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International workshop on the use of geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing in emergency management and response practices

From 07-10 October 20015 the United Nations Platform for Space-Based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency... read more

Publishing Date: 13/10/2015
Satellite image of India’s Hugli River, one of the many branches of the Ganges (Image: NASA)

NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have joint hands to build an Earth observation satellite called NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Mission). The space artifact will be in charge of measuring changes in the Earth’s surface related to motions of the crust and ice surface, and its launch is scheduled for 2021.

Its mission will comprise snow and glacier studies in the Himalayas, monitoring of... read more

Publishing Date: 31/08/2015
Satellite image of active wildfires across Western U.S., outlined in red (Image: NASA)

NASA’s Earth observation Aqua satellite spotted the wildfires burning throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana states on August 23. One of the most important blazes was reported in the Okanogan Complex, in Washington State. It has burned 287,704 acres (116,000 hectares) and killed three firefighters. More than 1,774 fire personnel from 33 states are currently fighting it or working to support the firefighting effort.

The Aqua satellite was launched in 2002 and is part of the NASA-centered international  (EOS). It is a scientific research artifact in orbit around the Earth that gathers... read more

Publishing Date: 28/08/2015
The image shows water vapor within Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005 (Image: NASA)

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has released a high-resolution video that simulates Hurricane Katrina’s movement across the Atlantic Ocean, then the Gulf of Mexico, and its final collision with the southern part of the United States. It combines observational data with a high-resolution model of Earth, called GEOS-5, and reflects scientists’ better understanding of heavy storms.

Ten years after the Hurricane Katrina devastation, more precise... read more

Publishing Date: 26/08/2015
Hurricanes hitting the U.S. will be easier to predict with the new satellite mission (Image: NASA)

NASA has began to build its new satellite mission focused on predicting hurricanes, called Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), with the collaboration of the University of Michigan. It will comprise eight Earth observation (EO) microsatellites which will be able to measure ocean surface winds associated with tropical cyclones, typhoons and hurricanes throughout their life cycle. Their launch is expected in late 2016 from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The satellite constellation will offer a new image of... read more

Publishing Date: 20/08/2015
Wildfires blazing in North California (Image: NASA)

ESRI has developed two interactive maps for wildfire monitoring in the Western coast of the United States, which can be shared and embedded into the end users' websites: the Wildfire Public Information Map and the 2015 California Wildfire Activity Map.

The first one offers updated data on wildfires (locations, perimeters, fire potential areas, global burn areas, wind conditions, and precipitation) from several agencies, such as the USDA Forest Service, Fire Modeling Institute of the US Geological Survey. Moreover, it provides weather information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and AccuWeather.

The second one is used for tracking fires in California... read more

Publishing Date: 07/08/2015
Comparison between sea level increase in 1997 and 2015 at the Eastern Pacific (Source: NASA)

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have found that the ocean levels in Central and Eastern Pacific have increased between March and July 2015, which bears a resemblance to the conditions of the potent El Niño event of 1997-98. The research was carried out through altimetry measurements captured by the OSTM/Jason-2 satellite.

The scientists display a map where sea surface height is measured. Red colour indicates an increase in height due to higher temperatures compared to the average ones (thermal expansion), while blue shows a decrease in sea level because of temperatures lower than average (... read more

Publishing Date: 06/08/2015
Wildfires can be easier detected thanks to the new satellite-based tool (Image: NASA)

NASA has funded a new satellite-based fire detection tool in operation now at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS).

The new tool uses high-resolution data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite with a cutting-edge computer model to predict how a fire will change direction based on weather and land conditions. It will allow detecting smaller fires with precise detail and will help firefighters developing their tasks.

As explained in NASA’s website, “compared to its predecessors, the enhanced VIIRS fire product enables detection every 12 hours or... read more

Publishing Date: 20/07/2015
The new toolkit Hootenanny is based on the open architecture of OpenStreetMap (Image: OpenStreetMap)

The US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and DigitalGlobe have jointly released Hootenanny, a new open source project to enhance the way crowdsourced mapping influence geospatial big data analytics.

Through GitHub, a web-based Git repository hosting service, Hootenanny provides a scalable processing engine and interactive editing interface to help users rapidly conflate, or reconcile, map features generated from satellite imagery, unmanned aerial vehicles and mobile devices, as NGA explained.

“The commercialization of GEOINT [GEOspatial INTelligence] is leading to exponential growth of publicly available geospatial information.... read more

Publishing Date: 20/07/2015
Tropical Storm Claudette measured by RapidScat (Image: NASA)

The third Atlantic Tropical Storm of the season, Claudette, has been monitored by the RapidScat instrument that flies aboard the International Space Station.

As explained in NASA’s website: “RapidScat gathered surface wind data on the newborn Tropical Storm Claudette on July 13 from 6:31 to 9:36 UTC (2:31 a.m. to 5:36 a.m. EDT). RapidScat data showed that former System 92L had sustained winds near 24 meters per second (m/s) (53.6 mph/ 86.4 kph) in its eastern quadrant, and winds to 18 m/s (40.2 mph/64.8 kph) from the northern to southern quadrants. Winds in the western quadrant were 6 m/s (13.4 mph/21.6 kph) or less.”

The RapidScat instrument allows monitoring the movements of the newborn Claudette as well as the increase on the speed and potential weakening. This helps to predict the... read more

Publishing Date: 15/07/2015
SituMap, created at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, will enhance emergency response (Image: NASA)

The company of recent creation CartoFusion Technologies has developed a mapping application called SituMap that allows first responders to effectively detect an emergency situation.

SituMap is an app created by Dr. Richard Smith, Assistant Professor of Geographic Information Science and Geospatial Surveying Engineering at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. By acting as a tablet-like digital command center, it enables first responders to see real-time information through maps of crisis areas and therefore to plan and respond faster in emergency situations.

In... read more

Publishing Date: 14/07/2015
Satellite image of a wildfire in Topanga, California (Image: NASA)

A new system of wildfire detection based on satellite data has recently been developed by the University of Berkeley in conjunction with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, called Fire Urgency Estimation from Geosynchronous Orbit (FUEGO). It employs a satellite mounted with megapixel infrared cameras that monitors a patch of land in California. Then it sends the data to a geospatial information system on the ground that stores a large database of land use, rainfall, flammability and other factors related to fire... read more

Publishing Date: 08/07/2015
Suomi NPP, Ball and NASA's first environmental satellite (Image: NASA)

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. is teaming up with NASA in the development of the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1), USA’s next environmental spacecraft, which will presumably be launched in 2017.

This polar-orbiting artifact’s mission will consist of collecting science-quality atmospheric, oceanographic, and land surface measurements that are crucial for the country's weather mission. It will work in conjunction with the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership Satellite (Suomi-NPP), another environmental spacecraft launched in 2011 and also built by Ball.

Ball is in charge of designing and manufacturing the JPSS-1 satellite, including the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) instrument - which measures levels of stratospheric ozone that protect the Earth's surface... read more

Publishing Date: 03/07/2015
Power outage during disasters like this one caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 can be crucial for people relying on electric medical equipment (Image: Kevin Deamandel)

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of USA has released a map based on geographic data to support during disasters and emergencies patients whose lives rely on electric medical devices.

The emPOWER map will assist Medicare (national social insurance programme) fee-for-service beneficiaries using electrical equipment, if due to an emergency their area is in danger of a power outage. To reach this purpose, the map records where the beneficiaries live and inputs the data, together with information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (... read more

Publishing Date: 03/07/2015
DHS to deliver relevant geospatial data helping first responders in emergency situations (Image: NASA)

The Department of Homeland Security of USA is using the imagery-hosting web service Terra Pixel to provide easy access to location-based imagery for state and local first responders.

Using the cloud to upload, manage and store geospatial data, DHS is able to deliver relevant imagery from past 24 hours to first responders allowing them to quickly react during disasters.

Through the Terra Pixel platform, built on the basis of the Amazon Web Service’s cloud storage infrastructure, emergency officials can have access to location-based and... read more

Publishing Date: 01/07/2015
FASTSAT, a minisatellite designed by NASA (Image: NASA)

A new report by the international consulting firm Northern Sky Research (NSR) forecasts a boom for nano and microsatellites by 2024, which would lead to a significant diversification of the satellite industry. The report, entitled “Nano and Microsatellite Markets, 2nd Edition”, states that the market for sub-100 kg space artifacts has nearly doubled between 2013 and 2014, and operators have multiplied by three in just five years.

The developers of these nano and microsatellites are mainly universities, start-ups, small government agencies and military forces with low budget and limited time and expertise but who also participate in... read more

Publishing Date: 25/06/2015
With the new GPS-based tools more precise storm prediction is possible for the Gulf of Mexico (Image: NOAA)

The foundation of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) has provided new tools helping to predict storms and enhance ship navigation. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida will be covered with more accurate information thanks to the GPS Continually Operating Reference Systems (CORS) and Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®) tools that are being implemented through local, state and federal partnerships.

The new CORS provide location data at centimeter-level accuracy, which allows improving the accuracy of coastal mapping, surveying and restoration and flood protection as well as developing better coastal models for hurricanes and flooding.

"This system will help local and regional leaders plan for improved... read more

Publishing Date: 17/06/2015
NISAR: the NASA-ISRO SAR Mission (Image: NASA)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are working together on a project to monitor earth changes in high detail.

The project is called NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (Nisar) mission and will be launch into Earth’s orbit in 2020. The mission will study the consequences of climate change by continuously monitoring changes occurring on the Earth’s surface, even ice-sheet movements, said Dr Mylswami Annadurai, director of ISRO's... read more

Publishing Date: 03/06/2015
The MEOSAR satellite-based search and rescue system will improve the current COSPAS-SARSAT system (Image: NOAA)

The world’s first Emergency Readiness and Response Experience Center has been opened in Washington, D.C., USA by high-tech development company McMurdo.

The centre will show the latest innovations and technology developments for search and rescue (SAR), offer real time demonstrations in different scenarios or the possibility to sit at the control of missions. The whole SAR process will be covered in the centre, from distress beacon activation to  emergency... read more

Publishing Date: 19/05/2015
Imaging and geospatial technology as main focus of the IGTF 2015 taking place in Florida, USA (Image: NASA)

The Imaging and Geospatial Technology Forum (IGTF) is took place from 4 to 8 May 2015 in Florida, USA, to present new trends, products and general enhancements related to imaging and geospatial data.  

The conference had already been held in past years but under the name of ASPRS annual conferences. This former denomination referred to the event organizer, the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).

Geospatial information improvements, new trends in remote sensing systems and geological resource applications were some of the main topics to be presented in the IGTF 2015. Within the programme of the conference, the JACIE Workshop highlighted combining a general session and special technical sessions throughout the week and focusing on the synergy of high, medium... read more

Publishing Date: 06/05/2015
Static example of the experimental potential storm surge inundation map (Image: NOAA)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is preparing a new application to help people determine at a street-level where water could rise in a storm surge.

This experimental storm surge simulator will let people get a look at what kind of storm surges can take place in their surroundings and which can be the possible damages. The preliminary model is based on Charleston (South Carolina), USA.

"Surveys of the public show there is still a consistent misunderstanding of what the storm surge is, and how deadly it can be. In part this is due to the challenge scientists encounter in trying to simplify the complex physics of hurricanes for the public, and in part this is... read more

Publishing Date: 13/04/2015
Toxic algal bloom in lake Erie (Imagine: NASA)

NASA has joined forces with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to use ocean color satellite data to develop an early warning indicator for toxic and nuisance algal blooms in freshwater systems and an information distribution system to aid expedient public health advisories.

Algal blooms are a worldwide environmental problem causing human and animal health risks, fish kills, and taste and odor in drinking water. In the United... read more

Publishing Date: 09/04/2015
The NOAA-M satellite

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that its constellation of weather satellites helped save 240 people during 2014 from potentially life-threatening situations throughout the United States and its territorial waters. The statement indicates the importance of satellite-based services as a way to further humanitarian assistance operations when a natural... read more

Publishing Date: 02/02/2015
Crater Highlands of Tanzania reveals the difference between 90 meter and 30 meter SRTM data

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) announced that improved global topographic data are now publicly available for most of Asia (India, China, southern Siberia, Japan, Indonesia), Oceania (Australia, New Zealand), and western Pacific Islands.

Elevation data were collected through the Shuttle Radar... read more

Publishing Date: 27/01/2015

In order to simplify and economize the storage and processing of large-scale raster data, the United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency recently made available the new MapReduce Geo (MrGeo) application.

This geospatial toolkit will allow users to benefit from the agency’s collaboration with DigitalGlobe, by decreasing the time needed to search, download, process and format data for analysis.

The main goal is to innovation in the process of storing and analyzing huge amounts of raster data by sharing the open source application with the community and, thereby, accelerating its potential.

Chris Rasmussen, NGA’s public... read more

Publishing Date: 21/01/2015

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