Feb 2017 | No Comment

Satellite imagery aids in prediction and prevention of food crises

One of NASA’s goals for 2017 includes the purchase of Earth Science data from small and medium satellite agencies. It aims to support the development and use of commercial small satellites and intends to use the data for disaster management, food security, weather forecasting and more.

According to the World Bank, the world is about to lose 25% of its crop yields to climate change. But what if we could predict shortages around the world with enough lead time to manage a life-saving response?

One such initiative is being undertaken by Descartes Labs; the company is intent on helping to solve the looming food security crisis. The startup, which works extensively with image recognition technology, claims to produce food supply forecasts that surpass even government and commercial sources. It captures satellite images and, with the help of deep machine learning, makes accurate predictions of food production and availability that are more granular, frequent and precise than those of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

First-ever global survey of Earth’s surface waters

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) awarded a $3.8M contract to Communications & Power Industries Canada (CPI) to build components for the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission.

SWOT will survey 90 percent of the Earth’s surface water, observe the fine details of the ocean’s surface topography, and measure how lakes, rivers, reservoirs and oceans are changing over time. The scientific data will contribute to improving ocean circulation models, weather and climate predictions, and the management of water as a strategic resource.

The Canadian contribution to this international mission is a set of extended interaction klystrons (EIKs) built by CPI, the company involved in building and flying this sophisticated device. The high-power EIKs will be used to generate microwave pulses to collect precise water measurements. In exchange, Canadian scientists will have early access to SWOT data and scientific expertise.

Satellite-based solar irradiance mapping service launched

Brussels-headquartered consultancy and software service company 3E Data Services has launched a satellite-based solar irradiance mapping service which can be used to assess the likely profitability and performance of planned solar PV projects.

It is a web-based service that uses the Cloud Physical Properties algorithm validated at over 200 meteorological sites in Western Europe. Data comes from Meteosat 9, one of five currently operating weather satellites launched by the intergovernmental European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). The service is also embedded in SynaptiQ, 3E Data Services’ software suite for solar installation performance monitoring and optimisation.

PCI Geomatics marks milestone in cloud-based image processing

PCI Geomatics has announced that it is six years since it began providing clients with cloud-based processing. It has deployed many public and private cloudbased GXL processing systems for other customers, including Vancouver-based Urthecast. GXL is a key component of the processing chain for Iris and Theia, Earth-observing sensors that collect imagery daily from the International Space Station (ISS). Providing timely access to processed imagery by the Urthecast API is a key enabling technology that can help developers to implement new, innovative applications.

Belarus’ Academy of Sciences to start making BKA-2 satellite in 2017

The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (NASB) will start making the second satellite for the remote sensing of the Earth BKA-2 in 2017, according to NASB Chief of Staff Piotr Vityaz. “A new branch of science — space research — emerged in Belarus in the last two years. We have created a system for the remote sensing of the Earth for this kind of research. We also have a satellite of our own. We are now working to create a new remote sensing satellite with the 0.5 meter resolution. Our job this year is to start making it. We have already worked out the engineering specifications and have signed the necessary contracts.” said Piotr Vityaz.

FARO launches FocusM 70 Laser Scanner

FARO has announced a new entry priceperformance standard for its entire FARO Focus laser scanner portfolio. The FARO FocusM 70 solution provides an ideal entry point for all professional users considering laser scanning in the construction BIM/ CIM and public safety forensics markets.

Key features of FARO FocusM 70 include an Ingress Protection (IP) Rating of 54 for use in high particulate and wet weather conditions, HDR imaging, and an acquisition speed of almost 500,000 points per second and extended temperature range.

It is specifically designed for both indoor and outdoor applications that require scanning up to 70 meters and at an accuracy of +/- 3 mm.

Hungary joins ESA’s space technology network

Hungary has joined ESA’s network of finding down-to Earth uses for space technologies. Under ESA’s leadership, European space industry develops top-notch space technologies, many of which offer valuable attributes to terrestrial industries as well, solving production problems or forming the basis of new products or services.

The Agency’s long-running Technology Transfer Programme supports this spinoff process, working with local industry and national technology institutes. The Programme oversees an expert network of technology transfer brokers across 16 European countries – now including Hungary – to find new terrestrial homes for space technologies.

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