Remote Sensing

Remote Sensing

Mar 2012 | No Comment


Z/I Imaging announces release of its Z/I Software version 6.4

Z/I Imaging has announced the release of its Z/I Software version 6.4. Z/I Sensor Software includes a suite of products for the DMC and DMC II camera families for raw image data post processing, distributed processing, digital image enhancement, in-field data copy and real time image quality control. Version 6.4 has now a new licensing system embedded based on the Leica Geosystems licensing server. An exciting range of new features such as automatic check of matching point distribution and individual absolute radiometric calibration parameter calculation based on used exposure time and f-stop are included.

Astrium Services takes Satellite-based Monitoring to a new level with Go Monitor

Astrium Services’ GEO-Information team has now taken satellite-based monitoring to a new level. Based on cutting- edge satellite imagery, standard and advanced image analysis, processing and interpretation, the new service Go Monitor provides high-quality change information for any area of interest worldwide on a reliable and cost-effective basis.

No matter how remote or inaccessible a site may be, with daily revisit options and independent of weather conditions, Go Monitor supports users around the globe in their day-to-day operations. Go Monitor helps to effectively monitor activities, to precisely understand the environment in which they operate and to take well-informed decisions.

Astrium’s Swarm satellite fleet ready for launch

The three Astrium built satellites for the Swarm mission have completed a series of environmental tests designed to demonstrate their fitness for space flight. The three satellites will be launched from Russia’s Plesetsk Cosmodrome in July 2012. The Swarm mission is expected to analyse, in unprecedented detail, the geomagnetic field and its evolution over time. The mission will help in improving our understanding of the earth’s interior and climate. The European space company, Astrium, is currently carrying out further extensive functional checks on the satellites at its supplier’s IABG test facility near Munich, in Germany.

Space Daily

Satellite images expose water theft in Australia

Satellite imagery revealed how much water is being stolen from the Murray-Darling Basin by floodplain harvesting. South Australian irrigators have long complained about the practice, which upstream water authorities have struggled to stop because it requires monitoring over vast distances. A Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) spokeswoman said in an interview, “Diversions such as floodplain harvesting are difficult to measure”. South Australian (SA) irrigators and environmentalists throughout the basin considered the harvesting to be theft, made possible when Queensland and NSW farmers bulldoze channels that divert water off to dams or spill out into paddocks. “There is a well established principle that if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it,” she added.


e-GEOS to provide maps for emergency management

e-GEOS, an Italian company, bagged two contracts from the European Commission (EC) to provide satellite data and maps for emergency management. These contracts, worth EUR 9.6 million, are part of the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) programme. e-GEOS will provide geospatial information and satellite maps of areas affected by emergencies to the European Commission, which will then be able to make the data necessary to manage disasters available to the civil protection services and competent authorities of EU countries. Furthermore, the EC will be able to make pre- and post-event maps of any area in the world available within a few hours of the emergency arising, thereby facilitating the organisation of aid operations.


Satellite imagery to curb illegal opium cultivation in India

Illegal cultivation of opium is on a rise in India. There have been many instances of illicit cultivation of cannabis and poppy in the country. To keep the drug trafficking in check, India is considering using satellite imagery for detection and eradication of such illicit cultivation, Asia Times reported. The Government of India (GoI) is also planning to open up trade in opiate-based pharmaceuticals to private players. Under the new National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, private players will be allowed to extract narcotic alkaloids such as morphine and codeine.

Now, reputable firms with an annual turnover of over of USD 20 million will be able to buy poppy plants directly and manufacture their own medicines.

Asia Times

EU Parliament supports GMES within financial framework

The European Parliament voted on the future of GMES in a resolution that strongly supports the programme being funded within the multiyear financial framework (MFF) and for it to be operational from 2014. The motion, which was presented in Strasbourg, France, by Minister of European Parliament (MEP) Norbert Glante on behalf of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, was adopted in plenary. In the resolution, the European Parliament urged the European Commissions (EC) to find a suitable solution to have the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme fully operational from 2014. It highlighted that funding the programme outside the MFF is not considered viable and is, instead, detrimental to the full programme.


Fuel cell industry eyes opportunities in RS market

Remote sensing (RS) will be a breakout market for small fuel cells in 2012, as they are well-suited for applications including dam monitoring, seismic monitoring, wildlife monitoring, weather stations and others. However, other sectors do not look so promising. One example is the portable fuel cell market, particularly for consumer electronics applications, which the firm anticipates will suffer disappointment in 2012 after a recent renewal of the hype in this sector, according to a new white paper by Pike Research, The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Industries: Ten Trends to Watch in 2012 and Beyond.

The white paper, which includes 10 predictions about the fuel cell market in 2012, is available for free download on Pike Research’s website.

Swiss ‘janitor satellite’ to clean space junk

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology in Lausanne announced that they are considering launching “janitor satellite,” designed, as its name implies, to clean up space debris. CleanSpace One, as the janitor satellite is being called, costs approximately USD 11 million to build, but the Institute claims it will be worth it. It is pertinent to mention here that the year 2011 was full of reports that space debris was re-entering the atmosphere and raining down on earth. First came a 12,500-pound decommissioned satellite, which fell in the Pacific Ocean, then a mysterious space ball, which dropped on Namibia, and finally pieces of a Russian space probe crashed somewhere off Chile’s coastline. By September 2011, a report from the National Research Council said, ominously, that space debris has reached a “tipping point.”

Washington Post

DLR to develop tool to track space debris accurately

Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are developing an optical observation system with a powerful laser. Pulses from the laser can detect particles only a few centimetres in diameter and allow determination of their orbits. The concept was tested for the first time in January 2012, in collaboration with the Laser Station in the Austrian city of Graz. The laser station in Graz is a part of the Space Research Institute (Institut für Weltraumforschung; IWF) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften; ÖAW), and the laser beam it sent up into space was able to detect more than 20 different launcher components at distances of 500 to 1800 kilometres. This search for space debris was based on calculations performed by researchers at DLR Stuttgart, and involved detecting them and measuring their distance from Earth. “This provides us with confirmation that our idea really works,” explained Adolf Giesen, Director of the DLR Institute of Technical Physics. Even though the space debris tracked during this test was several metres across in size, the success of the experiment is an important step forward for the researchers. “At present, we are developing and building a system to detect space debris. This will incorporate a laser with higher pulse energy, enabling the detection of significantly smaller items. When this becomes operational, it should be possible to locate objects measuring just 10 centimetres across.”


US to spend USD 50 mn on aerial photography

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering spending up to USD 50 million to hire as many as four contractors to provide “aerial remote sensing” services. The services will include taking photos from airborne sensors of homeland security missions and emergency incidents, processing those images and disseminating them throughout the department. The chosen vendors will be asked to collect aerial imagery using digital cameras in what are known as “vertical” or “oblique” renditions to support emergency and non-emergency incidents nationwide. These airborne images are essential for homeland defense missions, such as planning for National Special Security Events (Super Bowls or a national political conventions come to mind); enhancing border, port and airport security; as well as performing critical infrastructure inventories and assessments.

Expert proposes better use of satellites for disaster mgmt

Norihiro Sakamoto proposed a plan to make better use of existing satellites so that they could make quicker tsunami forecasts. This would involve using a quasi-zenith satellite system, whereby a satellite is always located near Japan’s zenith, so that there is a continuous link with offshore tsunami observation devices. Norihiro Sakamoto, the former head of technology at the Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies, currently serves as a researcher for the Tokyo Foundation and has been advocating development of a “real-time warning system” for tsunami. To prepare for a disaster when communication networks and satellite dishes are forced offline because of tsunami-related damage, an idea has been floated of building an “ultra-large deployable satellite dish” that can conduct satellite communication through cell phone networks. This system would usually use a satellite dish located on land, but will be able to conduct communication via satellites in the event of an emergency.

Iran launches small earth-observation satellite

The Iranian Space Agency (ISA) launched the small earth-observation satellite, ‘Navid-e Elm-o Sana’at’ (Promise of Science and Industry), marking the country’s first successful mission since a failed attempt in space last year. It was launched, using a Safir 1-B rocket, according to a translation of a statement posted to the agency’s Farsi-language website. Safir means “Ambassador” in Farsi.

The new Iranian satellite weighs about 110 pounds (50 kilograms) and was built by students at the Sharif University of Technology, according to a report by Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). According to the Iranian Space Agency, the satellite is shaped like a cube that is nearly 20 inches (50 centimetres) wide. It is circling earth in an elliptical orbit and passes over Iran six times a day. The satellite will fly a two-month mission and is controlled via five ground stations, one each in the cities of Karaj, Tabriz, Qeshm, Bushehr and Mashhad, Iranian space officials said.

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