmap that allows users to select from alternate start modes depending on their level of experience and the complexity of the image analysis project. As a result, casual eCognition users can quickly create meaningful results using Quickmap, while more seasoned users retain the full functionality of eCognition Developer, which develops rule sets for the automatic analysis of remote sensing data. Definiens will also make available Quickmap's code, so that it can be leveraged in the development of custom applications by the eCognition user community.

According to Definiens, this new version of its product incorporates functionality that makes it accessible to new audiences across industries as diverse as insurance, urban planning, defense and forestry while simultaneously allowing experienced users to meet the demands of complex projects more efficiently.

Beyond improvements to the application building process, eCognition 8 provides advancements in the performance and speed of advanced image analysis. According to the company, in test cases eCognition 8 performed up to ten times faster than the previous version, as a result of more effective utilization of processing resources.

Definiens enables organizations involved in Earth Sciences to quickly extract accurate geo-information from any kind of remote sensing data. The company assists data providers, value adders, scientists and end users in integrating earth observation and remote sensing data to generate accurate GIS-ready information. Definiens' intelligent feature extraction capabilities accelerate mapping, change detection and object recognition–delivering standardized and reproducible image analysis results.

European Space Imaging, Space Imaging Middle East, and DigitalGlobe Enter WorldView Global Alliance

URLs: www.euspaceimaging.com, www.spaceimagingme.com, www.digitalglobe.com, www.worldviewglobalalliance.com

Space Imaging Middle East (SIME), European Space Imaging (EUSI), and DigitalGlobe, Inc., have formed the WorldView Global Alliance to collect, sell, and support world imagery.

SIME and EUSI were the first in the Middle East and Europe to provide direct downlink services for sub-meter resolution satellite imagery. Through this alliance, the companies will offer commercial 8-band multispectral products from DigitalGlobe's WorldView-2 satellites in Europe, starting in the first quarter of 2010, through EUSI's WorldView ground station in Munich. Later this year, they expect to expand their capabilities to offer priority tasking of the WorldView satellites in the Middle East.

Through the alliance, customers will have access to imagery from the DigitalGlobe constellation of satellites, including the recently launched WorldView-2 satellite and DigitalGlobe's ImageLibrary, with more than 815 million square kilometers of high-resolution imagery. The alliance will deliver a suite of online and offline products and services, with high levels of local customer support.

EUSI is a supplier of high-resolution satellite imagery to customers in Europe and North Africa. It was founded in 2002 and is based in Munich, Germany. Working in close partnership with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), EUSI is the only European satellite data provider that operates its own high-resolution satellite ground station for direct satellite tasking and local data downlink. Through the close cooperation with its parent company Space Imaging Middle East (SIME), EUSI's customers benefit from fast access to data from Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

SIME is a total geospatial solutions provider and the first to provide commercial high resolution satellite imagery products in the region with a geographic coverage that spans the Middle East, Eastern Africa, and

Central Asia. Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Dubai, the company offers a suite of products and services that integrate all the elements related to the imagery value chain, ranging from high-resolution satellite and aerial imagery collection and processing, to customized GIS software solutions.

Longmont, Colorado-based DigitalGlobe is a provider of commercial high-resolution Earth imagery products and services. Sourced from its own satellite constellation, the company's imagery solutions support a wide variety of uses within defense and intelligence, civil agencies, mapping and analysis, environmental monitoring, oil and gas exploration, infrastructure management, Internet portals, and navigation technology.

Merrick & Company Wins Grand Award in MAPPS Geospatial Excellence Awards Program

Merrick & Company was selected as winner of the MAPPS's third annual Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Awards competition for their "Levee Recertification Using Geospatial Technologies" project. The "Project of the Year" was awarded during a ceremony at the ASPRS/MAPPS Specialty Conference in San Antonio, Texas, on Nov. 19. The project utilized aerial LiDAR technology and an advanced hydrographic survey to generate valuable elevation data for Wichita, Kansas.

"The Merrick team did not merely think in terms of what had been done in the past; they actively pursued new ideas and pushed the envelope with new technologies to provide deliverables that would continue to add value for the client long after the immediate project was completed," said Robert Burch PS, CP (Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan), chairman of the independent judging panel.

MAPPS awarded winners in five technical categories. They were Intermap Technologies for "Intermap Technologies Completes NEXTMap Europe" in Airborne and Satellite Data Acquisition; Photo Science "Spatial Data Interoperability at the Florida Department of Transportation" in GIS/IT; Kappa Mapping, Inc. "Color Infrared Imagery Makes Accurate Vernal Pool Mapping Possible in Bar Harbor, Maine" in Small Projects; Optech Technologies "New Product Introduction in Hardware: ALTM Orion" in Technology Innovation; and Merrick & Company in the Photogrammetry/Elevation Data Generation category.

Award Winners (back row): Bob Burtch, Judges' Chairman; Donald Carswell, Optech Incorporated; Doug Jacoby, Merrick & Company; Gary Florence, Photo Science. Front row: Claire Kiedrowski, KAPPA Mapping, Inc.; Gary Outlaw, Merrick & Company; Garth Lawrence, Intermap Technologies, Inc.; John Palatiello, MAPPS Executive Director.


Conference News

International Commercial Remote Sensing Symposium

URL: www.usgif.org/files/ICRSS.pdf

The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will hold an International Commercial Remote Sensing Symposium March 3 to 5, 2010 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Topics for the two and a half days of discussions will include: opportunities and challenges in the current government and commercial marketplace; policy issues and ideas to improve industry-government partnerships and to leverage international partnerships; benefits of commercial remote sensing to society, the global economy, and academia; international government officials' experiences with commercial remote sensing matters; and future trends in commercial applications of remote sensing.

The symposium is targeted at members of the U.S. and international geo-intelligence community interested in the current applications and future capabilities of commercial remote sensing and who are looking for new business opportunities and learning about the current and future policies that may change the industry.

Community Remote Sensing To Be Spotlighted At International Symposium

URL: www.igarss2010.org/CommunityRemoteSensing.asp

At the 2010 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, which will take place July 25-30, 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii, a plenary session will be dedicated to the topic of community remote sensing as a complement to traditional government-sponsored satellites and observing systems.

During the year leading up to the plenary, the organizing committee for the conference is identifying and highlighting existing projects that embody the plenary theme. Plenary speakers will be selected from major organizations that reflect public sector, private sector, academia, and NGO perspectives on community remote sensing.

NASA and DARPA Host Space Junk Conference

URL: www.space.com/news/091208-space-junk-cleanup-meeting.html

Outer space has become Earth's largest junkyard. Space debris — including derelict spacecraft, wreckage from colliding satellites, remains from anti-satellite testing, spent rocket stages, discarded lens caps, paint chips, and a lost-to-space tool bag — moving at hyper-speed pose a serious threat to active satellites and spacecraft. This month, NASA and DARPA convened a conference of experts from around the world to discuss the challenge of removing space debris.

Beyond technical and cost issues, there are serious legal and political issues, because any space vehicle that is capable of grabbing debris is also capable of grabbing a satellite and thus can be used as a weapon.

DGI in London Jan. 25-28

URL: www.wbresearch.com/dgieurope/home.aspx?mac=IMA_3&cm_mmc=UK Affiliate-_-UKEEM-_-10980.004-_-Imagin notes

How is it that our armies can win battles but fail to solve the problems? Find out at WBR's Defence Geospatial Intelligence Event.

"War no longer exists," writes General Sir Rupert Smith, Former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, powerfully in his book. "The Utility of Force" reminds us that the clash of mass national armies — the nature of warfare since Napoleon — will never occur again. Instead, he argues, we must be prepared to adapt our methods of warfare to each conflict, or lose our ability to protect ourselves and our way of life.

Using force effectively is not just a matter of having the right forces. GIS systems and capabilities have become the core of any decision in-theatre and in HQ. Right information at the right time could mean the difference between life and death. The Defence Geospatial Intelligence (DGI) 2010 event, taking place at the QEII Conference Centre in London from Jan. 25-28, is set to explore the most interesting, successful and innovative ways GIS is used in current military action and in war on terrorism.

Generals, colonels and their civilian counterparts from national security organisations will be debating and sharing experiences of using GIS in mission critical situations. London 2012 Olympic Games are one of the core subjects for discussion.

Presentations from European Ministries of Defence, Ordnance Survey, British Transport Police, The Metropolitan Police and many of their colleagues from USA, Canada, and Europe will form the conference sessions. With over 600 participants from 36 international countries, DGI has become Europe's largest and most comprehensive gathering for military and national security geospatial intelligence.

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