Operation IceBridge

Operation IceBridge completed its 2014 Antarctic field campaign, the sixth in a row, at the end of November. The campaign was aimed at recapturing a part of the Antarctic ice sheet which appears to be in irreversible decline. For six weeks from 16 October 2014, NASA’s DC-8 airborne laboratory collected a wealth of data for the benefit of gaining insight into climate change. The first IceBridge flights were conducted in spring 2009 over Greenland and in autumn 2009 over Antarctica. What is Operation IceBridge, which sensors are used, what can the data be used for and who may use the data? The author provides an overview.   Figure 1, A view of the Forrestal Range in the Pensacola Mountains, flight 14 November 2014 (Courtesy: NASA, Michael Studinger). Long-term changes i... (read more)
10/04/2015Mathias Lemmens, senior editor, GIM International

Review of Symposium on Reference Frames for Applications in Geoscience

Accurate reference frames are fundamentally important for Earth science studies, satellite navigation, mapping, international time transfer and many applications relying on geospatial information. Increasingly, they are also used for demanding commercial applications such as agriculture, aviation, construction, public safety and transportation. Approximately 100 geodesists and geoscientists from 24 countries met recently to discuss the role of global and regional reference frames in science and practice. The international symposium, REFAG2014, took place at the Melia Hotel in Kirchberg, Luxembourg, from 12-17 October 2014. The symposium featured sessions on six topics: the theory and concepts underpinning reference frames; the space-based geodetic techniques required to generate the refere... (read more)

Alberta Data Partnerships: A Public-Private Partnership Approach to SDI

A new brand and long-term agreement with the Provincial Government of Alberta, Canada, will provide more opportunities for Spatial Data Warehouse Ltd. (SDW), AltaLIS, Alberta's geospatial community and all Albertans. SDW was created in 1996 as a not-for-profit company to take over digital mapping activities – at that time primarily Cadastral Mapping – that were previously handled by the Government of Alberta. The original board members were the provincial utility companies and the Alberta government. In 1999, a joint venture agreement was signed with AltaLIS, a for-profit private corporation, to provide the day-to-day updating, licensing, sales and distribution of cadastral mapping data, while SDW remained a virtual company focused on governance and strategy. Today, SDW board m... (read more)
10/04/2015Erik Holmlund, executive director, Alberta Data Partnerships

Lidar Quality Assurance

Basic tools for processing Lidar point clouds, which can be extended depending on needs, provide a flexible platform for service providers and users alike. Here, the authors demonstrate how a publicly available open-source application with basic tools for visualising, editing and analysing Lidar point clouds has been extended into a compliant platform that serves diverse applications including mapping of power-line corridors, land uses and riverbeds. The platform, called DielmoOpenLiDAR and released under the GNU GPL licence, enables management and display of massive Lidar datasets together with vectors, rasters, OGC services such as WMS, WFS, WCS and other geoinformation. For professional users, the key benefits are the simplicity of implementing new algorithms to generate any output and... (read more)
10/04/2015José Carlos Garcia and Rafael Torró, and David Hine

Mapping Flood Vulnerability

Floods have a high impact in densely populated areas, especially when strategic infrastructure is affected. There are various human and territorial factors that influence an area’s vulnerability to flooding. Intensive agricultural activity and large urbanised areas are examples of such human factors, while the soil’s ability to absorb water is a major territorial factor. A quantification of flood vulnerability can be created by combining numerical indicators for the various factors into a single index number that is easy to interpret for decision-makers. GIS tools can easily be applied to calculate these indicators from various open spatial data sources, offering a low-cost methodology to produce vulnerability maps. The risk of devastating floods is being increased by heavier a... (read more)
10/04/2015Chiara Tagnani, Marche Polytechnic University, Francesca Sini, Marche Region, and Marco Pellegrini, LIF srl

ISPRS Geospatial Week 2015

Information extraction from remotely sensed data, geospatial information management and visualisation, and the development of geospatially based innovative applications and services are all very important topics of research in photogrammetry, remote sensing and geoinformation science. Hence, these topics will be covered at the ISPRS Geospatial Week 2015 which will be held in La Grande Motte (Montpellier), France, from 28 September to 2 October 2015. In order to discuss recent developments and future trends in research in these fields, the ISPRS Geospatial Week proposes a bundle of already established conferences/workshops combined with emerging events, namely: - Silvilaser (Lidar applications for assessing forest ecosystems) - Laserscanning (Point cloud acquisition and processing) - CMRT (... (read more)

A New ICA Journal

The profile of ICA, which was promoted in 2014 by elevation to full ICSU membership, will be further enhanced in 2015 by the establishment of its own scientific journal. The decision to go ahead with this important step has been based on several years’ analysis of the existing publication landscape of cartographic journals, discussion with the ICA Commissions, assessment of the demands and needs of academia and scientific organisations, and the overall acknowledgement of the importance of a scientific journal for a major international organisation. The journal will be called the International Journal of Cartography, with editors-in-chief William Cartwright and Anne Ruas, and Taylor & Francis will be the professional publication partners. The editorial and publishing teams are wor... (read more)

50th Anniversary Celebrations of the First SLR Measurement

31 October 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the first successful satellite laser ranging (SLR) measurement, and that was celebrated at the 19th International Workshop on Laser Ranging from 27-31 October in Annapolis, USA. The workshop, which was hosted by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, attracted over 180 people from 23 countries.   The first session included a brief history of SLR through talks by six pioneers. Henry Plotkin, head of the GSFC 1964 SLR team, recalled the events that led to the first successful laser ranging measurement in 1964. Chuck Lundquist presented the early SAO programme that established the international network of Baker-Nunn cameras and laser ranging systems. George Veis discussed the early recognition of the need for an international reference frame and... (read more)
10/04/2015Carey Noll (NASA GSFC), Michael Pearlman (SAO), Jan McGarry (NASA GSFC) and Stephen Merkowitz (NASA GSFC)
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River survey, creating a 3D model