Copernicus, Europe’s Earth observation (EO) programme, generates ten petabytes of free EO data a year. Big data from space holds great potential for ideas and solutions in many sectors. The front cover of this issue of GIM International shows a satellite image of the Yukon Delta on the west coast of the US state of Alaska. The image contains Copernicus Sentinel data (2017) that has been processed by the European Space Agency (ESA). More on Copernicus can be found on page. 39. Furthermore in this issue:
Point Clouds from Smartphones (p. 18)
Which Societal and Technological Developments Will Most Impact the Geospatial Industry? (p. 14)
The Social Tenure Domain Model (p. 27)
UAV Mapping of a Greenland Glacier (p. 31)
Innovative Ways to Monitor Land Displacement (p. 35)
When people think about landslides, they usually imagine large mud streams which cause considerable loss of life. Whereas such large-scale disasters are rare, smaller landslides are a much more frequent occurrence and pose a danger for traffic and housing in thousands of cities worldwide. In Italy, Google News is used to calibrate the 24-hour prediction models and slope-instability risk maps are produced every six days based on Sentinel-1 radar images. In fact, Prof Nicola Casagli from Florence University has high hopes for a geostationary European InSAR satellite which will enable the daily production of a map for assessing ground displacements of 1mm.
Mapping polar regions can be a challenging yet vital mission, helping scientists and researchers to better understand how the planet and its climate are changing. Traditionally, terrestrial and ground-based techniques have limited the scope of activity and the quality of data. In this article, the author discusses how unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or ‘drone’) solutions have been used in Greenland to successfully monitor the formation of crevasses and the behaviour of ice flow on the Eqip Glacier, providing previously impossible levels of insight.
High-end technology-driven solutions often create serious implementation constraints in land administration. Furthermore, despite the developments and advances in geo-ICT, there is still a gap in the development of tools that model people-to-land relationships independently from the legality of those relationships. This article explains why the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) is a powerful and effective land information system to arrive at locally engineered solutions for improving tenure security.
Smartphones are omnipresent, and many people can no longer do without them. Smartphone cameras capture images suited for generating point clouds and 3D models. Apps running on smartphones and software running on a remote server enable easy 3D modelling from multiple images. The challenge is to train and guide laymen through a proper image capture strategy using their smartphones. The authors of this article investigated the potential use of smartphones for cheap and rapid generation of point clouds and 3D models exploiting a collaborative approach.