How Deep, and How Important, are the Oceans?

Oceans cover 71% of the surface of our planet and yet 95% of the ocean floor remains unmapped in detail. This in itself may not seem to be very important but when we realize that 40% of the world's population live within 100km of the coast and that the planet is threatened with sea rise due to climate change which could affect up to 10% of the world's population, and from pollution from man-made materials, it becomes very important. Oceans feature in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) because of this. So, it is appropriate that hydrographic survey is the theme... (read more)
2019-03-08 12:17:02

Airbus GRACE-FO Satellites Successfully Launched from California

The twin GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On) satellites, developed and built by Airbus, have been successfully launched into space from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, USA, using a Falcon 9 launcher. GRACE-FO is a joint project between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam, near Berlin. Accurate measurements of the inter-satellite range between the two co-planar, low altitude polar orbiting twin satellites will allow the production of global and high resolution models of the Earth's gravity field, offering details of how mass, in most cases water, is moving around the planet. Shortly after... (read more)
2018-05-30 10:21:10

Sentinel-5P Atmospheric Data Processing Begins

Sentinel-5P data open to the public, and Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) has begun processing with detailed forecasts anticipated later in 2018. The Sentinels are a fleet of satellites central to Europe’s Earth-observation programme, Copernicus, addressing six main thematic areas: atmosphere, climate change, marine environment, emergency management, land and security. Atmospheric monitoring mission Sentinel-5P, the precursor to Sentinel-5, has just graduated from its official commissioning and validation phase, within which preliminary data was evaluated and instruments were calibrated. Early data was compared with the CAMS forecasting system, which allowed detection and solving of ‘teething’ issues. TROPOMI (Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument) gathers... (read more)
2018-07-25 03:49:54

Airbus Partners with Planet for Satellite Imagery

Airbus has announced a data-sharing agreement with satellite imagery purveyors Planet, along with a project to deliver a geoinformation platform and pipeline for the Thai government. The depth and breadth of satellite data products in the marketplace may soon expand following the announcement by Airbus and Planet of a new partnership that provides access to each other’s data, and an agreement to co-develop new products. Airbus says the partnership aims to address the growing demand for continuous monitoring and accurate information, and the relative strengths of both companies’ infrastructure and data assets should result in some unique and powerful offerings. Combining satellite... (read more)
2018-06-28 10:21:05

UK Launches Space-based Response to Covid-19 Pandemic

A £2.6 million initiative to develop space-enabled technology and services that can strengthen the NHS’s response to coronavirus has been launched today by the UK Space Agency in collaboration with ESA. The UK government has called on industry and universities to help develop technology and equipment – from hand sanitisers to ventilators – to support the NHS. Space-enabled solutions could include satellite communications, satellite navigation, Earth observation satellites or technology derived from human spaceflight. Amanda Solloway, science minister, commented: “The UK space sector is a world leader in applying satellite and data technology to challenges we face on Earth, from... (read more)
2020-04-15 08:56:24

UK Radar Satellite NovaSAR-1 Launched Successfully

The radar imaging satellite NovaSAR-1, carrying an Airbus S-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR), has been successfully launched on a PSLV launcher from India. The spacecraft was built under the leadership of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, an Airbus subsidiary. The innovative small satellite will be used to monitor the Earth day and night. SAR instruments can see through clouds to enable uninterrupted imaging of the Earth below, which is key when monitoring changes of features on the ground. NovaSAR-1 is the first SAR spacecraft to be manufactured entirely in the UK and is a technology demonstration mission designed to test the capabilities... (read more)
2018-09-21 10:11:46

NASA IceSat-2 Satellite Measures Ice Sheets and Creates Height Maps

IceSat-2 (one of the most powerful Earth observation tools ever put in orbit) was launched recently to measure the shape of the ice sheets to a precision of 2cm. In addition to this, the satellite is now returning a whole raft of other information. It is mapping the height of land, rivers, lakes, forests, and even the depth of the seafloor. Nasa has been showcasing the early data at the AGU meeting. The satellite carries a single instrument - a half-tonne green laser that fires about 10,000 pulses of light every second. Each of those shots goes down to the Earth... (read more)
2019-01-02 10:25:55

ESA Sends Aeolus Lidar-equipped Wind Satellite into Orbit

ESA’s Earth Explorer Aeolus satellite has been successfully launched into polar orbit on a Vega rocket. Using revolutionary Lidar technology, Aeolus will measure winds around the globe and play a key role in the quest to better understand the workings of the atmosphere. Importantly, this novel mission will also improve weather forecasting.  Carrying the 1,360kg Aeolus satellite, the Vega rocket lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 21:20 GMT (23:20 CEST, 18:20 local time) on 22 August. Some 55 minutes later, Vega’s upper stage delivered Aeolus into orbit and contact was established through the Troll ground station in... (read more)
2018-08-23 10:01:16

Collaboration and Big Data - ISPRS Geospatial Week 2017

Ian Dowman reports on the ISPRS Geospatial Week (GSW) giving a good indication of current developments in photogrammetry, remote sensing and spatial information science and the way in which this is progressing in China. ISPRS has now established the GSW as a regular biennial event. This year it was held at Wuhan in China, hosted by LIESMARS, the geomatics centre at Wuhan University. The meeting inevitably had a Chinese flavour to it, but did demonstrate a number of interesting trends. The programme was divided into eleven workshops, each organised by one or more ISPRS working group, so although the themes... (read more)
2017-11-02 02:58:15

3D at Depth Developing Subsea Lidar

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute is working with 3D at Depth to develop a lidar system capable of measuring the ocean floor at resolutions of one centimetre. Considering it covers most of Earth, it’s particularly frustrating that the ocean is also very difficult to map. Until relatively recently, our best technology for measuring the ocean floor was some kind of weight attached to a rope. This technological roadblock has limited our understanding of ocean changes and processes for years. Once developed, this lidar system will be mounted onto unmanned underwater vehicles, where it will capture point clouds alongside colour imagery... (read more)
2017-03-30 01:58:34
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