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eNewsletter January 2010

Many companies and organizations are making data available for the Haitian relief efforts, so we gathered a sampling for you.


VisionLink Software Helps Coordinate Haiti Relief Efforts

In the chaotic aftermath of a major disaster, often victims need relief from a variety of organizations. Matching up those most in need of assistance with aid donors and coordinating the distribution of relief supplies is a very complex task. VisionLink, a software service provider, gives non-governmental organizations Web-based tools to manage these challenges and quickly set up a "community operating system," designed to integrate needs and assets across the social service, education, and workforce sectors. See www.visionlink.org.

In Haiti, VisionLink has provided software to the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD, www.pqmd.org), an organization dedicated to promoting high standards in the delivery of medical products to under-served people and disaster victims around the world. PQMD works with pharmaceutical companies and partners in 150 nations.

According to Dr. W. Douglas Zimmerman, President/CEO of VisionLink, his company¹s software enables PQMD to track and map the delivery of aid supplies, manage private client data and public data, and greatly improve their situational analysis. VisionLink¹s mapping interface allows PQMD to display the locations to which it is sending relief supplies; the private database allows it to keep track of its clients and partners; and a collaborative tool allows it to track calls and resources. "The purpose of all of this," says Dr. Zimmerman, "is to ensure that aid organizations are delivering the right supplies to the right places."

VisionLink has also launched a Web portal for the Coordinated Assistance Network, a partnership among some of the nation's leading nonprofit disaster relief organizations, to help coordinate the evacuation from Haiti of U.S. citizens. VisionLink will soon release a formal gifts-in-kind management system that will use on-line transactional tools to connect needs and offers.

DigitalGlobe Offers Free Access to Pre- and Post-Earthquake Imagery of Haiti

Since the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, DigitalGlobe's satellite constellation (consisting of QuickBird, WorldView-1, and WorldView-2) has captured nearly the entire country. The company is now making its imagery available as a KML overlay for Google Earth through its online Crisis Event Service [http://www.digitalglobe.com/index.php/48/Products?product_id=26], which provides fast Web-based access to pre- and post-event imagery of world disasters. When a major disaster is identified, DigitalGlobe’s satellite constellation acquires post-event imagery of affected areas within one to three days. Organizations can connect to the service through a Web plug-in for GIS software, a WMS service, or the company’s APIs and SDKs for custom map server and Java applications.

To help the humanitarian efforts under way in Haiti, the company is offering free access to both pre- and post-earthquake imagery until January 28, 2010, through its ImageConnect plug-in for GIS software. It has also posted an earthquake image gallery and damage analysis on its Web site.

To gain access to DigitalGlobe's Crisis Event Services imagery through a KML overlay file, visit http://dgl.us.neolane.net/res/dgl/survey/CES_H.jsp. To view DigitalGlobe’s gallery of sample images, visit http://www.digitalglobe.com/index.php/27/Sample+Imagery+Gallery.

Port-au-Prince Imagery By GeoEye-1 After the Earthquake

Since the earthquake in Haiti, GeoEye has collected imagery of about 440 square kilometers of the country, centered over Port-au-Prince, with its GeoEye-1 satellite, which orbits at 423 miles above Earth at a speed of four miles per second and takes images with a ground resolution of half meter (19 inches).

See relief efforts here: http://www.geoeye.com/CorpSite/corporate/GeoEye_Haiti_Relief_Efforts.aspx

The recent imagery clearly shows extensive damage throughout the city, roads covered with debris from collapsed structures, and people crowded into the streets and into open public places such as sports fields and stadiums. Many buildings appear to be flattened, and the National Palace shows damage along the roof line.

RapidEye Delivers Images of Haiti's Damaged Areas

RapidEye has completed imaging of all of the regions in Haiti that have been most affected by the earthquake, using its constellation of five identical Earth observation satellites. According to the company, despite the unfavorable weather, it was able to image more than 80 percent of this large area between January 13 and 17, from an orbit of 630 km. The images clearly show the extensive damage to the region around the epicenter of the earthquake at 18°27'05''N / 72°26'40''W.

RapidEye is concentrating on delivering these and future images of Haiti at no cost to governmental and non-governmental help organizations and institutions in need of the most current Earth observation information available for this region. See www.rapideye.de. Organizations involved in Haiti emergency efforts that need imagery should contact sales@rapideye.de. Additionally, RapidEye makes the imagery available for purchase on its Geodata Kiosk at www.geodatakiosk.com.

ESRI Assists Haiti Earthquake Response

ESRI is working closely with the geographic information system (GIS) community and with agencies responding to the Haiti earthquake by providing software, technical support, GIS data, and personnel. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, GIS is assisting in identifying areas of extreme damage, impacts to critical infrastructure, areas suitable for food and water distribution, and more. It gives officials critical information used for making all types of decisions.

Personnel and agencies helping the relief effort can take advantage of maps, data, software, and Web services available online through the ESRI Web site at http://www.esri.com/haiti. The data and services include a 25-meter reference grid of Haiti, an ESRI Geo Viewer, and Haiti basemap data from the United Nations available on ArcGIS Online at www.arcgisonline.com. In addition, ESRI-generated earthquake and recovery maps are available for both the media and the public. ESRI will provide updates as they become available.

NGA Supports Haiti Earthquake Recovery Efforts

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is supporting the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with analysis, unclassified commercial satellite imagery, and geospatial intelligence products of the Haitian areas devastated by the recent earthquake.

Commercial imagery providers DigitalGlobe and GeoEye have provided commercial satellite imagery of post-earthquake Haiti to NGA.

NGA will also be providing public access to some of its geospatial intelligence products (e.g. imagery and maps) as they become available via NGA's crisis response portal, NGA-Earth, https://www.geoint-online.net/community/ngaearth/default.aspx (satellite imagery and map viewer).

USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance is leading U.S. disaster relief efforts, and USSOUTHCOM will serve a supporting role to its efforts. The NGA-Earth site is updated as new geospatial intelligence products are made available. In addition to the information hosted at this location, the site provides links to other federal agency sites and is an access point to leverage other NGA geospatial expertise and products.

Originally established in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the NGA-Earth site uses the Internet to provide the public a single, easy-to-use entry point for locating timely, relevant, unclassified geospatial information in the event of a natural disaster or crisis. The site is also a means to communicate critical information to first responders, as well as to allow the public the ability to broadly assess property damage without having to physically return to the site of a disaster.

In addition to the images, NGA will also be providing geospatial intelligence products to supported agencies. The products will include graphics of major infrastructure — such as the locations of airports,hospitals, police and fire stations, emergency operations centers, hazardous material locations, roads and schools. The products will also include damage assessments. These types of products greatly assist first responders and those coordinating and planning relief efforts. These graphics provide a common operating picture that has enabled local, state, and federal government elements to work effectively together since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

ERDAS Provides Access to Haiti Imagery

ERDAS has updated its Online Web Services to incorporate the imagery of Haiti that GeoEye collected on January 13 and made available for free download. Any end user can directly consume these images from the online Web services in ArcMap/ArcGIS Server, AutoCAD, MapInfo, Web clients, open source thick clients, ERDAS IMAGINE, and ERDAS’ hosted Web services. Individuals may also consume the image in ECWP in ArcMap, AutoCAD, Microsoft Office, many other thick client packages and Web clients by downloading the ECW Plug-in freely available for download on the ERDAS Web site at: http://www.erdas.com/tabid/84/currentid/2508/default.aspx.

Google Earth provided the data to the public in 91 .tar files that contain 725 image tiles for the coverage area; then ERDAS mosaicked it into one 135 GB file and compressed it to ECW, resulting in a 3GB file. OGC Web Services and ECWP streaming for this data have also been created and are available online for direct use on the Web or in GIS applications. ERDAS is providing the ECW file and Web Services to assist anyone participating in the emergency relief efforts. Google attached the following legal disclaimer to its data: "By downloading these files, you agree to use the imagery solely for non-commercial use related to emergency relief and to provide a proper and distinct photo credit to 'GeoEye Satellite Image.'"

The web services for this data can be found at:

To access the Vector Data as a WMS in Thick Client Applications, here is the WMS URL:

To view the capabilities of the WMS:

To access the features as WFS in a Thick Client Application, here is the WFS URL:

You may also access the imagery through ECWP, WMS and the ImageX with the following URL’s:

ECWP URL to the Google Earth/GeoEye Haiti Image hosted by ERDAS:

WMS URL for the IWS Server:

Capabilities document for the IWS Server:


Haiti Earthquake Survivors In Desperate Need of Water

Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute (www.pacinst.org) — a nonpartisan research institute that works to advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity — has pointed out the importance of water following a disaster such as the earthquake in Haiti.

"In any disaster like this, after search, rescue, and immediate medical care, clean and safe water becomes a critical need. Without it, water-related diseases rapidly become a serious health threat for the survivors," he wrote on his San Francisco Chronicle "City Brights" blog. "Emergency water supplies can be provided in many ways, but there is no consistent approach or technology." However, he identifies "some that should be applied quickly." You can read the full post at: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/gleick/detail?blogid=104&entry_id=55235


Google’s Deforestation Tool

Seeing the Forest through the Cloud

At the International Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen in December, Google unveiled its new technology prototype to track deforestation and announced its intention ultimately to offer a complete REDD MRV system. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (a framework agreement proposed by the United Nations), and MRV stands for Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification. The system — which Google developed in collaboration with numerous scientists and organizations — enables on-line, global-scale observation and measurement of changes in the Earth's forests.

The company hopes that this technology will help stop the destruction of the world's rapidly-disappearing forests. Emissions from tropical deforestation are greater than those of all cars, trucks, planes, ships, and trains worldwide, and protecting the world's standing forests is a highly cost-effective way to cut carbon emissions and mitigate climate change. REDD would provide financial incentives to rainforest nations to protect their forests, in an effort to make forests worth "more alive than dead." Implementing a global REDD system, however, will require that each nation have the ability to monitor and report the state of their forests accurately over time, in a manner that is independently verifiable, a requirement that is beyond the capabilities of most tropical nations.

Google’s new system gives scientists access to the petabytes of satellite imagery data on its servers; tools to map, analyze, and measure deforestation and forest regeneration; and (through its data centers) the massive computing power needed to run the image processing analysis. The resulting system, according to Google, offers unprecedented speed (which, among other things, can help support local law enforcement efforts to prevent further deforestation), dramatically lower costs, security for sensitive data and results, and an easy way to share data, analysis, and results.

The prototype is currently available only to a small set of partners for testing purposes, but Google expects to make it more broadly available over the next year as a not-for-profit service. More information is here: http://blog.google.org/2009/12/seeing-forest-through-cloud.html.


NGA Awards Contracts for Commercial Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (COMSAR) Products and Services

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has awarded three Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Multiple Award Contracts (MACs) for Commercial Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (COMSAR) Imagery, Data Products, and Direct Downlink Services to MDA Geospatial Services, Inc., to EADS North America, and to Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. Each contract includes a five-year ordering period with a ceiling of $85,000,000. The effective date of the contracts is December 29, 2009.

NGA, as the Department of Defense's (DoD) sole procurer of commercial remote sensing (CRS) data, routinely procures commercial imagery from both domestic and foreign sources. NGA and its mission partners utilize commercial SAR data for intelligence, military, and homeland security applications. The contracts improve NGA's ability to provide intelligence in low light and bad weather conditions.

NGA is a DoD combat support agency and a member of the national intelligence community. The agency's mission is to provide geospatial intelligence (GEOINT), which is the exploitation of satellite or airborne images, fused with other intelligence and geospatial information like mapping, charting, and geodesy, to help warfighters and national decision makers visualize what they need to know. See www.nga.mil.


MapMart Expands Online Offering to Include Ortho Imagery from Pictometry

MapMart, an online source of mapping and image data sets, has begun to sell Pictometry orthogonal 6-inch resolution imagery for 38 cities in the United States and Canada. The imagery can be searched, previewed, and purchased from the MapMart online geospatial portal.

MapMart has offered individual tiles of Pictometry's vertical and oblique imagery for several years and most recently made Pictometry Online software available on the MapMart Software portal, giving users unlimited annual viewing of oblique and orthogonal images for an entire market. See www.mapmart.com, www.pictometry.com.

Fugro Releases New Viewer

Fugro has released a new version of its free FugroViewer (www.fugroviewer.com). Upgrades include enhanced memory management; additional LiDAR format support, including LAS version 2; and additional image format support, including ERDAS Imagine.

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