Mar 2019 | No Comment

Microsatellite contract to Space Flight Laboratory

The Canadian Department of National Defence has awarded a C$15 million contract to Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) for development of multipurpose microsatellites to support Arctic surveillance. Upon successful completion and testing of the prototype, two additional microsatellites will be built to create a small formation.

The UTIAS SFL microsatellites being developed will include multiple sensors on a constellation of microsatellites operating in close formation in low Earth orbit to allow for quick and timely detection and identification of surface or airborne targets. These concurrently-obtained sensor observations are expected to improve the reliability of the detection and identification performance, which is not feasible when individual sensors are located on noncollaborating satellites.

Vietnam aims to master remote sensing satellite manufacturing technology

Vietnam is expected to master the remote sensing satellite manufacturing technology under the national remote sensing development strategy to 2030 with a vision towards 2040, recently approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The country also aims to widely apply remote sensing technologies and use remote sensing products and data in various sectors, especially in natural resources and environmental supervision, search and rescue operations, natural disaster combat, and climate change response. The strategy also sets the target of building stations to collect and handle the database on national remote sensing photos in service of socio-economic development, as well as national defence and security.

To that end, the country will perfect remote sensing-related institutions, policies, laws, and technical standards, while also enhancing state management capacity in this regard. Under the strategy, data management agencies will enhance coordination as well as information, data, and product sharing with related ministries, agencies, localities, organisations, and individuals.

FARO® Introduces BuildIT 2019 Software Platform

FARO® has released the advanced BuildIT 2019 software suite. It represents the logical evolution of the industryproven BuildIT platform, which has povided exceptional value across a variety of industries. It offers three individual products, each specifically designed for quality inspection, manufacturing and assembly or construction applications. Each product includes the most flexible and intuitive user interface in the industry. It is tightly integrated with FARO® hardware and non-FARO hardware products.

Iran promotes using remote sensing satellites in agriculture

According to a recent agreement signed between the Iranian Space Research Center and the Ministry of Agriculture, remote sensing satellites are planned to be used in different sections of the agricultural industry.

The center already provided a map of cultivated area, which provides more than 95 percent of national rice market in five provinces, he added. The space-based business and startups can give consult to farmers in order to modify their cropping pattern and farm management, which leads to improvement of their harvest and increase its quality.

Satellite imagery for monitoring the forest cover

Accelerating its efforts to save forest lands from encroachments, the Government of Telengana, India has decided to utilise satellite imagery for continuously monitoring the forest cover. The State has accordingly roped in the National Remote Sensing Agency for providing high resolution satellite images to enable it to keep a tab on encroachments, if any, in the forest areas.

The State has been depending on the biennial reports of the Forest Survey of India that provide details of change in the vegetation cover State-wise till recently, but two years is too long a period in view of the utmost priority accorded for preservation of forest cover by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. Accordingly, the project has been taken up on experimental basis in Bhadradri- Kothagudem and Bhupalpally districts, known for vast extent of forest lands.

Based on the results of the pilot project, the Government will extend the project to all districts with forest cover subsequently. Though the department initially explored options for deploying high resolution satellite imagery with 1m resolution available, it was decided against these technologies owing to “lot of costs” involved in it.

Ancestral structures in Colorado identified using drone based LiDAR system

Culturally rich Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado, is managed by Bureau of Land Management as an integral cultural landscape containing a wealth of historic and environmental resources. The Monument holds the distinction of having the highest density of archaeological sites in the USA. Most of these sites represent Ancestral Puebloan and other Native American cultures. Local Crow Canyon Archaeology Center and the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument have worked at Sand Canyon, an ancestral Pueblo site in the area, for over 20 years. They required improved ways to better visualize the site to inform ongoing preservation. A recent UAV LiDAR survey provided impressive results to accelerate understanding.

Locally based in Durango, Colorado, USA, Caddis Aerial are seasoned land surveyors who provide professional drone survey services across the Four Corners. The team implemented Routescene’s rigorous survey workflow starting with survey and project planning. Once on location, the team established ground control and undertook a reconnaissance of the site. Deploying the Routescene LidarPod, flown using a DJI M600 Pro, the drone executed its’ flight plan and returned to the take off point after each flight. Three flights were performed to cover the entire site, each flight took 10 minutes, and a total of 24 flight lines were flown to ensure 100% data overlap.

During the survey itself, marshals were stationed to ensure members of the public did not enter the survey site. The LidarPod operators monitored in realtime in-flight the quality of the data being collected using Routescene’s QA Monitor software. More than 3.2 billion points were collected during this survey and it was important the high resolution of the data was maintained during analysis. Using their proprietary software, LidarViewer Pro and their Bare Earth tool, Routescene extracted the bare earth points to create a bare earth terrain model.

Although the Sand Canyon Pueblo was studied, mapped, and excavated between 1984 and 1995 using traditional survey techniques, the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center required much more detailed, high resolution data and could instantly see the value of performing a UAV LiDAR survey on the site.

The US government might charge for satellite data again

Landsat is one of the most important U.S. satellite systems. Since the program’s launch in 1972, Landsat satellites have provided the longestrunning terrestrial satellite record and collected more than 5.6 million images.

For a long time, the U.S. government charged a fee for every Landsat image. But this changed on Oct. 1, 2008, when the U.S. Geological Survey opened the Landsat archive and made it free for everyone to use.

This open data policy has led to a dramatic increase in the use of Landsat data. Studies have used Landsat data to map global forest loss, surface water extent, human settlements and land cover, among other features.

However, the free and open Landsat data policy is now under scrutiny. An April 2018 news report revealed that the Department of the Interior was considering putting a price on Landsat data again. The decision may come sometime this year.

This potential policy change is concerning. For the Landsat program to remain successful, free and open data is the key.

The U.S. is a global leader in the collection and application of Earth observation remote sensing data. Open access to Landsat, as well as other satellite data, has become the norm.

Officials at the Department of the Interior are exploring the possibility of recovering some of Landsat’s operation costs from users. This is understandable. However, if Americans want to continue enjoying its societal benefits, then the data needs to remain free and open The Associated Press

B4UFLY Mobile App Update

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has partnered with Kittyhawk to redevelop B4UFLY, the FAA’s first mobile application, to improve the user experience so that recreational drone operators know where they can and cannot fly.

The current B4UFLY App will continue to be available to the public until the new App is deployed. The data reflected in the current App will continue to be updated regularly, but no new features will be added.

The FAA and Kittyhawk plan to launch the new App in 2019. Kittyhawk is an enterprise drone operations software company that has been an FAA Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) UAS Service Supplier since October 2018.

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