Hello and welcome to GeoBytes, your daily round-up of news from geospatial industry.
I am your host BhanuRekha. For the next fifteen minutes, I will bring you the news of the top developments across projects, products, policies and business.
But first, Let’s have a look at the top story on this show.
NASA has come out with global climate change projections till the year 2100, which are highly disturbing. NASA has released a detailed view of future temperature and precipitation patterns around the world at a 15.5 mile resolution.
The dataset is simulated by 21 climate models. It predicts that carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere will more than double in the next 75 years. Currently resting at 400 parts per million, CO2 levels will go up to 935 parts per million by 2100.
If that happens, much of Africa, India and South America will have to endure punishing levels of heat on a daily basis.
Scientists had earlier warned that the glaciers in the Everest region of the Himalayas could also completely vanish by 2100.
NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan believes that the new global dataset would help people across the world in planning how to cope with a warming planet.
The dataset will help governments and organisations make contingency plans for heat waves, droughts, floods and losses in agriculture productivity.
Interestingly, a draft of Pope Francis’ letter to the world’s Catholics was leaked by an Italian newspaper earlier this week. And it reports that the Pope believes that climate change has “put us on the path to not only destroy creation but humanity as well.”
In the United States, Vice President Joe Biden expressed concern about climate change on Tuesday. He said that even the climate deniers are preparing for greater impacts from more extreme weather. He said that the changing climate will drastically effect local security and local economies.
Another important development coming from NASA concerns the personal and commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems, or drones.
NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are developing a UAS traffic management (UTM) system for low-altitude airspace.
This safety system is required to make sure that drones don’t collide into buildings, airplanes or one another.
It should be noted that technology giants like Amazon and Google have plans to launch their own UAS applications. The UTM needs to be in place before these and any other commercial efforts take flight.
NASA is working with several partners to build the traffic management system for drones. Currently, more than 100 organisations are lending their expertise to the project.
Moving forward, measurement technologies provider Leica Geosystems is partnering with 3D design developer Autodesk.
The alliance aims to simplify reality capture and BIM-to-field layout solutions.
This should come as good news for professionals involved in laser scanning and building construction layout markets.
Juergen Dold, president of Hexagon Geosystems, of which Lecia is a part, is excited that this development has come at a time when the construction industry is growing and adopting 3D solutions.
He believes that customers and resellers will benefit from having access to a broad range of options for reality-capture and field layout.
Amar Hanspal, Senior Vice President of Autodesk IPG Product Group, affirms that it is an exciting time to be in the AEC market.
Reports are coming in for another alliance in the geospatial industry.
Two GIS specialists, FireWhat and Geo-Spatial Solutions, have merged to form the new FireWhat. The company will focus on rapid emergency response, water infrastructure and irrigation mapping solutions.
The new entity will operate from three offices in the Western United States — Redding and Dunsmuir in California and Bend in Oregon.
AOL-owned MapQuest has announced that it is entering into a partnership with Mapbox. MapQuest will invest in Mapbox’s entire suite of mapping applications and services.
As a part of the commercial agreement, MapQuest will be able to tailor Mapbox’s highly-detailed maps according to its clients’ requirement.
MapQuest also plans to roll out several updates for its apps and developer tools. It aims to make its website faster and more responsive. It also wants to give its urban users new tablet and mobile experiences.
Also on the business front, SmarterBetterCities has closed a $1 million seed funding round. The round was led by smart investor Climate-KIC and Zürcher Kantonal Bank.
SmarterBetterCities plans to use this investment to grow in the US market and to expand its customer base. The 3D Web startup’s current clients include the State of Oregon, Harvard University and City of Zurich.
The software company aims to bring affordable Smart 3D City solutions to urban planning. It also wants to cater to new market segments: real estate and facility planning. SmarterBetterCities develops its products on Esri’s ArcGIS technology.
A look at regional news
EOMAP Asia Pacific has launched a detailed dataset for the islands in South China Sea. The dataset was generated by satellite-derived bathymetry techniques.
The islands of the South China Sea are surrounded by water deeper than 1000m. They are thought to hold extensive oil and gas reserves. But, data about the underwater topography are outdated or are not accessible.
So, instead of relying on acoustic or airborne methods, EOMAP has used satellite image technologies to map over 250 islands, atolls, cays, shoals and reefs. It has also proved to be a faster and cost-effective solution.
AS Mittal, CEO of EOMAP Asia Pacific, has assured that the organisation will continue to monitor the areas for changes and provide detailed reports to anyone who subscribes to their monitoring services.
The data are available in a 15m bathymetric grid. You can also request for data in a 2m grid. Water depth up to the 25m contour line has been mapped.
From South Asia, reports are coming in that the government of India plans to monitor the country’s heritage sites with help from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Data from Earth observation satellites Cartosat-1, Cartosat-2 and Resourcesat LISS IV will be used for creating a database on heritage sites and monuments.
Three management zones, namely protected, prohibited and regulated, will be delineated around the sites, using GIS tools.
All landuse features within each zone will be precisely mapped. Other collateral data, like total station survey data and cadastral maps will be geo-referenced and integrated with the satellite data.
Apart from this, other data, like ground photographs, street view of the buildings and lanes, open spaces, etc., will also be a part of the database.
The government is also developing smartphone-based applications to allow citizens to geo-tag and upload data.
In another development, the Dutch government is joining forces with the Kadaster to defend land rights in developing countries.
Development minister Lilianne Ploumen says that in many countries, no one’s sure what belongs to whom. This causes conflicts and funding problems. Ploumen believes that registering land rights properly will foster food security and economic growth for everyone.
The government will train local surveyors and land registry staff in modern methods of certification. In Rwanda, the Dutch Land Registry has already helped map out 10 million plots and issued eight million certificates of ownership. This reduced the number of disputes over land ownership from 100,000 to only 5,000.
Tanzania’s land registry has also shown interest in Dutch expertise. And currently, a team of Dutch experts is in Mozambique to help issue five million land use certificates as quickly as possible.
And now, an update on Sentinel-2A, Europe´s next Copernicus satellite in Space.
Sentinel-2A is being readied by Airbus Defence and Space engineers for a lift-off on June 23 from Kourou, French Guiana. The Copernicus Sentinels supply remote sensing data for environmental monitoring.
Sentinel-2A will deliver optical images from the visible to short-wave infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum. From an altitude of 786 kilometres, the 1.1 ton satellite will deliver images in 13 spectral bands with a resolution of 10, 20 or 60 metres, and a very large swath width of 290 km.
The optical design of the Multi Spectral Instrument has been optimised to achieve state-of-the-art imaging quality. The data gathered will be used for monitoring land use and changes, soil sealing, land management, agriculture, forestry and natural [email protected]
That’s all we have for you GeoBytes today…