Scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center(WHRC) in Massachusetts, USA have developed vegetation height maps for the entire tropics at very fine spatial scales. These first-of itskind high resolution maps can help researchers estimate forest cover, monitor biodiversity and wildlife habitats, and manage and monitor timber.
The WHRC researchers, led by senior scientist Josef Kellndorfer, combined two active remote sensing systems – radar and lidar – to create these maps. These active remote sensors send out pulses of electromagnetic waves – microwaves in the case of radar and light waves in the case of lidar – to map the earth’s surface. Passive remote sensors, on the other hand, depend on the sun to illuminate parts of earth, and then detect the energy reflected or reemitted by the different objects on earth.
Kellndorfer and his team combined more than 17,000 fine-scale radar images obtained by the Japanese ALOS satellite, with height measurements obtained by lidar on NASA’s ICESat/GLAS mission, and developed continuous vegetation height maps for North and South America, Africa, and Asia for the year 2007. WHRC’s pantropic maps are at a spatial resolution of 30 meters and can detect tree heights of up to 15 to 20 meters. This is an improvement over the previously existing vegetation height maps that were at coarser spatial scales, Kellndorfer said. http://news.mongabay.com
Delhi govt to use RS to check illegal construction
Delhi Government will use remote sensing satellite technology to check and map unauthorised constructions and encroachments in the city and that task forces led by sub-divisional magistrates have been formed to stop such activities. According to a senior official, the move came after the government decided to stop unauthorised construction in the city. http://zeenews.india.com
The Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Indian Department of Space will promote cooperation in remote sensing and outer space technology via joint projects in human resources training and in applying remote sensing technology.
The two sides made the joint decision during working sessions between a delegation of the Vietnamese ministry, which made a three-day visit to India recently, and officials from India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Department of Space, and Space Research Organisation.
The two sides reviewed preparations for establishing a centre for satellite tracking and data reception and processing for ASEAN – to be located in Vietnam, as part of the ASEANIndia cooperation framework. http://english.vietnamnet.vn
DigitalGlobe, Inc. has announced its support for the Commercial Remote Sensing Act of 2015, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 12 by Reps. Jim Bridenstine (ROK) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO). The Commercial Remote Sensing Act of 2015 is an important step toward necessary regulatory reform that will encourage growth in the U.S. commercial remote sensing industry, ensuring that the United States remains the world leader in this sector. The bill will provide for the collection of metrics around the U.S. Department of Commerce’s regulatory workload and inform Congress about the Department’s ability to meet statutory deadlines for adjudicating license applications. www.digitalglobe.com
KU awarded new FAA Center of Excellence designation
The University of Kansas in USA is among three universities across the state that are members of the new Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or UAS, which was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. KU, Wichita State University and Kansas State University are members of the new center known as the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence, or ASSURE, which will play a key role in helping the FAA develop rules regulating commercial unmanned aerial systems. ASSURE, led by Mississippi State University, will provide the FAA and industry with research to maximize the potential of commercial unmanned systems with minimal changes to the current system regulating manned aircraft. http://today.ku.edu
The National Applied Research Laboratories has announced that the first optical remote sensing instrument (RSI) completely made in Taiwan that will be part of the payload for the FORMOSAT-5 satellite, marking a milestone in the nation’s space technology development. The satellite is expected to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in the first quarter of 2016 to replace FORMOSAT-2, which has been operating for over 10 years for Earth observation missions since its launch in 2004. www.chinapost.com.tw
Rapid Innovation Fund Award to the Remote Sensing Systems Directorate
The Space and Missile Systems Center Remote Sensing Systems Directorate was recently selected for a Rapid Innovation Fund award of $3 million to support Space Based Infrared System data exploitation innovations.
This award will be used to fund the Architecture for Real-time Overhead Persistent Infrared Wideband (ARROW) project, an initiative which enables the detection and tracking of dimmer and hard-to-detect objects to better protect the warfighter and the homeland. www.spacedaily.com