Map shows countries with anti-LGBT laws

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Data publishing platform Silk has recently published a map of countries that outlaws consensual, same-sex relationships of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

The map highlights about 76 countries who criminalize consensual, same-sex relations with provisions of punishments that include prison sentences, flogging, and even death penalties. The map filters countries on basis of the type of law they have on criminalisation of same-sex relations and the type of sentences for the type of “crime.”

The map identifies seven countries, where persons in same-sex relations are sentenced with death penalties. Countries like Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, persons in same-sex relations are punishable by death, with additional sentences like 100 lashes, 1-3 years in prison, or stoning by death.

According to the map, Nigeria falls into a “mixed sentences” category because it has various types of laws, under both criminal and Sharia law, which criminalize consensual same-sex conduct. It also criminalizes discussion of LGBT rights.

Many of these laws have been introduced recently in Russia, Nigeria, and Gambia, where they have introduced laws that restrict people’s ability to discuss LGBT rights or to organize a gathering of LGBT people, denying them basic freedom of expression and association and stripping them of their capacity to advocate for change.

Such laws are used to legitimize violence and discrimination against LGBT peoples. They are a threat not only to LGBT people, but to fundamental human rights to which all people are entitled.

This map only includes information regarding criminal laws that regulate consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex. Here is an interactive map of countries where same-sex relations are an outlaw.

Radar steers motorcyclists out of danger

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RADAR technology initially developed for use in driverless cars has been adapted for motorcycles.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communications developer Cohda Wireless from South Australia has partnered with Bosch, Ducati and Autotalks on a “digital protective shield” that warns riders of nearby traffic before they see oncoming cars.

Bosch is commercializing the technology in Ducati production bikes but the radar could also be retrofitted to any car or motorcycle.

According to Bosch, motorcyclists are about 18 times more likely to be killed in a collision than car drivers. However, it claims the new radar could prevent nearly one-third of all motorcycle accidents.

Production of the technology is being driven by a proposed mandate from the United States Department of Transportation that would require all new vehicles to have vehicle-to-vehicle radars installed.

Cohda Wireless Managing Director Paul Gray said the radar was the next step in safety from seatbelts and airbags.

“Technologists have gone as far as they can in terms of minimizing harm during an accident and now it is about avoiding the accidents before they even happen,” he said.

“If a motorcyclist is riding down the street, it will be alerted when a car turning onto the same road creates an opportunity for an accident. This can also happen when the car moving onto the road is not visible to the rider.

“The radar will also alert drivers who are changing lanes if someone is in their blind spot, which is quite an issue for motorcyclists.”

Gray said the technology would eventually be in every autonomous car as well.

Cohda commands about 60% of the vehicle-to-vehicle communication market.

The system uses the public WLAN standard (ITS G5) as the basis for the exchange of data between motorcycles and cars.

Radar to avoid accidentsInformation such as vehicle types, speed, position and direction of travel will be transmitted at a rate of up to 10 times per second to ensure a high level of accuracy.

To allow riders and drivers who are further away to reliably receive the necessary information, the technology makes use of “multi-hopping”, which forwards the information automatically from vehicle to vehicle.

It can be transmitted to any car or motorcycle within a several hundred meter radius.

The new system is combined with a 3D map, which provides highly accurate positioning and instantly detects vehicle speeds. It can also send notifications through a rider’s helmet using stereo sound.

Bosch board member Dirk Hoheisel said the added ability of letting vehicles communicate better between themselves took road safety to the next level.

“We let motorcycles and cars talk to each other, creating a digital protective shield for riders,” he said.

Last year, South Australia became the first state in the country to introduce laws allowing for trials of driverless cars on open public roads.

Cohda Wireless’ technology has been trialed on the closed Southern Expressway, on the outskirts of the South Australian capital Adelaide, but the next phase of testing will see it trialed in the CBD and on other urban roads in the coming months.

 This is a guest blog and the work is licensed under  Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

What is GNSS and how does it work?

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Global Network Satellite System provides invaluable information. Without this, we will lost.  But, we understand very little about how it works. Let’s dive in the world of GNSS and know how the system works. Meanwhile, Have a look at this too.

In pics: ISRO’s achievements in the last three years

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Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has a track record of making any government proud with its work and world class achievements. And it’s no different for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who takes pride in being known as a space buff. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when under his active encouragement ISRO is seen playing its twin roles so successfully —  emerge as a global power in the international space arena and also be the backbone of as many as 150 national building projects at home.
 
The National Democratic Alliance[ NDA] government led by Modi just completed three years in office in India. As part of its celebrations, the government has gone all out to tell people about its achievements through a number of ways, including rallies, advertisements and press conferences. A series of press briefings were held in national capital delhi to highlight the achievements of the Modi government in the last three years. 
 
  • ISRO and Department of Science successfully accomplished 36 missions in the last three years. 
  • This includes 17 launch vehicle missions, 16 satellites mission and 3 technology demonstration mission.

 

  • South Asia satellite mission with KU Band with high power transponders has been launched.

 

  • Navigation with Indian constellation ‘NAVIC’ has been successfully established for India.

 

  • Re-usable rocket, scramjet technology demonstration was successfully taken.

 

  • ISRO launched a record 104 satellites in one go using PSLV.
  • In the last three years, 145 satellites have been launched by PSLV for 13 countries. 

 

  • RESOURCESAT-2A, with three-tier imaging system, for natural resource monitoring was launched.

 

  • SCATSAT, for advanced cyclone tracking and ocean studies, was also launched successfully.

 

  • Developed an indigenous capability of launching 2-ton satellites with next generation GSLV MK-III. It will reduce foreign dependency for launch. It will be launched in the first week of June.

 

  • INSAT-3DR, launched in September, provides frequent weather updates.
  • With INSAT 3D AND INSAT 3DR in orbit, it is possible to get weather updates every 15 minutes. 

 

  • Mars orbiter mission has completed two and half years in orbit and continues to perform normally.

 

  • Applications of space technology is being used for developmental, infrastructural and disaster management.
  • More than 10 million assets have been tagged under Geo-MNREGA.

 

  • Monitoring of drought, floods, and cyclones are also being done.

 

  • Monitoring and evaluation of integrated watershed management programme and assessment of solar, wind and wave energy.

 

Delhi Metro puts real-time earthquake warning system in place

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earthquake warning system
The Earthquake Warning System deployed in the Delhi Metro had alert signals on time. The above-given graph shows the alert data given by the EqWS to DMRC.

With a sudden shake of a table or windowpane, and off we run in fear of an earthquake. And what if we are in a Metro rail? Have you ever thought how safe are we in the high-speed Metros if an earthquake hits us, especially in a high-risk city like Delhi?

The good news is we are safe, especially in Delhi Metro. The DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) has an earthquake warning system in place called the EqWS (Earthquake Warning System), installed since June 2015. The system senses and records the event and generates SMS to the concerned action points in real time.

In fact, the system on April 10, 2016, had helped stop the Metro services after the tremors had hit the Indian capital and some parts of Northern India. The EqWS had alerted DMRC on time. The alerts were sent to systems installed in five metro stations by 16:01 pm. Developed by Chandigarh-based Council of Scientific and Industrial ResearchCentral Scientific Instruments Organization (CSIR-CSIO), the Earthquake Warning System recorded the event and generated an SMS to the concerned action points.

The system consisted of a network of five seismic sensing nodes at different Delhi metro stations: Mundka, Botanical Garden, Huda City Centre, Metro Bhawan and Faridabad.

“The information has been integrated with the system and was also passed on to designated officers. Within three seconds, orders can be given to stop the Metro,” said R K Sinha, Director of CSIO.

“The system can also be used at nuclear reactor sites and the activity could be stopped in case of an earthquake,” he added.

Sinha, however, refused to call it an earthquake early warning system as it works only after the tremor, following which it senses the waves.

“The sensor also has a highly sensitive pendulum. So anytime there is a vibration inside the earth, it starts oscillating. They send signals about any seismic activity and communicate it to the central control located at Operation Control Centre (DMRC-OCC) regarding potential earthquake incidence. The central control takes a final decision based on the response of all the individual nodes and generates an audio-visual alarm and sends the event details via email and SMS to the registered users,” Sinha added.

He said, in countries like Japan the Metro services stop automatically when it receives such signals.

In this context, the present NDA government views that the EqWS should be further upgraded. “There is a need to upscale the Earthquake Warning System deployed in the Delhi Metro,” said Dr. Girish Sahni, Director General CSIR and Secretary DSIR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research) at a PIB press conference celebrating the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s completion of three years in power.

While the conference delved into various scientific achievements in last three years, one of the important topics was how to make the earthquake warning system more efficient and advance real-time monitoring of earthquake.

The main purpose is to inform the concerned authorities within three minutes of the seismological activities.

The National Seismological Network will be upgraded to 116 observatories by end of 2017. Another important initiative is microzonation of the cities. So far cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Kolkata have been microzonized completely. The government has identified 30 more cities which need to be microzonized.

Along with this, many experiments are been done to observe and measure seismological activities proficiently, like a major ongoing experiment since 2016 is being done at Koyna, Maharashtra. Here scientists are going to observe the activities from a 3-km borehole for direct geophysical measurement.

Indian rocket once banned by US will launch NASA-ISRO satellite

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Time is a great leveler. In an interesting twist of events, the very rocket from Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) that was placed under embargo by the US government in 1992 will be used for the NASA-ISRO joint mission that entails launching an advanced satellite into orbit in 2021.

Last year the two space agencies announced that they have joined hands to develop a unique satellite to observe and take measurements of earth’s complex processes, including ecosystem disturbances, cracks in the polar ice-sheets and other natural hazards. At $1.5 billion, the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (also known as NISAR) is the world’s most expensive earth imaging satellite. The 2,200-kg satellite will be launched using ISRO’s GSLV.

What is GSLV?

GSLV-F09 goes up with the South Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) on May 5, 2017
GSLV-F09 goes up with South Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) on May 5, 2017

GSLV, or Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, is an expendable launch system operated by ISRO and was developed to enable India to launch its heavier satellites without dependence on foreign rockets. GSLV has been used in 11 launches so far, since its first launch in 2001 through to its most recent launch on May 5, 2017 of the GSAT 9.

Now ISRO has readied GSLV Mk III, which is capable of launching up to 4,000-kg satellites into space. The three-stage GSLV Mk-III adopts the flight-proven solid and liquid stages of the PSLV and a cryogenic upper stage.

What was the controversy over GSLV?

It is this cryogenic technology that led US to impose sanctions on India. A Russian company Glavcosmos was to provide the technology as per an agreement signed in 1991, but backed out of the deal after US imposed sanctions in 1992 on fears that India was making war missiles – a hollow charge since till date it isn’t practical to use cryogenic engines to power missiles.

At that time, the US government wanted the deal to be called off because it felt it violated some terms of the Missile Technology Control Regime, a multilateral export control regime that US and Russia both are signatories to.

India’s Rise as a Space Power by former ISRO chairman Prof U.R. Rao
India’s Rise as a Space Power by former ISRO chairman Prof U.R. Rao

In his book India’s Rise as a Space Power, Prof U.R. Rao, former ISRO chairman, speculates that the embargo was result of the commercial threat ISRO was starting to pose to NASA. “While the US did not object to the agreement with Glavkosmos at the time of signing, the rapid progress made by ISRO in launch vehicle technology was probably the primary cause which triggered [the sanctions],” Prof. Rao writes in his book.

He estimates that ISRO’s success with the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) in 1987 and commencement of the PSLV program in the next couple of years, brought down Indian launch costs to at least 50% lesser than prevalent rates in the West. This is possibly what didn’t go down well with US.

How ISRO worked around it?

Undaunted, ISRO started the Cryogenic Upper Stage Project in April 1994 on its own. Russia finally agreed to sell 7 cryogenic stages and 1 ground mock-up stage instead of 5 cryogenic stages and the technology to build the stages. After the maiden launch failure in 2001, GSLV became operational in 2003 when it successfully placed GSAT-2 in 2003.

After several hits and misses and intermittent successes, the consistency in the performance of the vehicle, especially the cryo stage, has now been established with the spectacular success of GSLV-F09 launching the 2,230-kg South |Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) into its planned Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on May 5, 2017.

Buoyed by this success, ISRO now plans to test the GSLV Mk-III in the first week of June. In what ISRO chief Kiran Kumar says will be a “game-changer” mission, GSLV Mark-III will be India’s most powerful launch vehicle built to lift satellites weighing up to 4,000 kg in space, double the weight that the current GSLV-Mark-II can lift, and more than thrice the capacity of ISRO’s old workhorse PSLV. The prestigious Chandrayaan-II Mission is designated to be launched by GSLV next year.

Following the announcement that GSLV will launch the NISAR satellite into a polar orbit by 2020-21, ISRO is said to be receiving further enquiries for various commercial launches on this vehicle.

 

Report card of ISRO : 3 Years of Modi government

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Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has a track record of making any government proud with its work and world class achievements. And it’s no different for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who takes pride in being known as a space buff. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when under his active encouragement ISRO is seen playing its twin roles so successfully —  emerge as a global power in the international space arena and also be the backbone of as many as 150 national building projects at home.
 
The National Democratic Alliance[ NDA] government led by Modi just completed three years in office in India. As part of its celebrations, the government has gone all out to tell people about its achievements through a number of ways, including rallies, advertisements and press conferences. A series of press briefings were held in national capital delhi to highlight the achievements of the Modi government in the last three years. 
 
Addressing one such press conference, YVN Krishnamurthy, Director, National Remote Sensing Center [NRSC], highlighted the achievements of Indian Space Research Organization[ISRO] and Department of Space [DOS].  Here are some key points of his presentation:
  • ISRO and Department of Science successfully accomplished 36 missions in the last three years. 
  • This includes 17 launch vehicle missions, 16 satellites mission and 3 technology demonstration mission.
  • South Asia satellite mission with KU Band with high power transponders has been launched.
  • Navigation with Indian constellation ‘NAVIC’ has been successfully established for India.
  • Re-usable rocket, scramjet technology demonstration was successfully taken.
  • ISRO launched a record 104 satellites in one go using PSLV.
  • In the last three years, 145 satellites have been launched by PSLV for 13 countries. 
  • RESOURCESAT-2A, with three-tier imaging system, for natural resource monitoring was launched.
  • SCATSAT, for advanced cyclone tracking and ocean studies, was also launched successfully.
  • Developed an indigenous capability of launching 2 ton satellites with next generation GSLV MK-III . It will reduce foreign dependency for launch. It will be launched in the first week of June.
  • INSAT-3DR, launched in September, provides frequent weather updates.
  • With INSAT 3D AND INSAT 3DR in orbit, it is possible to get weather updates every 15 minutes. 
  • Mars orbiter mission has completed two and half years in orbit and continues to perform normally.
  • ASTROSAT, the multi-wavelength observatory in space, completed one and half year in orbit and continues to provide good data to enhance understanding of the universe and astronomical phenomena.
  • Applications of space technology is being used for developmental, infrastructural and disaster management.
  • More than 10 million assets have been tagged under Geo-MNREGA.
  • Progress of construction of beneficiary houses under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana Housing scheme is monitored. 
  • Monitoring and evaluation of integrated watershed management programme and assessment of solar, wind and wave energy.
  • Monitoring of village water bodies under blue revolution is also being done.
  • Monitoring of drought, floods, and cyclones are also being done.

 

Otsaw Digital develops world’s first autonomous security system

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Singapore-based Otsaw Digital has developed world’s first ground-aerial outdoor security robot system. Named as O-R3, the system combines an autonomous roving ground vehicle and a surveillance drone. The O-R3 can be launched to track any intruder’s location. Powered by machine learning algorithms, the vehicle avoids obstacles and identifies unattended objects.

As Aadhaar is for people, eLoc is for addresses says MapmyIndia CTO

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In an exclusive interview with Geospatial World, Rohan Verma, Executive Director and CTO, MapmyIndia says that eLoc is like Aadhaar of addresses. Verma also discusses how the company is monetizing eLoc and its connection with ISRO.

Find your toilet: Indian government to expand ‘Toilet Locator’ to 85 cities

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Indian government’s ‘Toilet Locator’ initiative across 85 cities to be in action by October 2, 2017. The app by the Ministry of Urban Development will use Google Maps to track nearby toilets. Agra, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati will have this feature. Quality Council of India will map public toilets under control by the local municipal body. You can search toilet anywhere with options like a toilet for ‘Female’ or ‘Male. Toilets can be ranked based on parameters like hygiene, infrastructure, safety, seat type, and if the toilet is paid or free. It will also help to find out if the toilet is ‘disabled friendly’ and details including its operational timings. The app has ‘Submit Toilet’ option too where anyone can submit a new entry. Toilet Locator’ is already in action in National Capital Region. Till date, total of 5,162 toilets have been mapped across the region.

 

ISRO’s disaster management platform gets more user friendly

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disaster management
ISRO launches user-friendly NDEM Version 3.0. With this, ISRO will be able to further address the crucial issue of disaster management

To reach the masses and educate them on national disaster management, ISRO used the social media platform to announce the launch of its updated National Database for Emergency Management (NDEM). An initiative taken by the Government of India to build a safer and disaster resilient India, the latest version of NDEM includes features that give greater impetus to the purpose.

Though in existence since 2013, several updates have been implemented on the platform to make it more user-friendly. NDEM’s updated version has been designed to boost the portal’s ability to manage emergency situations promptly and more efficiently — almost in real time. The portal is browser independent and compatible with all computer devices and mobile phones with vector rendering services.

The main purpose of NDEM is to address disasters such as flood, cyclone, drought, forest fire, landslide, and earthquake. Earth observation satellites together with meteorological and communication satellites and aerial survey system form the base for providing timely support and services for disaster management.

The latest version was released by Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh during the inaugural ceremony of the second meeting of National Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (NPDRR) at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi on May 15.

What does NDEM Version 3.0 offer?

disaster management
Cloud movement of last 24-hours can be tracked on this portal

The first version, i.e. NDEM Portal Version 1.0, was launched and made operational in June 2013. This version helped various Indian state governments to manage disaster events efficient during 2013-2014.

Then in May 2015, NDEM’s version 2.0 was launched. The more advanced version had features like disaster dashboard, comprehensive multi-scale geospatial database, historical disaster database, customized Decision Support System (DSS) tools, incident reporting, interaction tools, mobile applications and Indian Disaster Resource Network (IDRN)/ health database.

disaster management
The portal shows the areas likely to be affected with heavy rainfall.

Now with the launch of version 3.0, ISRO wants to further address the crucial issue of disaster management. Some of the salient features of the NDEM Version 3.0 are:

  • A dashboard for visualization of disaster alerts, warnings issued by nodal departments, current disaster news and authorized social media content
  • Incident reporting through Web and mobile apps
  • Integrated visualization of multi-scale data services
  • Customised decision support tools such as proximity and optimal path analysis, report generation, etc., for relief management
  • Interactive tools for communication among State Government Departments and MHA through portal
  • Live audio/video module for visualization of on-site response operations
  • Resource management module for allocation and monitoring of relief resources
The main objective of NDEM is:
  • Development of Decision Support System (DSS) tools for addressing disaster/emergency management.
  • Establishing computer infrastructure to facilitate network connectivity, data ingest, validation, GIS databases organization, data dissemination and services hosting
  • Organization of multi-scale geospatial database for entire country at 1:50,000 scale; for 350 Multi-hazard prone districts at 1:10,000 scale; for 5 Mega-cities
disaster management
The portal shows the latest flood warning.

What is NDEM and how does it work?

NDEM portal acts as a geospatial national repository of data and was developed to manage emergency situations in the country. It has a set of decision support tools that assist disaster managers to gather timely information and take swift decisions during any emergency situation.

The National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of ISRO had implemented NDEM for the Government of India’s Ministry of Home Affairs and remains responsible for operationalizing the NDEM projects.

So far about 788 value added disaster specific products covering 15 Indian states were served through ISRO-DMS VPN secured network. In addition to these disaster specific products, multi-scale geospatial data services were provided for 36 states/Union territories on 1:50,000 scale, 210 Multi-Hazard prone districts on 1:10,000 scale (out of 350 districts), High-Resolution Satellite imageries for 210 towns. Mobile applications were developed for relief management and made available to all State and Central departments. Seven regional training programs were organized across the country (Guwahati, Dehradun, Kolkata, Gandhinagar, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhopal, and Delhi) during June – August 2015 for the familiarization of NDEM private and public portals for enabling the better utilization of NDEM products and services by state departments.

 

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