Monday, December 29, 2008

DMCii, UK, launches free satellite imaging initiative

22/12/2008 UK: Satellite imaging provider DMCii has announced that it will provide free DMC constellation satellite imagery for scientists to support global environmental monitoring projects.

Scientists are invited to compete for the opportunity to use the DMC multi-spectral data in their research projects. Applications will be judged on their contribution to international environmental research by an international panel of scientists chaired by Professor Alan O’Neil from the National Centre for Earth Observation. DMC constellation data will be awarded to 5 UK and 5 Spanish science projects. The provision of data will be coordinated by DMCii in the UK and Spanish company Deimos Imaging in Spain which will soon join the DMC with its new satellite DEIMOS-1.

Dave Hodgson, Managing Director DMCii commented, “We feel that this is a unique and valuable contribution to the science community, and look forward to supporting some deserving scientific research that will contribute to our knowledge of the Earth and our impact on its resources.”

Satellite imaging is a powerful tool for monitoring land use. It offers a valuable “eye in space” for monitoring and recording environmental change on a global basis. DMCii has previously provided free data to the science community, from which scientists have produced excellent results which include monitoring the burning of peatlands in Indonesia.

The DMC constellation of 5 satellites work together to image large areas of the Earth. Because several satellites and their respective owners (Algeria, China, Nigeria, Turkey, UK) cooperate together, the constellation can image a given geographical location frequently to identify changes or make the most of cloud-free periods. This unique combination makes the constellation highly effective for monitoring land use.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Haryana, India to use remote sensing for monitoring drought

Chandigarh, India: Haryana government is planning to use remote sensing satellites for monitoring drought situation in the state, an official spokesman said here.

He said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had been signed between Hisar based Haryana Space Application Centre (HARSAC), an autonomous body of Science and Technology, Haryana and National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) Hyderabad to monitor the drought situation at block level.

Advance Wide Image Field Sensor data from resource satellite of India would be used for the purpose, he added. After analysing and interpreting the satellite data acquired at frequent intervals, a monthly bulletin, indicating the situation in each block, would be prepared.

The bulletin would be circulated to all departments so that required contingency measures to save the crops in the susceptible blocks could be taken, he said. He said the project, a milestone in drought management, would be taken up jointly by HARSAC and NRSC for three years after which the technology would be transferred to HARSAC. 

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Monday, December 15, 2008

CRRI’s 'Hawk Eye' on Indian roads

At first sight, one can mistake this vehicle to be an ultra tech robotic remote-controlled vehicle, but it is the country's first 'Hawk Eye' that is surveying almost 50,000 kilometres of country's highways and roads to gauge their quality and see if they are fit for freight movement and travel. The database will be used to create GIS maps of highways in the country. The project is being undertaken by Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) and GIS survey and global positioning system (GPS) will help better navigation across the country. 

Mounted on a jeep, the Hawk Eye's instrumentation system includes a laser profiler along with pavement view cameras to measure road surface, collect and process digital images of pavements and other roadside elements. The vehicle has been used in countries like China, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. Hawk Eye requires high-speed paved roads for operation and is sensitive to rough weather conditions like dust storms and heavy rains. It can gather data while travelling at a speed of 30 to 100 km per hour. 

An advantage Hawk Eye enjoys over other instruments with CRRI is its ability to look at the surface of the road and measure cracking areas. Any area with a crack of above three centimetres is detected by the vehicle's sensors and a preventive measure is suggested by the computers. This helps improve life of highways, which is normally around 20 years in the case of bitumen roads.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Fishy project to save Indian lake

 Thousands of fish have been released into a picturesque lake in India's northern Nainital in an attempt to restore the areas lost grandeur.

Nainital is a hill resort 2,000 meters above the sea level in Kumaon hills. It's known as the "Switzerland of India" because of its picturesque lakes. 

But Naini lake has become severely polluted in recent years as result of the region's numerous tourists and the urban waste which has been dumped in the water. 

Many fish have died and this new project is attempting to redress the balance.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ethiopia: Addis Gets New Map Containing Details like Minibus Routes

Ethio-German Urban Governance and Decentralization Program together with the Ethiopian Mapping Agency (EMA) launched a newly produced comprehensive Addis Ababa city map that shows minibus routs.

Briefing journalists, producers of the map said the city map provides a detailed overview of the whole city indicating official street names, major landmarks and selected heritage sites. A unique feature of the new map, according to the producers, is the first Addis Ababa mini bus route map that immensely helps tourists and navigates easily around the city.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Sultan Mohammed, Director General of EMA, indicated the map is a five in one product "The map is a five in one product that contains: the line map of Addis Ababa with a scale of 1:20,000, a satellite image of the central part of Addis Ababa with a scale of 1:6,000, a line map of the surroundings of Addis Ababa with a scale of 1:~1.3 million, a minibus route map and some landmark architectural heritage sites in Addis Ababa," explained Sultan.

"From the outset, we had agreed that the map produced in this cooperative arrangement should be of German quality, as German quality is recognized as the best by almost all in the world," Sultan added.

Prof. Meissner and his team from the University of Applied Science Berlin have been responsible for the cartographic work, while the EMA participated in the project in editing and field verification of the map.

Even though primarily intended for tourists, Director General of Ethiopian Mapping Authority, added the map is also a useful tool for the citizens of Addis Ababa to help them navigate through their fast growing and developing city.

"It is also an important instrument for city officials in their development planning and the promotion of good governance." He said the price would be 50 ETB + VAT.

Dr. Claas Knoop, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, on his part said different sources were used to provide up-dated information for inhabitants and guests of Addis Ababa.

To make the City Map most completed, the ambassador said the new map included the final version of the road network provided by Addis Ababa Roads Authority.

"The NGO Addis Woubet and research by Dr. Omnia Aboukorah and GTZ provided information about interesting architectural heritage sites," the ambassador said, adding CIM Expert Michael Maiwald has ensured the correct street names.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

A global view of HIV infection

To mark World AIDS Day on December 1, GfK GeoMarketing provided a map that illustrates the global distribution of HIV cases (data source: WHO/GfK GeoMarketing; map: GfK GeoMarketing).

According to the latest statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), the highest rates of infection occur in southern Africa and the Russian Federation.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Israel plans launch of nano-satellites as low cost alternative to GPS satellites

Israel plans to launch its first nano-satellite next year to demonstrate its feasibility at a fraction of the cost of standard GPS satellites. The Israel Nanosatellite Association intends to launch the first of two nano-satellites in mid-2009 from India. 

The association said the launches, planned for between July and September, would demonstrate the feasibility of the platforms. "This will be a proof-of-concept for new Israeli satellite technologies," INSA director Raz Tamir said.

Tamir, also manager of the new nano-satellite department of the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, said the micro-platforms could replace standard satellites in space. He said the satellites, meant to be designed and assembled within a year, could weigh up to 10 kilograms and cheap to produce. 

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