JPL demonstrates airborne water quality sensor
In a study published in the current issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology, researchers combined water sample measurements collected by USGS scientists aboard a high-speed boat in northeastern San Francisco Bay with data collected by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientists at the same time onboard a specially instrumented Twin Otter aircraft flying overhead. The plane carried the JPL-developed Portable Remote Imaging Spectrometer (PRISM), which measures the amount and wavelength of visible light and nearinfrared radiation refl ected toward the instrument from the water below. The PRISM data allow researchers to detect the unique spectral signatures of several water constituents typically used as indicators of water quality. When the two data sets were later analyzed and compared in laboratories, the PRISM data closely matched the water quality information collected from the boat.
The benefit of PRISM is that it can greatly expand the spatial coverage of traditional boat- and fi xed-monitoring, station-based approaches used for water quality monitoring. For example, a single PRISM airborne flight can assess the water quality of much of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary; similar coverage using a boat would take weeks. New imaging spectrometers like PRISM can enable accurate detection of water quality indicators that were previously difficult to measure using existing satellite sensors. Scientists hope to apply the PRISM technology to sensors on future Earth-orbiting satellites that can provide continuous global monitoring. http://prism.jpl.nasa.gov/
ISRO to double missions to 12 per year
“We have already launched 55 missions during past fi ve years and we are looking at doubling it during the next fi ve years to 12 launches per annum. The new launches will be under both categories, including satellites and
launch vehicles,” Indian Space Research Organisation secretary (science) YVN Krishna Murthy said recently.
“We’ve already launched two missions this year and two more will be launched next month,” he added.
The ISRO Satellite Centre has built over 70 satellites in the last 41 years and there is a huge demand for small launchers with carrying capacity of 500 kg. Talking about the ISRO’s annual budget, he said it is likely to be around $1.1 billion this year, up from $0.9 billion last fi scal. www.thestatesman.com
Two new Remote Sensing Centers will be built in Russia’s Arctic to ensure adequate emergency monitoring in the region, the Russian Emergencies Ministry (EMERCOM) said. It also planned to create a net of 10 searchand- rescue centers in the Arctic. Four of them have already been launched. http://sputniknews.com
DigitalGlobe, Facebook team-up for mapping world’s population
From the stage of Mobile World Congress, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced to develop the Telecom Infra Project under new technologies and approaches for connecting the 4.2 billion people that still remain offline. To enable this, the Facebook Connectivity Lab is leveraging DigitalGlobe’s Geospatial Big Data initiative to determine population densities across vast rural areas in 20 developing nations.
Existing maps of populations in many parts of the world are too coarse, outdated, and inaccurate. To solve this problem, information from highresolution satellites proves invaluable; it provides a consistent global information dataset for mapping population locations. This is where DigitalGlobe’s content and platform become a critical part in achieving the vision. It will be completing an accurate mosaic of the globe at 50 cm resolution in the coming months and will be replenishing this basemap of the world on a frequent basis. http:// economictimes.indiatimes.com
Teledyne Optech has announced two critical performance upgrades of its Optech Lynx SG and Lynx SG-S mobile survey systems. The upgrade has increased the speed of both the device by 20%, and is pushing the Lynx SG platform to 600 lines per second.
In addition, all models in the Lynx mobile product line now output a realtime LAS file designed for in-fi eld coverage checks and rapid access to the survey data. With support for up to 10 cameras, survey-grade LiDAR precision, continued industry-leading scanner performance, and a productivityfocused Optech LMS processing solution that provides for real-time calibration, boresight, trajectory optimization and control validation, the Lynx mobile survey system is the pre-eminent solution for transportation and civil engineering applications where accuracy matters.
In hills where Zulu royalty once hunted wildlife, South African conservationists now scan live video from a thermalimaging camera attached to a drone, looking for heat signatures of poachers stalking through the bush to kill rhinos.
The unarmed drone, which resembles a model airplane, flies several miles from a van where an operator toggles a customized video-gaming control, zooming and swiveling the craft’s camera. The nocturnal surveillance in HluhluweiMfolozi Game Reserve comes amid international discussion about whether technology, particularly drones, will make a real difference in anti-poaching efforts that often rely on the “boots on the ground” of rangers on patrol. Several years ago, drones were touted by some as a silver bullet for conservation, but some experiments have foundered. Even so, drone technology is developing quickly and the aircraft have been used around the world.
The National Food Security Division in the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries in collaboration with the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) and University of Maryland (USA) is implementing a project aiming at transforming agricultural sector through a technological breakthrough based on crop monitoring.
The project, Spurring Transformation for Agriculture through Remote Sensing (STARS) adapts and develops advanced remote sensing techniques and applications for monitoring crop conditions in collaboration with the enduser community. www.ippmedia.com
ISRO is working with Minstry of Urban Development for enabling preparation of large scale GIS database using satellite data for 500 towns under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). These 500 towns include 100 towns under Smart city Programme announced by the Government of India. www.newkerala.com
NASA creates 3D map for Earth forests
US space agency, NASA is working on a new instrument for the International Space Station that will create a 3-D map of the Earth’s forests, in order to measure the role of trees in scrubbing carbon from the atmosphere. The new instrument will use LiDAR, a laser system for measuring distance between the space-based instrument and the surface. Called the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) LiDAR, the system will be put together at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Although it’s well-known trees store carbon, NASA says it’s not clear how much the forests contain. So we don’t really know what the effects of deforestation are on climate change or how effectively we could slow global warming by planting more trees. The project is a joint venture of the University of Maryland and NASA.
The third ESA-developed satellite carrying four Earth-observing instruments was launched, ready to provide a ‘bigger picture’ for Europe’s Copernicus environment programme.
The 1150 kg Sentinel-3A satellite was carried into orbit on a Rockot launcher from Plesetsk, Russia, at 17:57 GMT (18:57 CET; 20:57 local time) on 16 February.
The mission is the third of six families of dedicated missions that make up the core of Europe’s Copernicus environmental monitoring network. Copernicus relies on the Sentinels and contributing missions to provide data for monitoring the environment and supporting civil security activities. Sentinel-3 carries a series of cuttingedge sensors to do just that. www.esa.int
Airbus inks deal for satellite imagery with ST electronics
Airbus Defence and Space has signed a contract with Singapore Technologies as a channel partner for its satellite data and value-added products in Singapore. With privileged access to a unique satellite fleet comprising the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X radar satellites and the high and very-high optical satellite constellation SPOT and Pléiades, Airbus can offer daily coverage worldwide as well as weather-independent acquisitions, at a variety of resolutions.
Delhi Police join hands with ISRO to curb crime
“The Crime Mapping, Analytics and Predictive System (CMAPS) is being operationalised by Delhi Police in partnership with ISRO for effective use of space technology- based tools for ensuring internal security,” a senior police official said.
He said the system would help in crime control and law and order and security management through analysis of relevant data and patterns, leading to the optimisation of available resources. The system will be complete with police officials being equipped with Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) devices connected to a central processor, which stores records of more than two hundred thousands of criminals.
The system will enable real time access to vital information at the crime scene itself so the officials do not have to go back to police stations for filing reports, the senior official said, adding the system will be capable of converting every distress call into a digital message with the location of the caller being flashed through GPS.