News Archives, Remote Sensing


Sep 2005 | Comments Off on NEWSBRIEFS – REMOTE SENSING

Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath

Hurricane Katrina severely pounded the Gulf Coast of U.S. with great force at daybreak on the 29th of August. Arriving with 145 mile an hour wind speed, the storm left more than a million people in three U.S. states without power and submerged highways. Hurricane Katrina, formed in the Bahamas in mid-August and struck South Florida on 25 August, killing nine people and leaving a million more without electricity. European Space Agency’s multisensor Envisat satellite has gathered a unique view of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico. Envisat simultaneously acquired these images at 1550 UTC (1150 US Eastern Daylight Saving Time) on 28 August, with its Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) and Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR). While an optical image shows characteristic spiralling cloud patterns, a simultaneous radar observation pierces through the clouds to show how Katrina’s 250- kilometre-an-hour winds scour the sea surface.

USGS committee drafts guidelines on satellite imagery

Recently a U.S. Geological Survey committee posted online new guidelines that note standard procedures for disseminating imagery, including images that are used in software products like Google’s online maps and Google Earth. The guidelines, issued in response to security concerns, cover publicly available geospatial data on natural or man-made features of the earth. Data is provided to USGS via various sources, such as privately licensed satellite companies and the Defense and State departments. The guidelines target organizations where the imagery originates and aim to strike a balance between safeguarding information and sharing it with the public. While the guidelines outline how organizations can better evaluate whether content is “sensitive” or poses a security risk, they “do not grant any new authority.”

Russia launches Monitor-E to assess emergency situations

Russia launched a satellite designed to probe the surface of Earth. The Monitor-E satellite lifted off on a Rokot carrier rocket from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia. The 750-kilogram satellite was put into a Sun-synchronous orbit 540 km above Earth one and a half hours later. The Monitor-E will be used to assess the aftermath of emergency situations, map surface areas, survey agriculture and forestry conditions.

Pakistan to launch remote sensing satellite system

Pakistan plans to launch a selfcontrolled Remote Sensing Satellite System (RSSS) at a cost of Rs19.3 billion to ensure strategic and unconditional supply of satellite remote sensing data for any part of the globe over the year. According to recent reports the project will be executed by the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) over a period of six years.

Envisat monitoring China floods as part of Dragon Programme

China’s rainy season has led to serious flooding in the northeast and south of the country. A joint Chinese- European team is gathering Envisat radar imagery of the developing situation to give the authorities a way to swiftly assess affected areas and plan their responses. This season’s fl ooding is being monitored in near real-time by ESA’s Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) sensor, which can acquire imagery in both day and night and in all weathers. This activity is taking place as part of ESA’s Dragon Programme of cooperation with the National Remote Sensing Centre of China (NRSCC) within the Ministry of Science and Technology of the PRC.

Satellite images used to manage floods in Andhra Pradesh

Satellite images have been used for the first time in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh by the Krishna district administration to assess damage caused by fl oods. With the help of the National Remote Sensing Agency and using the database available at the Urban Development Authority, the offi cials were able to locate each and every house that was affected. GIS too came in handy for them in pinpointing the location of the houses. The administration undertook one of the longest fl ood relief operations in 10 years evacuating 21,628 families and organising 37 relief camps.

PSLV in India to launch foreign satellites

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will set off three foreign satellites, including one for Indonesia and the other for Singapore, in the coming two years. Three contracts have been signed for launch of foreign satellites using PSLV. Under an agreement between Antrix Corporation Limited and Indonesian agency, LAPAN, PSLV would be used to launch a microsatellite during 2005-06. There is also an agreement with Cosmos International, Germany for launching 350-kg Agile satellite for Italy during 2006-07, and with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore for launching a microsatellite during 2006-07.

Rubber Board of India to identify new areas for production

The Rubber Board in India is all set to promote rubber cultivation in nearly 4.5 lakh hectares of land in the non-traditional areas, prominently the North-Eastern Indian states. The Rubber Board has already identifi ed the additional land by making use of the remote sensing data. Most of the areas fall in North Eastern states Tripura and Assam.

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