Tag Archives: remote sensing

Remote-Controlled Planes Used For Wildlife Conservation

Slashdot discusses a story named Remote-Controlled Planes Used For Wildlife Conservation. This of course has a relation with the recent story named Commercial Drones Taking To the Skies in the U.S.

Their summary: "Conservationists have converted a remote-controlled plane into a potent tool for conservation. The drone — an HK Bixler equipped with cameras, sensors and GPS — has been used to map deforestation, count orangutans and elephants, and get a bird's eye view of hard-to-access forest areas. During their 4 days of testing in Sumatra, the drone flew 30 missions without a single crash. A mission, which typically lasts about 25 minutes, can cover 50 hectares. The drone, full equipped, costs less than $2,000."

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Commercial Drones Taking To the Skies in the U.S.

During the weekend, Slashdot discussed the stiry named Commercial Drones Taking To the Skies. And the reason why I'm sharing it is the inevitable impacts of ubiquitous commercial UAVs will have on remote sensing.

Their summary: "A new federal law, signed by the president on Tuesday, compels the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to be used for all sorts of commercial endeavors — from selling real estate and dusting crops, to monitoring oil spills and wildlife, even shooting Hollywood films. Local police and emergency services will also be freer to send up their own drones. But while businesses, and drone manufacturers especially, are celebrating the opening of the skies to these unmanned aerial vehicles, the law raises new worries about how much detail the drones will capture about lives down below — and what will be done with that information. Safety concerns like midair collisions and property damage on the ground are also an issue."

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Landsat 5 Mission in Jeopardy

SS informed us that the USGS reported that the Landsat 5 mission is in jeopardy.

From the USGS: "The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has stopped acquiring images from the 27-year-old Landsat 5 Earth observation satellite due to a rapidly degrading electronic component. Landsat 5 was launched in 1984 and designed to last 3 years. The USGS assumed operation of Landsat 5 in and managed to bring the aging satellite back from the brink of total failure on several occasions following the malfunction of key subsystems. There is now an increasing likelihood that the Landsat 5 mission is nearing its end. [...] For several months, the Landsat flight operations team has been closely tracking the fluctuating performance of an amplifier essential for transmitting land-surface images from the Landsat 5 satellite to ground receiving stations in the U.S. and around the world.  Over the past 10 days, problems with the amplifier have led to drastically reduced image download capabilities, a sign of impending failure. [...] Landsat 8, currently called the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, is now scheduled to be launched in January."

We obviously mentioned Landsat 5 often in the past, including in, and when it suffered technical problems, but each time, was able to resume satellite imagery acquisition. This time, it's probable it's really the end of Landsat 5. Here's the Landsat 5 Wikipedia article.

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Hackers Briefly Controlled Landsat-7 and Terra AM-1

Slashdot runs a discussion named Hackers Briefly Controlled US Government Satellites.

Their summary: "Two U.S. satellites have been tampered with by hackers — possibly Chinese ones — in and, claims a soon-to-be released report by the the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The two satellites, Landsat-7 and Terra AM-1, had been interfered with on four separate occasions, allowing the attackers to be in command of the satellites for two to over twelve minutes each time. Luckily, both of the satellites are used only for observing the Earth's climate and terrain, and the hackers never actually misused their control over them in any way."

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Opticks 4.7.0 Released

Via AGISRS, I learned that last Friday was released Opticks 4.7.0, an open source remote sensing and imagery application that we mentioned a few times in the past. Opticks's IDL, Spectral and Python extensions were also updated. Instead of the what's new, here's a reminder of what Opticks is according to their main page:

  • Free and open source
  • Supports the following file formats: NITF 2.0/2.1, GeoTIFF, ENVI, ASPAM/PAR, CGM, DTED, Generic RAW, ESRI Shapefile, HDF5, AVI, MPEG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP
  • Zoom, pan, rotate spatially large datasets
  • Quickly layer GIS features, annotations, results, and other information over your data to provide context
  • Many image display controls such as colormap, histogram, transparency, etc.
  • Support for datasets larger than four gigabytes
  • Analysts can quickly combine steps using graphical wizards
  • Support for processing data in it's native interleave of BIP, BSQ or BIL
  • Get extensions to drop in new capability.
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Visualizing Disaster: Remote Sensing, Boundaries, and Invisibility

A story has just been posted on Placing Culture about how remote sensing technologies are differentially being used in the visualization and production of natural disasters, comparing specifically the fallout from the Japanese nuclear disaster, Gulf oil spill, and Chernobyl.   In summary, certain natural disasters are visibile and certain ones are invisible to the eye of remote sensing instruments. The variable of time plays a multifaceted role in enabling/obfuscating the visualization and understanding of the spatial extent of these disasters.

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Historical Film-Based U.S. Spy Satelite Data to be Released and Digitised

Smart Planet reports that:

The [U.S.] National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is attempting to determine the most “effective and efficient options” to digitize “large volumes of high resolution photographic imagery”
This imagery is satellite based and was captured on film then released to Earth as little care packages.
From the article: "Satellites with earth-facing cameras have been around for many decades, and were orbiting well before digital photography came of age. Before the digital transmission of photos was an option, spy satellites–like the KH-1/2/3/4 “Corona” or KH-6 “Lanyard” satellites–were returning high quality photos to US intelligence services by physically dropping exposed film back to earth." Read More »

Iran’s New Space Program

Slashdot started discussing a story named Iran's New Space Program. Their summary: "Coinciding with the 32nd anniversary of the Iranian revolution, Iran opened a center to receive satellite images built 'entirely by Iranian engineers.' Iran promised that by the end of their year (March) they would launch two observational satellites: Fajr (Dawn) and Rasad-1 (Observation-1). You might recall two years ago when they launched Omid, which completed about 700 orbits in two weeks. There are reports that new launch rockets will be revealed in February to launch the new satellites — all equipment is claimed to be entirely Iranian made. Iranian media is reporting that one of the satellites 'carries remote measuring equipment that would be used in meteorology and identifying sea borders.' The Iranian Student News Agency says Explorer 4 (Kavoshgar 4) is meant to transport humans and other living organisms into space, and that the sensory on the satellites 'is able to find gas and oil resources, identify coal mines, jungles and agricultural products as well as salty-marsh and contaminated environments.' These rapid fire achievements are not the only bragging Iran has done as of late; they also claim 'new gamma radiation units for medical treatments and a supercomputer billed as among the top 500 most powerful in the world. But, fact or fiction aside, the satellites have old enemies speculating."

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Geo Horizon Event in India, March 18-19

Geo Horizon 11 is the largest student event of its kind in India, Conducted by Society of Geo Informatics Engineers, Institute of Remote Sensing, Anna University, Chennai, India. It provides a platform for Students and Young Researchers to showcase their reserch. We are looking for Sponsors and Exhibitors to this Event.

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Satellites Spy On Black Friday Shoppers

Slashdot ran a story named Satellites Spy On Black Friday Shoppers. Their summary: "Those satellites in space don't just take spy pictures. On this Black Friday, they actually took pictures of you, and your rush to Black Friday shopping deals. The research is being done to see what consumer demand this year means for retail stocks. The trend, so far, has been favorable. The companies involved in this are Remote Sensing Metrics and Digital Globe. Remote Sensing Metrics is a Chicago-based consulting firm that analyzes the satellite imagery. In turn, it purchases those images from Colorado-based company Digital Globe, which operates its own satellites."

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