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The Data Paradox: InformatIon SharIng Incongruities In the IntellIgence CommunIty
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The Data Paradox: InformatIon SharIng Incongruities In the IntellIgence CommunIty


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  • 1. E a r t h Re m o t e S e n s i n g for Securit y E n e r gy a n d the Environment Fall 2010 Vol. 25 No.4 with all this Aerial Sustainable RapidEye GEOSS UserCameras Development Requirements
  • 2. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m2
  • 3. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 3
  • 4. With 30 years of geospatial experience, we’ve done more than just map the surface. GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE Northrop Grumman has partnered with our customers to provide industry-leading geospatial technology, services, and products for over 30 years. Our experience has enabled us to develop end-to-end geospatial offerings enabling rapid response to customers’ unique and ever-changing requirements. Northrop Grumman supports the Department of Defense, Intelligence© 2010 northrop Grumman corporation i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 4 Community, Department of Homeland Security and civilian agencies with our innovative technologies and high-quality services to assure the protection of our nation’s military, borders, and citizens.
  • 5. Fall 2010 contents >> olumns C 9 Publisher’s Letter More Data: Challenges and Benefits By Myrna James Yoo 10 Secure World Foundation Forum Assessing the Power 15 of Citizen Science By Leonard David 12 Earth Scope CRS in the Florida Keys By Tim Foresman, PhD >> eatures F 15 Disappearing Glaciers Research Project of Spot Image’s Planet Action By Kevin Corbley 19 IGARSS 30th Anniversary Promise and Challenges for Remote Sensing By Leonard David 24 Sustainable Development Forestry, Hydropower and Mining By Pierre-Philippe Mathieu, PhD, ESA 28 User Requirement Registry For GEOSS By Hans-Peter Plag, PhD Univ. of Nevada, Reno 35 Data Paradox Information Sharing Challenges By Richard Heimann, ITT and NJOIC Pentagon 40 RapidEye Delivering the World By Kim Douglass and Markus Heynen 49 24 12i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 49 Aerial Cameras Focus Shifts to Productivity 5 By Matteo Luccio
  • 6. Western Fall 2010 / Vol. 25 / No. 4 Sahara Our Mission Imaging Notes is the premier publication for commercial, government and academic remote sensing professionals around the world. It provides objective exclusive in-depth reporting that demonstrates how remote sensing technologies and spatial information cover image illuminate the urgent interrelated issues of the environment, energy and security. Imaging Notes has a partnership Imaging Notes is affiliated with the with Secure World Foundation Alliance for Earth Observations, a ( program of The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies ( Publisher/Managing editor Editorial Advisory Board Myrna James Yoo Mark E. Brender, GeoEye Anita Burke Editor The Catalyst Institute Ray A. Williamson, PhD Nancy Colleton Institute for Global Copy Editor Environmental Strategies Bette Milleson Timothy W. Foresman, PhD Advertising Director International Centre for Remote Colleen Gormley Sensing Education This image is of the north- Creative Director Jürgen Mantzke William B. Gail, PhD Microsoft eastern portion of Western Sahara, about Enfineitz LLC Anne Hale Miglarese 200 km east of the town of Semara. Booz Allen Hamilton The Western Sahara is mostly desert, located Kevin Pomfret, Esq. in Northern Africa, with the North Atlantic Ocean LeClair Ryan to the west, Morocco to the north, Algeria to the Editorial Contributions northeast, and Mauritania to the east and south. Imaging Notes welcomes contributions for feature articles. We publish articles on the The land is some of the most arid, inhospitable remote sensing industry, including applications, technology, and business. Please see and sparsely populated in the world. Contributor’s Guidelines on, and email proposals to Western Sahara is a disputed territory that has been on the United Nations list of non-self- Subscriptions governing territories since 1963, when it was a To subscribe or renew, please go to, and click on ‘subscribe.’ Spanish colony. The Kingdom of Morocco and the If you are a current subscriber, renew by locating your account Sahrawi national liberation movement Polisario number on your address label to enter the database and update your subscription. If you cannot go online, you may write to the address below. Front, through the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), dispute control of the territory. Imaging Notes (ISSN 0896-7091) Copyright © 2010 Blueline Publishing LLC, P.O. Box 11519, Denver, CO 80211, 303-477-5272 Major powers such as the United States and All rights reserved. No material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by Russia have taken neutral positions on each side’s any means without written permission from the publisher. While every precaution is claims, and have pressed both parties to agree on taken to ensure accuracy, the publisher and the Alliance for Earth Observations cannot a peaceful resolution. accept responsibility for the accuracy of information or for any opinions or views The center point coordinates of the image are: presented in Imaging Notes. 26°34’19.20”N / 9°50’45.60”W. Image courtesy Although trademark and copyright symbols are not used in this publication, they are honored. of RapidEye. Image taken Aug. 12, 2010. This and more RapidEye imagery, including Imaging Notes is printed on 20% recycled (10% post-consumer waste) paper. All inks used contain a percentage of soy base. Our printer meets or nearby Morocco, appear in the feature article exceeds all federal Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) Standards. beginning on page 40. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m6
  • 7. Tactical Mapping imagery: when youneed to know where … and when.You know what you’re looking for. Any imaging system can help you see it. But only tactical mapping ortho imagery cantell you exactly where it is – and when it got there. With positional accuracy measured in centimeters, imagery fromTrimble DSS™ RapidOrtho™ supports tactical mapping, change detection, and critical decision-making in the field.The DSS (Digital Sensor System) is a complete airborne digital imaging system field-proven in the front lines ofemergency response and the modern battlefield:• Ultra-fast images – complete mapping-grade datasets within hours of landing, individual orthos within seconds• Centimeter-level resolution from safe flying heights• Mapping-grade results – meets rigorous USGS certification and NASA standards• Rapid, flexible deployment – rugged, lightweight system can be installed within one hourDSS RapidOrtho in action:• Defense operations use the DSS in Iraq and Afghanistan• NOAA National Geodetic Survey uses the DSS for hurricane, earthquake, and oil spill rapid response• DSS RapidOrtho gives commercial mapping companies a competitive edge in productivity i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 7The Trimble DSS is built upon Applanix’ GNSS-aided inertial technology, systemsintegration and innovative engineering expertise, and is a key part of Trimble’s aerialmapping product
  • 8. See More, Know More and Do More With DigitalGlobe’s 8-band imagery400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 For the first time ever, remote sensing and GIS In many ways, the full capabilities of 8-band professionals have access to high-resolution imagery are still to be exploited: from mineral imagery with 8 spectral bands, including identification, to automated change detection, coastal blue, yellow, red-edge and NIR2. The to wildfire modeling, and much more. precise spectral fidelity combined with the very high spatial resolution of this imagery enables The DigitalGlobe 8-Band Research Challenge, detailed analyses never before possible- currently underway, has gathered over 500 advances such as: researchers to study the impact of using this data for a broad range of applications. Watch • More detailed vegetative analyses for the results of this research to be posted on • Creation of accurate shallow-water our website bathymetry maps • Improved land use/land cover classifications What can you do with 8-band imagery? Download our free whitepapers and learn more: Clockwise from upper left: Vegetative analysis of wine grape vineyards highlighting crop health; feature extraction map of Bangkok Thailand, focused on man-made i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m feature classes; false color composite imagery (Red-Edge, NIR1, NIR2) in Hawaii, depicting wave refraction through reef channels; 1 meter bathymetry contours of 8 Aitutaki Lagoon extracted from 8-Band imagery.
  • 9. Too Much Data?Dare I Say It? Publisher’s LetterGeoInt Coverage in this XX Imaging NotesIssue: The Data Paradox editorial staff at the Welcome This Fall issue includes Reception of IGARSS: myself, Editor Ray focus, as always, on security and Williamson, Barbaraintelligence, in conjunction with the David and writerGeoInt Symposium. An issue rising to the Leonard David,surface in the past few years is the formerly of Space News.question of having too much data – somuch so that processing it and using itare major challenges. Rich Heimann, aresearcher at ITT and officer of NJOIC,looks at what could be done to ease thisburden, on page 35. Paul Smits of the European Commis- that data contribution from the community using EO for sustainable development onsion Joint Research Center in Italy and (often from cell phones), plus the power page 24. We also report on the importantco-chair of IGARSS 2010 stated at their of social networks and the infrastructure work of Dr. Mauri Pelto at Nichols College,recent meeting that, “Data management that many professionals are pulling who has made significant discoveries onand applications have profoundly changed together, is creating very powerful tools how better to measure and predict glacierthe way we do research... Data is driving for emergency response and ongoing melt for societal benefit.the foundation of new hypothesis.” This is projects like the one highlighted inindeed an important subject. Florida after the oil spill (page 12). The Join Our Social Media increased use of CRS data, however, We have joined the Social MediaIGARSS Meeting in Hawaii does admittedly contribute to the problem Revolution, of course, so please join us The IGARSS annual meeting is not one of managing too much data. on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Groupwe normally attend (see photo), but we Rich Heimann shows on page 35 how photos are posted on Facebook, and Ibelieve that the new science and technolo- the more information we have, the more normally tweet a lot from conferences,gies should be published for a broader confidence we have in the correct answer, so tune into foraudience than the scientists themselves. but accuracy actually decreases with more those live comments.IGARSS is a symposium of GRSS (Geosci- items of information. Also, the paradox ofence and Remote Sensing Society), itself choice shows that having too many choices —Myrna James Yoounder IEEE, and includes many of the creates paralysis of the analyst. We assume publisher@imagingnotes.comworld’s top scientists, who gather to report that having more data is good, but this is noton their most recent discoveries. Their inherently the case.plenary theme is one we have written onrather extensively in the past year: Commu- Sustainable Development Follow Imaging Notes on Twitter Remote Sensing (CRS). We are thrilled We ask you on page 28 to provideto bring just a glimpse of this gathering and input for the GEOSS User Requirementof CRS in three articles: “IGARSS 2010,” a Registry, so that the creators of GEOSS On Facebook, find and “like” Imaging Notes to see great photos!summary on page 19, “Assessing the Power worldwide can put together the mostof Citizen Science” on page 10, and “CRS useful program possible for addressingin the Florida Keys” on page 12. climate change. ESA’s Pierre-Philippe Join Imaging Notes on LinkedIn We report on CRS in each issue, and Mathieu provides three examples ofi m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 9
  • 10. Citizen Science Assessing the Power of crs secure world foundation forum The Earth information needs of our society are outreach activities, for improving protected enormous. In the past we have relied on government-sponsored satellites and areas and plantation forest management, observing systems as the foundations for gathering this data. But there is a rapid for assessing the extent of burnt areas, as emergence of citizen science and social networks that yield an exciting new means to an indicator of effective forest management, become better stewards of our planet. and for studying the influence of climate Imaging Notes has taken a lead role in gauging Community Remote Sensing, or change on fire frequency. Furthermore, Fire CRS, a new field that combines remote sensing with citizen science, social networks, Alerts have also helped to expose, as well as and crowd-sourcing to enhance the data obtained from traditional sources. It includes to stop, illegal logging operations. the collection, calibration, analysis, communication, or application of remotely sensed information by these community means. CrisisCamp The powerful role of hybrid barcamp/ Indeed, harnessing the power of CRS hackathon events was explained by Heather as a global vision for local action was Editor’sbegins onsummary and a feature meeting Note A page 19, of the IGARSS Blanchard, founder of CrisisCommons. She highlighted at this year’s 30th Interna- detailed her organization’s “CrisisCamp,” on the challenges of having so much data tional Geoscience and Remote Sensing begins on page 35. which brings together people and communi- Symposium (IGARSS) gathering in July. ties who innovate crisis response and global At this conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, it challenging – sometimes thorny – issues development through technology tools, became increasingly obvious that the data ahead for increased acceptance and expertise, and problem solving. For instance, provided from people and sensors “on adoption of CRS. the impact of CrisisCamp in shaping the ground” will be instrumental in seeing disaster relief efforts after the catastrophic a much fuller picture for projects around Technology Tools Haiti earthquake brought home the utility of the world, be they for disaster manage- Following on the heels of the IGARSS CRS. ment or for measuring the possible gathering, Secure World Foundation held a CrisisCamp volunteers, Blanchard said, impact of climate change. Still, there are special workshop in September in coop- have created crisis response and learning eration with the Department of Homeland events in over 10 countries with volunteers Security on CRS, citizen science and social of all backgrounds who collaborate in an networks. The day-long workshop included open environment to aggregate crisis data, overviews by Scott Madry of the International develop prototype tools, and train people on Space University, who provided a tutorial on how to use technology CRS. Stuart Gill of the World Bank outlined Similar in message, Carolyn Lukens- disaster risk management and CRS. meyer of AmericaSpeaks underscored John Musinsky of Conservation Inter- the engagement of citizens in the public national (CI) detailed the purpose of CI’s decisions that impact their lives. Ameri- Fire Alert System, showcasing its ability to caSpeaks has developed and facilitated deliver near real-time satellite observations deliberative methods, partnering with of fires to the government agencies, NGOs, regional planning groups; local, state and and community organizations responsible national government bodies; and national for management of natural areas and fire and international organizations. Issues suppression in countries where CI works. tackled by AmericaSpeaks have ranged Musinsky noted that data are being used for from the redevelopment of ground zero in By Leonard David Research Associate active fire suppression, as educational tools New York following the horrific terrorist Secure World Foundation for fire control and prevention in villages, attacks to rebuilding New Orleans after for prioritizing resource management and hurricane Katrina. See Figure 1. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m10
  • 11. Distributed Democracy The use of the Internet and socialmedia technologies was discussed by TinaNabatchi of Syracuse University’s MaxwellSchool of Citizenship and Public Affairs.Tapping these communication advancescan promote distributed democracy andcreate digital neighborhoods, she added,dubbing it “Participation 2.0.” It’s the viewof Nabatchi that the current thrust of theWhite House Open Government Directivehas encouraged federal agencies to be moretransparent, collaborative, and participatory…and many states are following suit. However,it is at the local level where citizens andgovernment generally have the most direct F ig u r e 1. Hurricane Katrina survivors arrive at the Houston Astrodome Red Cross Shelter afterinteractions. That being said, it is likely that being evacuated from New Orleans. They were moved to the Astrodome after the Superdome became unsafe following the levee breaks in New Orleans. Community Remote Sensing tools aremore innovation and more use of Participation becoming part of the toolkit in responding to natural disasters. Credit: FEMA photo/Andrea Booher.2.0 technologies can be expected in yearsto come. CRS-CI – that is scalable and can support purposes. That cautionary flag was waved A number of challenges with managing organic growth to meet the needs of by Kevin Pomfret, Executive Director ofCRS data are emerging, as pointed an expanding CRS community. Several the Centre for Spatial Law and Policyout by Raja Rajasekar of the School challenges need to be addressed, he (and member of the Imaging Notes Edito-of Information and Library Sciences at added, such as scalable federated data grid rial Board), who said that a wide range ofUniversity of North Carolina, Chapel architecture, semantics-enabled discovery issues is associated with the collection,Hill. With social networking tools and and access, user-friendly workflow systems distribution and use of spatial data, andcrowd-sourcing technologies, Rajasekar for analysis and synthesis, and social that the law with respect to spatial data isemphasized that the data collected by the consensus on collection properties. He often confusing and uncertain.CRS systems can grow exponentially, and proposed that the CRS system needs to These issues – which include privacy,that community-driven data collection can be based on a cyber infrastructure that is liability, intellectual property rights andproduce large amounts of environmental robust and extensible and that can meet the national security – become even moredata (such as rainfall, temperature, multiple challenges posed by the diverse complex when associated with communityhumidity, water shed level, crop yields, data gathering and usage models. remote sensing. This uncertainty alreadyetc.), including sensor-based point impacts the cost and ease of collecting andmeasurements, textual data capturing Cautionary Flag sharing spatial data for both governmentalinformation in free form, photographic Given the birth of Google Earth in and commercial entities. In addition, unlessimages and video. Therefore, one of the 2005, in addition to other web mapping an informed and cohesive legal and policychallenges of the CRS community is the services, there has been an explosion of framework is developed for spatial data,problem of how to manage such data in a interest in spatial data and the power of there is a growing risk that communitycoherent manner such that it can enable community remote sensing. Unfortunately, remote sensing will ultimately be under-new science and aid decision making. the legal and policy communities have not utilized. Pomfret concluded that “Legal and Rajasekar advised that the CRS system kept pace with the rapid adaptation of this policy issues need to be addressed in ordershould deploy a cyber-infrastructure – technology for commercial and societal to maximize success.”i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 11
  • 12. CRS: Citizens Awaken Florida Keys Environmental Protection earth scope The April 20, 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico (Figure 1) , the result of an unprecedented cluster of human errors and mechan- ical failures, has led ultimately to a hopeful result. The disaster and the resulting national and international press coverage, including a real-time underwater camera for 24/7 monitoring of the oil gushing from the extraction pipes and catastrophic projections for the damage inflicted, has sparked much-needed activity by citizens, NGOs, businesses, educators, and government agencies. Both accurate news and serious misinformation flowed consistently Editor’sexampleTheaESRI VGI is an excellent Note: of corporate-led from the media, and this combination of Community Remote Sensing (CRS) responsible and irresponsible reporting project, bringing citizens into an important resulted in alarming the public while role contributing datasets that would be otherwise missing in monitoring the oil spill. muddying the waters regarding the consequences of the disaster. Early victims of poor communications included representatives and the federal government: the fishing and tourism industries along How do we best measure the health of the the gulf states, who suffered significant ecosystems and assess any impacts from Force believed that the VGI approach might economic and psychological losses. On a the oil disaster? How can we take charge work well with their goal of harnessing positive note, the gulf oil disaster sparked of our environment so that we know what is citizens’ passion to contribute. activity across a spectrum of locations really going on? As part of their background, the and interest groups, creating actions and Reef Relief (, working ST team was provided copies of collective interest by citizens concerned with other groups, formed the Florida Keys the Imaging Notes article by Natalie with the health and well being of the Environmental Coalition (, Cutsforth (Summer 2010, Vol. 25, No. 3), ecosystems around them. One interesting which includes business and academic which emphasized a similar technology story is that of the citizens living in the leaders. This coalition formed a Science and approach for coral reef mapping and Florida Keys and their concerted actions Technical (ST) Task Force under the lead- studying marine environments. Thousands to address the immediate and residual ership of Dr. Patrick Rice, Dean of Marine of Florida Keys citizens had signed up as impacts from the oil damage. Sciences at the Florida Keys Community volunteers for beach and mangrove oil Alarmed last spring by the ensuing reality College, to seek an approach for citizen-led clean up and for monitoring activities and of the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and environmental monitoring and assessment. were waiting for leadership instructions. dissatisfied by the lack of clear information The ST recognized early on that satellites A series of meetings and workshops in regarding the fate of the oil and oil-disper- and social network tools would be needed Key West was scheduled to define the sants heading towards the Keys, citizens and to meet the demands for environmental technical and managerial foundations for groups began a dialog. Leading environ- stewardship for the Florida Keys. a long-term monitoring and assessment mental groups like Reef Relief, a respected Early on, the ST discovered the early strategy. This strategy will incorporate organization with over two decades of reef involvement of ESRI (Redlands, Calif.) in citizen-scientists as the keystone monitoring experience ( Figure 2), were early mitigation of the disaster. The GIS firm had component of the VGI approaches to leaders in asking critical questions of BP created web site workspaces for volunteer environmental protection and monitoring geographic information (VGI) to enable in the wake of the gulf oil event. web-mapping of oil-response activities Because the coalition leadership devel- Dr. Tim Foresman is presidentSensing International Center for Remote of the and incident reports that could be viewed oped consensus that an Earth-observation Education. in near-real-time ( Figure 3 ). Dr. Rice’s Task perspective was the best approach to build i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m12
  • 13. WW F ig u r e 1. NASA’s Aqua satellite captured TT F ig u r e 3 . ESRI ArcGIS volunteer this image of the Gulf of Mexico on April 25, geographic information (VGI) application for 2010 using its Moderate Resolution Imaging the Gulf oil disaster. Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument. 1 3 2 WW F ig u r e 2 . Reef Relief volunteers monitoring coral reefs in the Florida Keys. agenda. Data collection protocols will be ºº How can we take charge reviewed not only by the scientific members and maintain charge of our of the ST but with city, county, state, and environment? federal environmental representatives. ºº How will our data collection Inclusiveness of all these environmental efforts provide for legally valid protection and management professionals applications of data? is essential to the long-term success of the ºº How can a community best VGI proposed strategy. sustain the needed long-terma monitoring and assessment program, Critical questions will drive the final monitoring regimes?web-supported tools and web-based data design of this grass-roots monitoring ºº Can multiple generations andcollection methods have been the preferred program. Raised by citizens as the the education system be fullymode for creating citizen-friendly technolo- alarm and uncertainty of the oil disaster incorporated into this new digitalgies. The VGI methods will focus on mobile loomed on the horizon, these questions democracy for environmentaldata collection devices, primarily using market have alerted the ST team to selecting a stewardship?leading phones and GPS units. Commercially prudent design that will serve the citizens, Positive outcomes from disasters areavailable technology represents a robust set scientists, and government decision- always a welcome relief. A new chapterof proven solutions for citizens and scientists. makers in the coming decades in light of in environmental democracy will be K-14 education institutions along the both natural threats and human disasters: discovered, should the citizens of theFlorida Keys will also be included in the ºº How do we measure the health of Florida Keys manifest their concerns forfinal design components to help ensure the Florida Keys ecosystems? their ecosystems using the VGI approachthat students can integrate their field data ºº What should we measure and based on satellite data and web-basedcollection activities into their educational how do we measure it? spatial tools.i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 13
  • 14. Maximize the Value of Your Imagery Quickly get imagery to people who need it with the ArcGIS Server Image extension. ® “When we tested ArcGIS Server The ArcGIS® Server Image extension helps organizations manage Image extension, we found designers, large catalogs of rasters and imagery to make imagery available to technicians, and digitizers were all very more people in less time. Dynamic mosaicking and on-the-fly image pleased with the processing processing allow users to quickly serve multiple imagery products time. It was twice as fast, in some cases even faster, from one set of source imagery, reducing data redundancy and than previous systems.” storage requirements. Cindi Salas GIS Manager CenterPoint Energy i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m14 For more information, visit or call 1-888-373-1353. For ESRI locations worldwide, visit Copyright © 2008 ESRI. All rights reserved. The ESRI globe logo, ESRI, ArcGIS, ESRI—The GIS Company,, and are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of ESRI in the United States, the European Community, or certain other jurisdictions. Other companies and products mentioned herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective trademark owners.
  • 15. Glacial Disappearance Forecast Planet Action Research Project F ig u r e 1. The Wind River Range in Wyoming is captured by Spot 5 on Aug. 29, 20 07. This image was used with others by Dr. Pelto to study glacier melt in the area. Image courtesy of Spot Image. A lp i n e g l ac i e r s wo r ld w i d e a r e r e t r e at i n g , a n d s o m e w i ll Image in partnership with ESRI. Early disappear in coming decades. Because the behavior of glaciers results di- results of his project indicate the glaciolo-rectly from local weather conditions, they are considered reliable gauges of climate gist has developed an entirely new meanschange and are undergoing intense scrutiny. Often lost in the midst of this scien- of monitoring glaciers and interpretingtific examination is the fact that glaciers also serve practical purposes. They are their reaction to climate change.vital sources of fresh water, and their disappearance can have devastating local “We felt that Dr. Pelto’s researcheconomic and environmental effects. was at the cutting edge of developing Dr. Mauri Pelto, a geologist and several glaciers, Pelto recognized that a practical, automated mechanismglaciology professor in the Environ- significant societal value could be gained for monitoring glacial disappearancemental Sciences Department at Nichols by devising a method to forecast which worldwide,” said Antoine de Chassy,College in Dudley, Mass., has studied glaciers are holding their own and which President of Spot Image Corp.alpine glaciers throughout the world are heading toward extinction.for 26 years. After watching the slow Pelto believes that satellite imagery Weather Impacts Glaciersretreat and eventual disappearance of holds the key to accurately predicting the Part of the impetus for Pelto’s desire to futures of alpine glaciers and could ulti- establish a scientifically based forecasting mately serve as the centerpiece of auto- mechanism has been the well-publicized, By Kevin Corbley Geospatial Business Consultant mated forecasting techniques. In 2008, yet erroneous, predictions of glacial Corbley Communications Pelto applied for and received assistance in demise across large geographic regions. Denver, Colo. the form of satellite imagery from Planet Exaggerated reports on the imminent Action, a climate research initiative of Spot deaths of all glaciers in the Himalayasi m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 15
  • 16. 3 2 F ig u r e 2 . Milk Lake Glacier has completely F ig u r e 3 . Ice Worm Glacier is disappearing; it has lost all of its snow cover disappeared from 1984 to 2009. in six of the last 10 years. The top is retreating as fast as the bottom. and Glacier National Park over the next tors, glaciers are quite different from other retreating or advancing. However, the 15-25 years are two examples. proxies for measuring historic temperature. problem with mass balance calculation “They are not going to disappear by the Tree rings and coral reefs, for instance, can is that it requires onsite observations and year 2035,” said Pelto. “Some glaciers are be impacted by many outside variables measurements of the snow pack. More doing just fine there…they aren’t growing, aside from weather and are therefore less importantly, because glaciers are inher- but they are shrinking very slowly, while reliable climate indicators. ently difficult and dangerous to visit in others are shrinking very fast.” “There is nothing else that matters to person, only a limited number of glaciers Confusion over the fate of glaciers the glacier (besides climate),” said Pelto. can be actively monitored at one time. in a given area stems from a misun- The status of a glacier is typically derstanding of the complexity of these measured by its mass balance, a ratio Monitoring Glacial Change dynamic geologic features. A single of the new snow accumulated over the Pelto concluded that for glacial moni- mountain range may contain hundreds winter versus the snow that melted during toring to have significant value for either of glaciers, and it is tempting to assume the summer. A positive mass balance climate change research or fresh water that localized weather and climatic means there has been a net increase in supply assessment, glaciers have to be conditions are influencing them all snow over the year, and the glacier is monitored individually. Given the fact identically. But in reality, different growing or advancing. But a net loss of that hundreds of thousands of glaciers are internal factors, such as the altitude snow indicates the ice sheet is thinning or carving the Earth’s surface at any given of the snow accumulation zone, are at retreating. Glaciers can go through many time, this seemed like an impossible chore. work in different glaciers. One glacier periods of advance and retreat over the But Pelto began experimenting with other may be retreating, while another imme- course of their existence. means of measuring glacial conditions. diately adjacent to it is stable. Glaciologists like Pelto can calculate On visits to glaciers around the world, “Glaciers right next to each other the mass balance of individual glaciers the scientist began photographing the are doing different things,” said Pelto, by measuring their snow pack every year. snow lines of specific glaciers repeat- noting that one glacier’s shrinkage and They can also make historical estimates edly at the same time of year. He photo- potential disappearance is no indication of snow pack changes by measuring the graphed or directly measured the eleva- that its neighbors are in trouble. thickness of annual ice layers found in the tions of the snow line on the glaciers at The value of monitoring both alpine stratigraphy of deep glacial crevasses, in their tops, bottoms, and at other land and continental ice sheets as part of much the same way foresters measure the marks in between. He tried pinpointing climate change research is indisputable. thickness of tree rings. the snow lines in 30-meter resolution The behavior of glaciers over the course Assessing mass balance on an annual Landsat imagery but found it too coarse of a year depends largely on one external basis is the best way to track the current for accurate measurement on smaller factor – the weather. As climate indica- status of the glacier – whether it is stable, alpine glaciers. In-person visits were i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m16
  • 17. still the best method of collecting data. that once bedrock peeks through the ice combination of regional coverage and In the course of his studies, spanning sheet, the heat balance changes irrevers- feature detail. For some glaciers, thesetwo and a half decades, Pelto discovered ibly because the rocks absorb so much images clearly showed the presence ofthat the conventional method of assessing thermal radiation from the sun. rock outcrops that had not been visible inglacial disappearance was incorrect. Since 2007, the Planet Action images from just a few years before.First-year geology students are taught program initiated by Spot Image has Pelto also used the GIS software tothat alpine glacial activity, and therefore put satellite imagery into the hands manually draw perimeter lines aroundits health, is best monitored at its leading of scientists and students working on the margins of the glaciers in theedge, or terminus. If a glacier suffers from projects studying the impacts of climate imagery. By overlaying these perim-a net loss in mass, its lower terminus will change. After submitting a proposal, eters on USGS topographic maps, hebegin to recede back up the mountain Pelto received pairs of Spot images recorded the separation of the linesfrom one year to the next. acquired during different years over from one year to the next. While this observation is true, a parts of the North Cascade Moun- As expected, the Spot imagery enabledreceding glacier is not necessarily a tains in Washington and the Wind Pelto to identify the two key indicators ofdisappearing one, Pelto realized. In fact, River Range in Wyoming. Each image future glacier disappearance – emergingthe speed of recession at the lower edge included about 30 glaciers in areas he rock outcrops and falling snow linehas little bearing on whether the entireice mass will disappear completely, 4and some that lose ground at the lowerterminus one year may gain it the next.The real sign that a glacier is in jeopardyis found at its upper reaches, known asthe accumulation zone. “Glaciers that were disappearingwere retreating at the top, not just at thebottom,” said Pelto, noting that a massbalance number just can’t reflect thissituation. A constant recharge of snow intothe accumulation zone is crucial for itssurvival. If there isn’t enough new snow-fall over the accumulation zone during thewinter or if too much snow consistentlymelts from that upper-most area duringthe summer, the glacier has crossed acritical threshold and is usually doomedto disappearance. This absence of snowor increase in melt rate can be caused bylong-term warming in temperatures. SS F ig u r e 4 . This is the accumulation zone of the Columbia Glacier from the headwall. NoticePlanet Action Fills the Data Gap the number of annual horizons exposed on August 1, 2005. This is the third consecutive year of Once a glacier had disappeared, significant negative annual balances, and follows 2004 when the AAR dropped below 20.the researcher reviewed his field notes,photos and measurements and saw thetelltale signs of accumulation zone losses had been studying. See Figure 1 . elevation in the accumulation zone. Inexhibiting themselves years before. One The images had been acquired by the the Northern Cascades and Wind Riverof the most visible signs was the emer- Spot 4 and 5 satellites, which collect both Range, the research indicated that two-gence of rock outcrops in the upper parts panchromatic and multispectral data. thirds of glaciers in the study areas areof the glacier. The other was the retreat of Working in ArcGIS, Pelto found that disappearing and will not survive thethe glacier perimeter in the accumulation viewing imagery datasets comprised of current warming period. The other thirdzone. “You could see that in Spot satel- visible and near-infrared bands at 10-20 represents a consistent accumulation zonelite imagery,” said Pelto. He explained meter spatial resolution had the best with no apparent changes. See Figures 2-5.i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 17
  • 18. 5 Automating the Process “With some glaciers disappearing in the study areas and others remaining stable, Dr. Pelto’s Planet Action project confirmed the importance of monitoring the ice masses individually,” said Spot Image’s de Chassy. It also verified that disappearance indicators can be found in multi-temporal Spot scenes. Pelto says the next step is to automate the glacier monitoring process. Automated change detection algorithms can be written to continually monitor Spot scenes over mountainous regions to pinpoint emerging outcrops and thinning upper margins. Once enough disappearing glaciers have been studied, scientists will be able not only to identify those with no future, but also to forecast how long until they’re gone. This will be a crucial advantage for areas that depend on glaciers for fresh water. “For glacier disappearance, we’ll make water management decisions 20-30 years out,” said Pelto. Currently, temperate alpine glaciers in the Andes, European Alps, Himalayas, Norway, Iceland, Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest supply fresh water to drainage basins at lower elevations. In these areas, glaciers provide vital summer run-off that supplies up to 30 percent of river water upon which fish hatcheries, agricultural irrigation, hydroelectric power plants and drinking water reservoirs depend. Knowing a decade or more in advance that a third of the water supply will disap- pear will give these areas significant advantages to take management steps that will F ig u r e 5 . Foss Glacier, North Cascades, in 1988 minimize the impact on the local economy. “Loss of glaciers can be forecasted accu- and 2005 indicating the change in the extent rately and inexpensively with automated change detection methods and Spot satel- of the glacier. Visible are substantial marginal retreat in the accumulation zone and new rock lite imagery,” concluded Pelto. This prediction can be accomplished with routine outcroppings in the accumulation zone. GIS algorithms using multi-temporal imagery as inputs. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m18
  • 19. IGARSS 2010 Promise and Challenges in World-Class Satellite Remote Sensing At the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS, a symposium of GRSS, the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society), internationalsatellite remote sensing, and how it has become tied to helping solve a growing roster ofEarth environmental and societal woes, took center stage. The 30th IGARSS meeting washeld July 25-30 in Honolulu, Hawaii. This seminal gathering drew over 2,100 partici-pants, with the significance of the symposium also reflected by a record number of ab-stract submissions. The event spotlighted the work of world-class scientists, engineers,and educators. IGARSS, a symposium under the Office. “The reality since then has farumbrella of the Institute of Electrical and exceeded even our most optimisticElectronics Engineers (IEEE), covered predictions,” St. Germain added in hera myriad of technical areas, from deci- opening remarks at IGARSS 2010.phering satellite data about Earth’s land, Casting his eye out over the next SS F ig u r e 1. Shown here are Dr. Alberto Moreira, President, IEEE Geoscience andoceans, atmosphere and cryosphere to decade, Paul Smits of the European Remote Sensing Society; Dr. Kiyo Tomiyasu,advanced image processing and design Commission Joint Research Center in recognized for being the first GRSS Member inof sensors and missions. The challenges Ispra, Italy, and General Co-Chair for the IEEE Heritage Circle; Dr. Karen St. Germainof data continuity and the formatting of IGARSS, noted, “Data management and and Dr. Paul Smits, co-chairs of IGARSS 2010;satellite data were also discussed, as well applications have profoundly changed the Dr. John Vig, IEEE President how best to push forward on an inter- way we do research and design, build,national basis for all nations to become and test new systems and applications. “We live in an unprecedented era of stressbetter stewards of planet Earth. In fact, we are witnessing a silent revolu- on our planet,” Abbott pointed out. “That “In the year 2000, we speculated that tion called ‘E-Science’ which has brought stress stems from a combination of popu-remote sensing and geoscience would about a paradigm shift to the scientific lation growth, climate change, resourcebe spreading far beyond its technical method…where data is driving the foun- demand and the continuing developmenthome…to become a part of national dation of new hypothesis.” See Figure 1. of coastal areas,” she said, noting thatand international policy-making and these tensions create unparalleled chal-enforcement, land use planning and Movement for Change lenges for public health, economic well-real-time disaster management, and Participation via a special webcast being, natural resource management andeducation,” noted Karen St. Germain, from the White House Office of Science national security. Echoing the challengesGeneral Co-Chair of IGARSS 2010, and Technology Policy (OSTP) was and opportunities ahead for Earth obser-and NOAA’s Chief of the Data Products a first-day highlight of the IGARSS vations, Chopra flagged collaborative tech-Division at the National Polar-Orbiting meeting. Addressing participants were nologies and applications to help contributeOperational Environmental Satellite Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology to “a national movement for change.”System (NPOESS) Integrated Program Officer and Assistant to the President, and Sherburne Abbott, OSTP’s Asso- Open Access to DataBy Leonard David Research Associate ciate Director for Environment. Another IGARSS 2010 special Earth observations are a priority for the feature was a space agencies panel. Secure World Foundation White House, Abbott emphasized, with a Officials took the stage representing clear commitment to strengthening the the European Space Agency (ESA), the monitoring of our planet and to beefing Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency up weather forecasting skills, essential (JAXA), and NASA - all reviewing pastEditor’s Note: See storiesdealing with so and 35 about challenges of on pages 10 elements of gauging environmental science and future national and international much data, including that from CRS. and the work of public policy formulation. directions in Earth observations.i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 19
  • 20. “ESA has 30 partner missions,” is very important,” he said, but he also already resident, he pointed out, with the said Yves-Louis Desnos, Head of the underscored the complexity of doing so series of spacecraft now circling the Earth, Research and Development section and due to differences in satellite capabilities. dubbed the “A-Train.” This international a Senior Advisor in the Science, Applica- See Figure 3. satellite constellation brings together a tions and Future Technologies Depart- rich array of instruments to better under- ment. He updated the audience on ESA’s International Satellite Constellation stand Earth’s changing climate and envi- philosophy on free and open access to Global exchange of satellite data was ronment. The A-Train uses multi-sensor data. Making use of a suite of Earth backed by NASA’s Michael Freilich, measurements structured along four observing missions now in orbit, data Director of the Earth Science Divi- themes: atmospheric composition and from these spacecraft are being distrib- sion within the space agency’s Science chemistry; aerosols, clouds, radiation, uted to 4,000 projects across the world. Mission Directorate. “The key thing and the hydrological cycle; atmospheric, See Figure 2. that we need to attack – and that the oceanic and terrestrial components of the 2 3 4 F ig u r e 2 . Yves-Louis Desnos, Head of RD F ig u r e 3 . Masanobu Shimada of the Japan F ig u r e 4 . Michael Freilich, Director of NASA’s and Sr. Advisor for the Science, Applications Space Agency, JAXA’s Space Applications Earth Science Division and Future Technologies Dept. of ESA Directorate “No difference is made among public, coordinating groups are working very carbon cycle and ecosystem; and weather commercial or scientific use of satellite hard on – is to allow for data to be and other operational applications. data,” Desnos said. “We are going to freely, openly available, well character- “The A-Train is international coor- launch 20 new satellites in the next 10 ized, and then analyzed together.” dination with a low level of paper- years,” he added, pointing out ESA’s dedi- Freilich warned against falling into the work,” Freilich said. “There is science cation to satellite services for a diverse silo of analyzing measurements from indi- being done, measurements that are range of Earth observing applications, vidual missions, “…but rather combining being acquired that are the result of from farming to better monitoring of air and analyzing all of the relevant measure- rather substantial international coor- quality. “There are so many results in the ments to attack the problems that we want dination…much of it sort of from the last 20 years,” the ESA official reported. to solve, both scientific and societal.” working level up, unencumbered by Given the huge datasets now archived, Simply because multiple agencies are management mischief.” including new applications of that data making similar measurements does not to come, what’s ahead? “A lot of data, a mean that there is unnecessary duplica- Puzzle Pieces lot of surprise…a lot of new discovery,” tion, he remarked. See Figure 4. Putting all the puzzle pieces together Desnos responded in a follow-up session. Additionally, Freilich backed a coor- for a coordinated, multi-national Masanobu Shimada of JAXA’s Space dination of Earth observing programs, program for Earth observing is not easy. Applications Mission Directorate also “…so that we come up with an inte- “Sometimes, not all the pieces fit,” said advocated increased sharing of satel- grated program for the species…all of us Shelby Tilford, a noted consultant on lite remote sensing data. “Coordination that live on the planet.” This capacity is Earth observations and space science i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m20
  • 21. remote sensing from Seneca, South a singular conference topic recognized at ºº Geospatial Technologies andCarolina. He is a former NASA Acting this year’s IGARSS confab. To that end, Human Rights ProgramsAssistant Administrator for Mission Remote Sensing: Global Vision for Local ºº Digital Earth Watch and Pictureto Planet Earth and is internationally Action served as a theme for the meeting. Post Networkrecognized as a key influence in estab- Community remote sensing – or CRS ºº A World Forest Observatorylishing the study of Earth system science for short – is a fresh field that combines An expansive list of these effortsand in developing today’s global, space- remote sensing with citizen science, can be found at: Earth observation capabilities. social networks, and crowd-sourcing to Com mu n it yRemoteS ensi ng.asp #Moreover, Tilford led the establish- enhance the data obtained from tradi- Projectsment of a comprehensive, long-term tional sources. It includes the collec-national program to study variations in tion, calibration, analysis, communica- What Next?the Earth’s environment due to natural tion, and application of remotely sensed In the closing hours of IGARSS 2010,and human-induced changes. information by these community means. St. Germain turned her attention to what Several factors are pulling together the Several speakers and specially prepared the next decade could look like, in termsresolve to move Earth remote sensing into posters detailed the emergence of these of Earth observing capability. For one,a viable, long-term national and interna- technologies, which are yielding an she speculated that there could be a boomtional pledge. A melding of budget and exciting new means to become better in the area of microsatellites. “Will weknowledge of political implications, as stewards of our planet. be moving away from big government-well as the personalities of those engaged “The energy in the citizen commu- funded satellite programs,” St. Germainin program development, are necessary nity out there…if you make it easy for questioned, “with a lot of smaller satel-to the effort, Tilford told Imaging Notes. them to do, they come to the table with lites making observations? I think that“It all depends on so many different information,” suggested St. Germain. most of the change in the last decade hasfactors…the budget, the political situa- She painted a high-tech picture of the really been driven by the private sector.tion, and the individuals,” Tilford said. CRS tools now available for commu- So where are they going to go in the nextNot only do all those cylinders have to nity use: a blend of iPhones, GPS, the 10 years?”be firing at the same time, “…they’ve also Internet, digital photography, and We are coming out of an era wheregot to be in the same mode.” Google Earth – instruments that will scientists held tight their data and they Tilford observed that so many other allow for real-time uploading of data owned that information, St. Germaincountries have improved in the last two and “…worldwide collaboration in ways said. “I don’t think we’re going to bedecades, compared to where they were 20 that we never dreamt they would.” living in that place anymore. Everyoneyears ago that, “I think it’s going to take This entire CRS capability sparks a will have access to the data and there willan international consortium for measure- new approach to what it means to collect be no capital in holding onto it. What arements – both satellite remote sensing and “truth data,” St. Germain said. “There’s the possibilities for moving forward?”in-situ – in order to make a real impact a lot of power in harnessing the time and It was clear from the IGARSSon understanding the long-term viability the energy and the interest of the commu- gathering that the power of CRS andof the globe…and we still have issues of nity…in many cases leveraging the hobbies E-Science is, indeed, a paradigm shift.earthquakes, volcanoes, typhoons, hurri- and things they want to do anyway.” These tools enhance our ability tocanes – those monster things.” Indeed, the data provided from sharpen global policy-making and to As for data-sharing among nations, people and sensors “on the ground” will take sensible and enforceable actionsTilford said it has gotten better, “…but be instrumental in seeing a much fuller for the betterment of is still not absolute.” Other areas that picture for projects around the world, from There are unlimited possibilities withdemand focused attention, he added, vehicles collecting road and weather data the massive amounts of remote sensinginclude improved data modeling and a far to disaster management for emergency data now available at our finger tips, bothbetter handle on that planetary ingredient responders – just to name two examples. assembled by professional entities andthat makes up two-thirds of our world – For examples of Community Remote information gleaned by citizen-directedthe ocean, along with wind, cloud and Sensing, IGARSS 2010 provided the venue efforts. With CRS filling in key data gaps,precipitation measurements over water on to detail several ongoing activities, such as: everything on our planet can be mappeda continuous basis. See Figure 5. ºº Web Tools for Wheat Farming in and analyzed, with the end result of Mexico’s Yaqui Valley saving lives, better preparing for naturalGlobal Vision for Local Action ºº Virtual Disaster Viewer from calamities, and taking a firmer hand in The rapidly evolving power of ImageCat, Inc. assuring and sustaining our preciousCommunity Remote Sensing (CRS) was ºº Fire Alert Fire Risk Systems ecosystems around the world.i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 21
  • 22. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m22                               ® Trimble ®
  • 23. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 23
  • 24. Sustainable Development Using Earth Observations Accounting From Above For Forestry, menting SD, however, lies in one’s ability to measure it. As already stated Hydropower and Mining by Lord Kelvin, “If you cannot measure Th e vi e w f rom s pac e h a s for e ve r c han g e d h u m an it y ’ s vi s ion it, you cannot improve it.” The chal- of our home planet, revealing its beauty while highlighting at the same time lenge is further compounded by the its inherent fragility. This new perspective from above contributed to the emer- inherent global nature of the problem, gence of the concept of Sustainable Development (SD) by convincing us of the need which calls for global data sets. to manage our rapidly depleting resources in a sustainable manner that would Earth Observation (EO) satellites “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future genera- can play a key role in this endeavor, as tions to meet their own needs.” (This is a widely used definition of Sustainable they are uniquely placed to monitor the Development from the report Our Common Future of the World Commission on state of our environment, in a global Environment Development, headed by Harlem Brundtland in 1987.) and consistent manner, ensuring suffi- cient resolution to capture the footprint Over the last decades, the principles of of man-made activities. Such capability SD were progressively adopted by world Editor’show youSee article on page 28 about Note: can contribute your of space assets has been recognized in leaders on the occasions of a series of Earth the WSSD statement calling for wider user requirements to GEOSS for global Summits (Stockholm, 1972; Rio, 1992; sustainability. use of EO technologies to support water Johannesburg, 2002). Following the 2002 and disaster management, but their World Summit on Sustainable Develop- measure progress towards SD, and to the operational use to implement SD remains ment (WSSD), world leaders called upon emergence of reporting guidelines such as limited. A few examples illustrating the business and civil society to contribute to the Global Reporting Initiative reporting potential of EO for implementation of SD the implementation of SD through “Agenda framework ( and reporting are provided below, with a 21.” SD goals and targets, such as the U.N. The private sector also committed particular focus on the private sector. Millennium Development Goals, were to the implementation of SD. Following defined and agreed upon by various inter- increasing pressure from stakeholders, a Earth Observation in Support of national organizations in order to improve series of large businesses (www.wbcsd. Sustainable Development our quality of life, protect the environ- org) implemented SD principles within Results from a set of EO pilot proj- ment, and fight global poverty and hunger. their business practices and adopted a ects are presented in this section to illus- This agreement in turn led to the develop- new type of reporting along the “triple trate the potential of EO information ment of a set of quantifiable indicators to bottom line” (i.e. economic, social, across a variety of thematics related to environmental), which is now routinely SD, ranging from the management of used by large corporate players as a the production of energy from solar Pierre-PhilippeAgency, ESA/ESRIN European Space Mathieu, PhD benchmark to offer guarantees of trans- plants to the sustainable exploitation of Frascati, Italy parency and accountability. forests and mines. The trials have been One of the key challenges to imple- performed in partnership with users i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m24
  • 25. tricity, mainly through large dams. One key advantage of hydropower over other types of “intermittent” renewable energy is its ability to store energy and therefore to manage peak load demand. However, one major drawback of large dam infra- structures is often their large impact on the environment (creation of large flooding areas, damaging of ecosystems, fragmentation of wildlife habitat), and on local communities (displacement of population). This makes the construction of some dams a very controversial issue, as stakeholders have begun to question whether their positive effects (electricity, availability of water, control of floods) outweigh their negative social and envi- ronmental impacts. To address this question, it is impor- tant to assess the environmental impact (negative and positive) of large hydro- power infrastructures, not only prior to the construction of the dam (to get a building permit), but also after construction on a continuing basis. In this context, a pilot project has been set up at the Cana Brava hydro- power plant in Brazil, in partnership with international industrial groups, such as GDF SUEZ, Tractebel Engi- neering, and Tractebel Energia, to explore how EO-based SD indicators can help to assess the cumulative envi- ronmental impact of the dam. Based on requirements from users, four SD indi- cators derived from optical EO data (Figure 1 ) were quantified to address issues related to land use change, biodi-SS F ig u r e 1. Development around the Cana (ESA), which aims to foster the use versity, socio-economic dynamic, and Brava dam in Brazil as seen from space. of EO data in business activities by risk of erosion. These SD indicators Colour composite from SPOT5 data with an overlay map of the biodiversity index supporting demonstration projects. were shown to be quite useful in under- illustrating the development of the site standing changes induced by the dam, between 2007 and 2003. Service providers (1) Assessing the Impact of Large revealing new regions of economic devel- are CAP CONSEIL, KEYOBS and NADAR. Hydropower Plants opment (inducing land-use changes) Courtesy Spot Image. The energy of moving water has been where people have been displaced or harnessed for millennia for a variety where people were attracted. of purposes, ranging from powering Tony Moens de Hase, Sustainablefrom the private sector and the geo- mills that produce flour from grain to Development Officer for Tractebel Engi-information service industry within pumping water into irrigation networks. neering (Belgium), says, “There are twothe framework of the Earth Observa- Today, hydropower is mainly used to main reasons why we want to exploretion Market Development (EOMD) generate electricity, supplying up to 20% the potential of EO in the monitoringprogram of the European Space Agency of the production of the world’s elec- of hydroelectricity infrastructure. Onei m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 25
  • 26. help FSC certification bodies to be more Such capability of space assets has effective in evaluating and monitoring been recognized in the WSSD statement compliance with certification require- ments in set aside areas.” calling for wider use of EO technologies to support water and disaster (3) Supporting Sustainable Mining Operations and Rehabilitation management, but their operational use Many large mining companies are now to implement SD remains limited. A few taking significant steps in the direction of examples illustrating the potential of EO SD, and in particular regarding the pres- ervation of biodiversity during and after for implementation of SD and reporting operations. In order to reduce the negative are provided below, with a particular impact of mining, these companies now rehabilitate sites when they are no longer focus on the private sector. used, either by regenerating habitats such as growing forest and vegetation, or by is technical accessibility: large reservoirs naturally regenerate. This process needs transforming the site to support local have a big area of influence and you do to be certified by independent accredita- communities, such as creation of recre- not have any other way to survey it all. tion organizations like the Forestry Stew- ation areas or protected parks. Second is objective data over time: there ardship Council (FSC, a leader in setting In this context, several pilot projects is a demand for spatially and temporally standards, principles and guidelines for have been performed in partnership with homogeneous data on all infrastructures SFM) if logging companies want to get Rio Tinto Alcan and Lafarge across five owned by the company to form a sound public and consumer recognition for sites in Africa, the U.S. and Australia. For basis for reporting on SD actions not SFM practices. Three EO pilots of forest each site, the project aimed to deliver a influenced by local contingencies.” mapping were performed in partnership variety of EO products in order to assess with timber companies: York Timbers conformity of mining operations with (2) Towards Sustainable Organization Ltd, Congolaise Interna- engagement and environmental rules and Management of Forests tionale du Bois, and Orsa Group. These to check progress of rehabilitation activi- Tropical forests are among the companies, leading producers of timber ties. The EO products from RADARSAT richest and most diverse ecosystems on or pulp and paper, implemented sustain- (MDA Corporation, Inc., Vancouver, the planet, providing vital resources to ability practices and got accreditation B.C.) and IKONOS (GeoEye, Dulles, Va.) millions of people. Unfortunately this from FSC. helped the mining companies to manage precious ecosystem is rapidly disap- In the framework of the pilot, timber operation and also to provide data for pearing. One reason is the rapid growth companies were provided with a set of reporting on sustainability, in particular of industrial logging for timber produc- basic forest mapping services, which in regions like Africa where in-situ data tion. Another big pervasive problem, allowed them to identify and select “hot are sparse. causing enormous damage to forests spots” requiring special attention, such as Ms. Sharon Lee, Corporate Tech- and poor local communities, is “illegal clear cut, and illegal road networks poten- nical Services of Lafarge (Canada), logging,” whereby timber is harvested tially pointing to illegal logging activities. says, “EO solutions show all-in-one and sold in violation of national regu- This service helped the companies to opti- spatial information of impacts and how lations protecting the forest. This mize their field work and thereby reduce they are managed. Elevation data and problem has now reached a large scale the cost to demonstrate that the forest is the incorporation of other multidisci- and is very difficult to halt due to the managed according to the SFM principles plinary information ease interpretation. technical difficulty in identification of and national regulations. So, the use of EO solutions is undoubt- illegally logged or traded timber. Hubert de Bonafos, ASI accre- edly time effective.” An alternative way to slow down dition services (Germany), says, “For EO also demonstrated its value as degradation of forests is through Sustain- FSC certification, EO data can provide a tool of communication to support able Forestry Management (SFM), an additional and innovative reliable dialogue with stakeholders about sustain- whereby only a few groups of trees within source of information to be used by able mining operations. For example, the concession (and outside protected certificate holders for better demonstra- Figure 2 shows a 3D virtual scene of the areas) are selected to be harvested, up to tion of compliance with FSC principles current mining and rehabilitation plan a level of yield that allows the forest to and criteria over time. EO analysis can at the Awaso site based on EO. As Mr. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m26
  • 27. all together, to determine the best solution through dialogue.” Conclusion Monitoring from space provides a new tool to manage SD, as it provides a cost- effective source of global, consistent, and verifiable environmental data, which nicely complements and sometimes enhances traditional local in-situ measurements. EO pilot projects focusing on the private sector and addressing some of the key themes of SD, such as the sustainable exploitation of energy and natural resources, have highlighted the value and limitations of EO data to objectively assess changes in the envi- ronment and the cumulative footprint of global business activities. These projects provide stakeholders with rapid “third party” checks on sustainability of operations, even in the most remote or difficult-to-access regions. They also help SD managers to opti- mize resources and deployment of in-situ surveys by identifying “hot-spots” of change, where more detailed information is needed. Also, the consistency in time and space of EO data, associated with a transparent processing, offers a useful guarantee of quality of the data, which is critically needed as stakeholders (some- times with diverging interests) across the globe can have different views on the posi- tive or negative impact of business activi- ties. Finally, satellite imagery provides a powerful communication tool to supportSS F ig u r e 2 . Development of the Awaso Mark Annandale, Community Relations dialogue with stakeholders by putting mining site in Ghana as seen from space, Manager at Rio Tinto Alcan (Australia), environmental issues in a spatial context. radar image of the topography of the water says, “EO solutions provide essential tools For the future, the availability of shed basin (from Radarsat), overlaid with a 3D perspective of the site derived from to share views among multidisciplinary operational services will be improved IKONOS images (acquired on June 28, 2006). stakeholders and to communicate on through projects such as the ESA Sentinel The high-resolution optical image highlights social responsibility efforts and achieve- missions to be launched from 2012 under a variety of features, like the actual pit, ments. EO helps to visualize a site evolu- the EC-ESA joint initiative for Global roads, basin, and a rehabilitated area in tion in a very realistic and reliable way and Monitoring of Environment and Security the place of the old mine with a golf course and vegetation cover. Service providers are to detect anomalies to be further analyzed (GMES). This and other systems bode VIASAT Geotechnologies, MIR Teledetection on the ground. This vision complements well for the considerable potential of and MEDIALAND. Courtesy Radarsat and traditional methods. Also, EO solutions space-based remote sensing to assist SD GeoEye. ease stakeholders’ dialogue as they allow monitoring. With the new generation of visualizing of several thematics on a sole satellite missions providing enhanced spec- 3D topography map. Multidisciplinary tral, temporal, and spatial capabilities, the experts get to exchange on a shared basis potential is likely to grow significantly.i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 27
  • 28. The GEOSS User Requirement Registry Supporting a User-Driven Global Earth Observation System of Systems The World Summit on Sustainable Development held in 2002 in of humankind are informed by coor- Johannesburg, South Africa re-emphasized the need to know the state and dinated, comprehensive and sustained the trends of the Earth system in order to support decision making that would lead Earth observations and information.” to a sustainable course of the environment and our societies. At their annual meet- Bridging the gap between science and ing in 2003 in Évian-les-Bains, the Group of Eight (G8) took up the challenge in technology on the one side and end the G8 Action Plan “Science and Technology for Sustainable Development” and users in many societal areas on the other agreed to “Strengthen international cooperation on global observation.” Increas- side is crucial for progress towards this ing interoperability of existing infrastructure and closing gaps in the observations vision. The 10YIP requests that GEOSS systems were seen as key steps towards more coordination. is implemented as a user-driven system responding as far as possible to the needs Then in June 2003, representatives of 33 of end users and decision makers. GEO is governments participated in the first Earth Editor’s Note: Seethat EO is used for page 24 about ways related story on asked to establish mechanisms to collect Observation Summit (EOS) in Washington, Sustainable Development. user needs, and to use this information as D.C. and established the ad hoc Group on a driver for the development of GEOSS. Earth Observations (ad hoc GEO) with the change challenging sustainable develop- mandate to develop a ten-year implement- ment, they gave the ad hoc GEO only 18 A Truly Global Effort ation plan for a Global Earth Observing months to prepare this plan. The second At the 2005 Brussels EOS, the System of Systems (GEOSS). Guided by EOS held in 2004 in Tokyo identified nine ministers decided to establish the the urgency of improving our knowledge societal Benefit Areas (SBAs, see Box 1 on GEO with the mandate to implement about the Earth system and the global page 33) of Earth observations and asked GEOSS. Since then, GEO has grown the ad hoc GEO to ensure that the imple- continuously and has today more than mentation plan would address the needs 80 Member Countries, and more than By Hans-Peter Plag, PhD Research Professor of these nine SBAs as well as the cross- 55 Participating Organizations. During Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and cutting needs. By the time the third EOS the last five years, four Committees, Seismological Laboratory in February 2005 came together in Brus- more than 70 Work Plan Task teams, Reno, Nev. sels to endorsed the 10-Year Implementa- and a number of Communities of Prac- tion Plan (10YIP), which had been iterated tice have worked intensely to build the Gary Observations Systems Executive Earth Foley, PhD in six international plenary meetings and infrastructure that would help to realize Environmental Protection Agency numerous meetings of working groups, the the full benefits of Earth observations in Washington, D.C. ad hoc GEO had grown to more than 50 the nine SBAs. Annual plenary meetings Member Countries and nearly 50 Partici- bringing together high-level representa- Greg Ondich, PhD Engineer Senior Environmental pating Organizations. tives of the governments of the Member Countries and the Participating Orga- Justin Kaufman Web/Database Developer For the Benefit of Humankind nizations give guidance and direction to The Scientific Consulting Group, Inc. The 10YIP states that “The vision the work of these components of GEO. Gaithersburg, Md. for GEOSS is to realize a future wherein The “Capetown Declaration” adopted decisions and actions for the benefit by the Ministerial Summit on Earth i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m28
  • 29. Observations in 2007 in Capetown, SouthAfrica, recognizes the importance of Earthobservations for sustainable developmentand confirms the view of the MemberCountries that sustained Earth observa-tions are crucial for sustainable develop-ment. Currently, GEO is preparing for themid-term review of GEOSS by the nextEOS, which will take place in November2010, in Beijing, China. Meeting the many challenges tosustainable development requires morecomprehensive, timely, and accessibleEarth observations. The challenges tosustainable development in the nineSBAs are many, and for most of them, 1coping with the challenges dependsheavily on environmental informa-tion. For example, land use planning SS Figure 1 . Interferogram showing the surface displacement during the devastating January 12,aiming to reduce the degradation or 2010, earthquake in Haiti. The image is available on the Supersite Web Page of GEO with links toloss of ecosystems and to halt the rapid the Haiti web page maintained by JAXA.extinction of species and reduction in 2biodiversity requires information on thedistribution of ecosystems, habitats ofspecies, and changes over time in these,and it depends on detailed informationon land use. Likewise, land use planningfor sustainable agriculture and reduc-tion of food shortages needs environ-mental information, including climateand weather conditions. For the plan-ning of adaptation to climate change andthe reduction of climate change impactssuch as sea level rise, accurate informa-tion about current trends and reliableestimates of future trajectories have tobe provided to decision makers. Risk management and disaster reduc- SS Figure 2 . GEOSS is addressing the information needs in nine SBAs.tion for geohazards such as earthquakes,volcano eruptions, landslides, andtsunamis depend on the understanding to society and early warnings are crucial such as geothermal, wind, wave, and solarand monitoring of the hazards, for which, for impact mitigation and loss reduction. energy is a crucial input for the develop-for example, accurate observations of the Reducing the impacts of many infec- ment of reliable and sustainable supplies ofdeformations of the solid earth are manda- tious or chronic diseases, such as malaria, energy. Changes in our environment, suchtory (Figure 1). Mounting water scarcity, meningitis, cholera, dengue, asthma, as chemicals, dust, and other contami-particularly of potable water, in many and rhinitis depends on understanding nants in our water and air, also have nega-parts of the world necessitates improved the relationship between environmental tive impacts on humans that can be under-water management, which depends on parameters and the occurrence of these stood and reduced only if these changesinformation about water quantity, usage, diseases, and monitoring of outbreaks are sufficiently monitored and assessed.and quality. Extreme weather events and early warnings are crucial steps for GEO is comprehensively consideringsuch as hurricanes, tornados, floods, and meeting these challenges. Mapping the all these challenges and with GEOSSdroughts pose a severe and growing threat availability of renewable energy sources aims to provide Earth observation datai m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 29
  • 30. and decision-support tools to a wide vation. These first three registries focus well as by the observation requirements variety of users, particularly in the primarily on the contributors to GEOSS. corresponding to these needs. There- nine SBAs (Figure 2). The GEO Portal The fourth registry, the User fore, a versatile infrastructure that could provides a unique entrance point to a Requirements Registry (URR) is the answer questions about what users need global network of services, data sets newest addition to the GEOSS regis- from GEOSS is a key element of the GCI. and products (Figure 3 ). tries and it is a unique place for users This versatile infrastructure is the URR, to publish their needs in terms of Earth which connects users to GEOSS. The Core of GEOSS observations and derived informa- The URR contains information on At the core of GEOSS is the GEOSS tion. The URR also makes available user types, applications, requirements, Common Infrastructure (GCI), which tools for the analysis of value chains and the links among these entities informs users in the nine SBAs about and networks from Earth observations (Figure 6). It links to the Components available Earth observations, data sets, to end users and thus informs both and Services Registry providing infor- models, and products (see Figure 4). The the providers and end users about the mation about the available products. GCI includes four registries that enable connections between observations, A fully populated URR and GEOSS users of Earth observations to search, applications, and societal benefits. Components and Services Registry will discover, access, and use the data, informa- allow the identification of gaps between tion, tools, and services available through User Needs and GEOSS user requirements and available prod- GEOSS (see Figure 5). Three of these four The 10YIP emphasizes the intention ucts and thus provides a basis for the registries, the GEOSS Components and for GEOSS to be user-driven in order to prioritizing of user needs. Services Registry, the GEOSS Standards serve the needs of users in a wide range and Interoperability Registry, and the Best of SBAs. To build GEOSS as a truly A Versatile Component of GEOSS Practices Wiki, collect information related user-driven system, the development The URR provides tools for the collec- to the available services and products, as must be guided by a set of explicitly tion, sharing, and analysis of user needs well as information needed to ensure known user needs in the nine SBAs, as and Earth observation requirements. At the core of the URR is a comprehensive database describing the User Types in the Bridging the gap between science and nine SBAs; the Applications that depend technology on the one side and end on Earth observations and products or users in many societal areas on the information derived from Earth observa- tions; and the qualitative and quantitative other side is crucial. Requirements in terms of Earth observa- 3 interoperability among all the different services contributing to GEOSS. The Components and Services Registry, which was developed and is maintained by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), provides essential details about the components and services contributed to GEOSS by governments and orga- nizations. The Standards and Interop- erability Registry is a reference data- base of interoperability arrangements that enables contributors to GEOSS to configure their systems so that they can share information with other systems. The GEOSS Best Practices Wiki was created for the aggregation and commu- nity review of best practices in all fields of Earth observation, and it is provided by the IEEE Committee on Earth Obser- i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m30
  • 31. tions and derived information. The data- data and information systems to improve populated with the information extractedbase includes an extendable Lexicon with strategies for the prevention and control from reports for the two SBAs of Disastersthe vocabulary used and Reference to of meningitis epidemics in Africa. The (specifically landslides, earthquakes, andliterature with more background infor- GEO data are helping to map the popula- floods) and Health (specifically air qualitymation. A new addition also allows the tion at risk for meningitis, provide earlier and health, aeroallergens, and infectiouspublishing of Research Needs, and the and timelier warning of the occurrence diseases). After this initial population wasaddition of a form for Technology Needs of epidemics, monitor the efficacy of the completed, the URR was launched foris under consideration. vaccines, and predict changes in the distri- testing by a broader audience. The novel concept, which distin- bution that may result from environmental Feedback from users revealed theguishes the URR from many, if not all, or climate changes. necessity of extensive tutorials in supportother registries of user requirementsis the information captured in the 4Links form. Here, links between anypairs of individual entries for UserTypes, Applications, Requirements,Research Needs, and Lexicon canbe published. Besides the sourceand target entries, information onthe societal benefits associated withthe link and the implementationstatus can be provided. As the URRevolves, the powerful nature of thisconcept is slowly becoming moreobvious as it allows users to answermany questions, such as: ºº “Who is using my data?” ºº “On what applications do I directly or indirectly depend?” ºº “What requirements need to be met in order to make these applications work?” For a practical illustration of how WW Figure 3 . The GEO Portal giving access to SS Figure 4. Conceptual operationalthe URR links user types, applications, metadata for a global network of services, view diagram of the GEOSS Common datasets, and products. Infrastructure (GCI) and its relationshipand Earth observation requirements, we to observations and observation-basedconsider the example of a public health products and end users in the nine SBAs.official (i.e., the user type), who may beinterested in numerical weather prediction(i.e., the application) to provide wind fore- An Open System Inviting Peer of those who want to publish their needs,casts every three hours (i.e., the require- Contributions applications and requirements. Thesement) to help prevent or reduce airborne The URR is designed to be popu- tutorials are designed to walk usersdiseases (Figure 7). In this example, the lated by peer contributions. Users in through the various workflows and toGEO meningitis vaccination and control the GEO community and beyond have explain the underlying concepts. Usereffort in Africa (the Meningitis Environ- to contribute in order to make the URR feedback confirmed considerable interestmental Risk Information Technologies a utility truly representing the Earth in a fully populated URR, and indicatedProject) is helping African health offi- observation needs of society. a wide range of questions users wouldcials link forecasts of drought and dry Initially, the URR is being populated like to ask the URR.spells (i.e., a link between an application using information collected in SBA-and requirements) in the Sahel zone with specific reports prepared by a GEO Work Many Benefits of the URRdisease outbreaks in central Africa. Plan Task (US-09-01a) based on published As mentioned before, the key innova- GEO is facilitating efforts to combine literature discussing user needs. During tive element of the URR is the ability to linkEarth observations with public health the development phase, the URR was user types to applications, applications toi m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 31
  • 32. requirements, requirements to products, products to observations, and all of these to system components. By introducing this simple but very flexible data model of “knots” and “links,” the construction and analysis of value chains, networks of value chains, dependency networks, and so on, are possible. The URR helps connect the processes, individuals, and dependencies that support decision making through Earth observations. The system performance specifications allow the matching of the user- and system- related components against each other to facilitate a gap analysis. In the next stage of URR development, algorithms for gap analysis will be added to the registry, and 5 the output of these algorithms can provide a basis for informing decisions on GEOSS SS Figure 5 . An object-interaction diagram depicting the major relationships between the GCI development priorities. component services and selected external resources (modified from GEO Secretariat “Portal Process Document,” Feb. 2008). Linking GEOSS to the Users As a user-driven system, GEOSS 6 needs to engage users. The URR is designed to be one of the key entry points for user engagement. GEO is discussing a registration system for users of GEOSS. Most likely, the registration will be global and scalable, so that any user can register in any of the GEOSS components and is then known globally in GEOSS. Combining this registration system with the URR will open many new opportunities for social and expert networking, which will further increase the versatility of the URR. The best way to test the URR is by entering information. Thus, users can assist in the further development of the URR in two ways: (1) by publishing infor- mation in the various URR forms; and (2) by providing comments on the overall URR design and logic flow. A comments field is available on each URR form to provide feedback on individual entries and a questionnaire is available online to provide more overall comments. The potential of GEOSS is signifi- SS Figure 6 . The URR provides forms to publish user-related information (blue boxes) and cant for supporting sustainability and vocabulary (green). System-related information is in the GEOSS Component and Services resilience, managing increasingly scarce registry (schematically indicated with the black boxes). In combination, the GEOSS registries resources, and saving lives and property. include comparisons of system performance to specifications, identification of gaps, and For example, GEOSS helps to improve prioritization of requirements (red boxes). i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m32
  • 33. 7 Box 1 Societal Benefit Areas of Earth Observations. DISASTERS: Reducing loss of life and property from natural and human-induced disasters HEALTH: Understanding environmental factors affecting human health and well being SS Figure 7. Links between user types, applications, and requirements for the example of ENERGY: Improving management of infectious diseases. energy resources CLIMATE: Understanding, assessing, predicting, mitigating, and adapting to water management and reduce the GEO needs your input and involve- climate variability and change number of people without access to clean ment not least as a user of Earth obser- WATER: Improving water resource and sufficient drinking water; enables vations or derived information who management through better early warning for diseases such as malaria, knows best what type of products understanding of the water cycle Rift Valley fever, and meningitis; improves would enable or support you in what- WEATHER: Improving weather information, forecasting, and warning forecasts for aeroallergens; supports the ever you do. Therefore, we reach out exploitation of renewable energy sources; to individuals and communities and ECOSYSTEMS: Improving the management and protection of terrestrial, and informs risk management to reduce ask them to visit the URR at www. coastal, and marine ecosystems disasters due to natural hazards. However, and publish relevant AGRICULTURE: Supporting sustainable in its effort to build a GEOSS that utilizes information they may have. Eventually, agriculture and combating desertification the full societal benefits of Earth obser- broad participation will turn the URR BIODIVERSITY: Understanding, vations, GEO depends on the input from into a very powerful piece in the dialog monitoring, and conserving biodiversity users in all areas of society including you. between society and GEO.i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 33
  • 34. Ken Potter, Keystone Aerial Surveys To excel in the competitive aerial surveying market, Ken Potter knows that his organization has to fly projects quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively. That is why he chooses the high-performance UltraCam for digital-image acquisition at Keystone Aerial Surveys. UltraCam sensor systems feature a rapid frame rate and extraordinary image footprint. The vast amount of pixels across each frame means fewer necessary flight lines. Additional features include exchangeable, high-capacity storage devices for longer missions and cutting-edge technology to produce quality, accurate imagery. And every UltraCam system includes the powerful UltraMap photogrammetric workflow software UltraCamXp that now features highly automated, project-based color balancing. Visit to see i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 34 why Keystone Aerial Surveys and many other leading aerial surveyors fly the UltraCam!©2010 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft, UltraCam, UltraCamXp, UltraMap and Vexcel Imaging GmbH are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
  • 35. DataParadox Information Sharing Incongruities in the Intelligence Community T h e u lt i m at e va lu e o f s pat i a l data i s i n i t s u se , fac i li tat e d by sharing. In other words, a piece of data used once has value to the ana- Richard Heimann Researcher, ITT Corporationlyst or decision maker who took advantage of its accessibility. In a sense, the data Liaison Officer Special Projects Lead,has satisfied its purpose. Further to the point, if ten people were to use that same NJOIC Pentagon www.itt.compiece of data, its utility has effectively increased by a factor of ten. @rheimann (Twitter) It is logical to assume that this trendcontinues; the greater the number ofpeople who use the data, the greaterthe utility of the data. Data, however,are not shared without the media-tion of people, if only through policy.Therefore, data sharing is both a hardinteroperability challenge with tech-nical considerations to facilitate storageand transfer, and a soft (social) interop-erability challenge with considerationsto the organization of data and people. To a greater extent, the reformswithin the Department of Defense(DoD) and the Intelligence Commu-nity (IC) have revolved around the 9/11Commission Report’s recommendationto share information. The breakdownof the national security apparatus, thereport explains, was due to failures ofsharing information in “quick, imagina-tive, and agile” manners. The creation SS F ig u r e 1. This chart shows the relationship between the amount of information (Items ofof the National Intelligence Director Information), accuracy of the handicappers’ prediction of the first place winners (Accuracyand of the Information Sharing Envi- Correct First Place Selections), and the handicappers’ confidence in their predictionsronment (Intelligence Reform Act of (Confidence). More information leads to overconfidence yet doesn’t improve on predictability2004) are clear steps to ensure standard and may lead to being closed off to falsification.i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 35
  • 36. information sharing throughout the Intelligence Community and to institu- tionalize a culture of sharing. However, in the midst of all the enthusiasm, few seem concerned with the somewhat darker implications of such measures for analysts and deci- sion makers alike. Information sharing as an end, instead of a beginning, over- looks key elements: how analysts and decision makers consume data, and the cognitive processes that are involved SS F ig u r e 2 . The Paradox of Choice is about the relationship between the number of choices in acquiring situational awareness; the (Number of Choices) and user satisfaction (Satisfaction). The curve reflects the decisive points social processes of data sharing; the where the increase in the number of choices no longer has the expected effect. The stationary psychological and behavioral obstacles point is where the gradient of the curve is zero. Notice that as choice increases, satisfaction and in many cases decisions flatten and ultimately weaken. that exist when the number of choices the goal. When context is transferred The social layer should be built into the and the selection of information sources infrastructure to improve information facilitated, good analysts tend to want more data to complement and even sharing, with special considerations falsify the data that already exist within to the psychological, behavioral, and an analytical framework. When an analyst operates in the new information- cognitive processes of information sharing environment, the data paradox consumption and analysis. is real. Without context, users of such a system have difficulty reducing data to reach a critical mass; and how problems the vague feeling that information and a dimensionality that is manageable and of induction limit our ability to predict meaning may prove to be something like are quickly overrun with choice. unexpected events of large magnitude. a pair of canonically conjugate variables Probabilistically, it is reasonable to The 9/11 Commission’s emphasis in quantum theory, they being subject to assume that a decision maker could on information sharing, either spatial some joint restriction that condemns a choose the correct resources or make or aspatial, consigns users to passive person to the sacrifice of the one as he the correct inferences when there are consumption, which can have cata- insists on having much of the other.” few choices. If five variables are being strophic results. The passive consumer The excessive increase in the number considered, there is a 20% chance, if is systematically decoupled from data of information choices soon becomes only by luck, that a correct choice will production. It is no coincidence that untenable and intractable. The increase in be made. However, as the number of the CIA, as well as many other intelli- choice becomes a data paradox; contrary choices increases, the probability of gence organizations, often houses data to the conventional wisdom, more data making the correct choice decreases. production with data consumption. It is choices do not always lend themselves to This doesn’t account for the often in this paradigm that context is securely better decision making or more accurate several interpretations of the intelli- and reliably transferred from producer predictions. The more data choices one gence data. In many cases, users natu- to consumer; in other words, it is trans- has, the slower one performs, or at least rally know the key variables, but when ferred from person to person. This inti- the harder one has to perform to keep asked to make better predictions with mate connection is representative of the pace and to prevent overload. more, albeit unfamiliar data and ignore organic nature of information sharing. Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen, from the implicit rules of parsimony, users do The dilemma faced with system- Alice in Wonderland, proclaims, “Now, not perform as well. atic decoupling is the decontextualiza- here, you see, it takes all the running you One such experiment serves to illus- tion of information. American scientist can do, to keep in the same place. If you trate the point. Dr. Paul Slovic (1973) Warren Weaver, a pioneer in machine want to get somewhere else, you must demonstrated this phenomenon in the translation, studied the statistical struc- run at least twice as fast as that!” So it Behavioral Problems of Adhering to a Deci- ture of language, namely the influence is in managing data, though this seems sion Policy with experienced horse race of context. Warren Weaver has “… true only when information sharing is handicappers. With only five variables to i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m36
  • 37. predict horse performance, the handicap- The 9/11 Commission’s own report as “…a matter of somehow keeping one’spers were confident and promptly cali- suggests that failure to grasp the head above water in a tidal wave of docu-brated their accuracy, but they became significance of information was more ments, whose factual content must beoverconfident as additional informa- important than the lack of information processed.” Kendall cautions readers oftion — 10, 20, and 40 variables — was sharing. Therefore, data consumption, Sherman Kent’s The Theory of Intelligencerequired to make their predictions. In not data production, appears to be the warning that there is limited “ability offact, some of the eight experienced horse greatest challenge facing the DoD and our science to supply the sort of knowl-race handicappers performed worse when IC and the challenges seem to be getting edge which Mr. Kent and his clientsmore variables were offered to make larger. According to the International needed.” The job of analysts quicklypredictions. All, however, were increas- Data Corporation (IDC), the “Digital becomes that of passive consumers ofingly confident in their judgments as Universe” will expand to 1.8 zettabytes large stockpiles of data. Sharing decon-more variables were incorporated, likely (ZB) by 2011, or almost two billion textualized data, however, produces aresulting in the exclusion of diverse view- terabytes. The IC is publishing over negative network externality.points. See Figure 1. 50,000 intelligence reports each year In other words, the action of Analysts cannot accurately under- and the nearly 900,000 personnel with sharing data without context eventu-stand the environment when overrun top-secret security clearances produce ally imposes a negative side effect onwith choice, let alone make accurate more and more data every day. others in the network; as more andpredictions. The 9/11 Commission Moreover, the U.S. intelligence budget more data are shared, more data mustaccurately summarized the inability to was publicly announced last year as $75 be processed and reprocessed over andconnect the dots. The Paradox of Choice billion, 2 1/2 times the size it was on Sept. over by every user. The problem for one(Schwartz, 2004) and the undressing of 10, 2001. This expansion has enabled the analyst quickly becomes the problem ofcontext both became formidable obsta- creation of new sensors, data centers, many. The IDC reports that by 2020 thecles and eventually resulted in fewer collection methods, and more personnel “Digital Universe” will be an estimateddecisions, perhaps even no decisions to create even more data. Willmoore 35ZBs. That is growth by a factor ofbeing made. See Figure 2 . It is clear that Kendall, author of the decisive The Func- 44. Will the DoD or the IC see a 44information sharing increases choice, tion of Intelligence writes of the practical times increase in the number of analystsbut does it help with decisions? effect of this extreme growth for analysts or decision makers? It is unlikely. The logic of information sharing requires some serious review and skepticism. To be clear, this article does not argue against information sharing; analysts and decision makers need access sometimes to large volumes of information and should have access to the data wherever it resides, whenever it is needed. The synthesizing of these data in rapidly developing environ- ments requires a community effort. Challenges of Haiti During the Haiti earthquake, the paradox of choice and the need for building a conceptual framework for the data paradox became apparent. The dynamic nature of the Haiti earth- quake and similar events poses partic- ular obstacles, and highlights the largerSS F ig u r e 3 . Haiti image from USAID. The event often outpaced both authoritative data and deficiencies of information sharing. analysis and expectantly search and discovery. The best labors at careful estimates could The event often outpaced analysis and not be consumed in time. As Winston Churchill recalled of the hectic days of spring 1940 “... sat almost every day to discuss the reports... and conclusions or divergences were explained or sometimes even search and discovery. re-explained; and by the time this process was completed, the whole scene had often changed.” The construction of an accurate (Source: Churchill, The Gathering Storm, 1948.) common operation picture (map) provedi m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 37
  • 38. increasingly difficult. The accessibility of self-organization of people and data. community that are not accessible via our geospatial resources was relegated to a The uniform message is not appropriate strong ties and may conceptually be the number of poorly developed and imple- for all users, and the recipients of the interagency solution. The inability to mented portals and search instruments message do not contribute to its creation bridge structure holes within and among that often stored duplicative data and/ and cannot provide feedback, despite networks can contribute to some of the or returned fewer resources than would their knowledge. shortcomings in “connecting the dots.” When nodes are unable to bring two The increase in choice becomes a data different groups together, the commu- paradox; contrary to the conventional nity is left with isolated groups, unhinged from the rest of the network. wisdom, more data choices do not always lend themselves to better The Strength of Weak Ties decision making or more accurate Mark Granovetter’s (1973, 1983) seminal work The Strength of Weak Ties predictions. and later A Network Theory Revised demonstrate the strength of weak ties to have otherwise been discovered had users What is required is the ability for complement our knowledge rather than simply used their traditional means of users to self-organize around data, and replicate it. Strong ties tend already to social networking. See Figure 3. for the data to be reduced. Social media possess the same interests and qualities The issues with many of the existing have effectively reduced data to manage- that we possess. They have expected portals are twofold: first, these systems able dimensions, whether photos, news benefits but fail to deliver in critical ways. deliver only one message; second, they feeds, or geospatial data. A remarkable It is imperative to understand the creation are inadequate at stimulating conversa- benefit of these forms of media is their of these networks and to allow users the tion. These platforms lack the promise to capacity to exploit weak ties. Weak ties ability to organize without constraints. improve communication, as they neglect allow reaching portions of the intelligence Humanizing connectivity in ways that © 2010 CNES. Distribution Spot Image Corporation. Bagram Airfield, located in the SPOTMaps Parwan Province of Afghanistan Mission-Ready When You Are SPOTMaps are 2.5-meter, orthorectified basemap mosaics created with current imagery and processed to integrate directly with data in your viewing system. Ideal for Vis/Sim, planning, and other mission-critical applications. Available for purchase or by subscription, SPOTMaps are offered by the region, country or your custom AOI. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 38 More than 80 countries ready to download now. 8.375 x 5.4375” 3.1.10
  • 39. support decision-making and sense- making is required. See Figure 4. The ability to engineer a system that reduces the complexities of both data sharing and data interpretation is needed. Furthermore, analysts should be assisted in sense-making, which has been rather ignored in the rush to execute a culture of sharing. To accomplish these tasks, a larger emphasis should be placed on the natural way users share and analyze data. The placement of geographers should play a prominent role in the construction of such a system. Geographers are already acutely SS F ig u r e 4 . The Strength of Weak Ties and the dangers of Structural Holes within our social aware of the special nature of spatial networks have been grossly underestimated by the 9/11 Commission’s Report and current designers of enterprise government systems. Humanizing connectivity in ways that support data (Anselin, 1989) in both presenta- decision-making and sense-making is required. tion and analysis. Furthermore, geog- raphy is firmly placed within the realm single discipline. zational culture may be without founda- of the social sciences, which should be The design and implementation of large tion. Instead, the social layer should be considered in all aspects, but particularly enterprise systems that exclude a social built into the infrastructure to improve in aspects of social structure, mental layer is to a large extent a demonstration information sharing, with special consid- processing of information, and organiza- of technological determinism. The argu- erations to the psychological, behavioral, tional culture. The problems that face the ment that technological development will and cognitive processes of information community are too large and broad for a change the social structure and organi- consumption and analysis. Aircraft Activity Aircraft Missing (19) Movements of vehicles New Aircraft (28) Aircraft Moved (8) Movements of vehicles Helicopter in flight Movements of runway © 2010 CNES. Distribution Spot Image Corporation. Helicopter shadow construction vehicles 2009/10/22 Bagram Airfield, If anything changes, located in the Parwan Province of Afghanistan you’ll be the first to know Introducing SPOTMonitoring from Spot Image • Select targeted sites and monitoring frequency • Receive priority alerts through a secure online system • Expert image analysts do the work for you i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m Subscribe to SPOTMonitoring today, because change is inevitable. 39 Image_ImagingNotes: 8.375 x 5.4375” 5.6.10
  • 40. F r o m C h i n a to C h i l e a n d E v e ry w h e r e i n B e t w e e n R a p i d E y e m ay n ot b e t h e f i r s t n a m e t h at c o m es to m i n d w h e n yo u t h i n k o f E a r t h Observation (EO) imagery and services. However, the company has been around as a business concept for close to fifteen years, and by name for over ten. That still makes it the ‘new kid’ in this industry, or maybe even the underdog. Either way, the next year will prove to be a crucial time for RapidEye as it intensifies marketing efforts through every channel to get noticed, builds its brand recognition, and continues to demonstrate the quality and reliability of its products and services to generate a broader customer base. Kim Douglass Born out of interest by the DLR (the German Space Center) to Marketing Executive explore commercializing satellite-based Earth Observation in Germany, Markus Heynen Director of Marketing RapidEye has grown from a small core group of ten in Munich to a Brandenburg an der Havel,Germany dynamic team of over 130 professionals from over 20 countries. It has called the German city of Brandenburg an der Havel, just outside Berlin, its home since 2004. XX F ig u r e 1. Xinjiang Province, China, taken Classifying RapidEye as a company is challenging. Calling itself a August 2009. “Geospatial Information Provider,” which is an accurate though general way to describe it, you may not pick up on some of the more important aspects of the company and what it really does. Editor’s worldwide commercialstrives to cover the Note: Imaging Notes remote sensing companies equally and objectively. Other companies are featured regularly. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 40
  • 41. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 41
  • 42. While the business plan has been and deliver large areas through remote altered over the years to accommodate sensing. MacDonald, Dettwiler and a changing industry, one of the key Associates, Ltd (MDA) was the prime components has been static. RapidEye contractor for the RapidEye system and provides, and is dedicated to its service held the responsibility for all system concept of supplying customers with engineering and program management decision-making tools that provide rele- tasks. SSTL (Surrey Satellite Tech- vant information that can enhance the nology, Ltd) and Jena-Optronik were bottom line of the client. subcontracted by MDA to construct the In order to provide these services to the satellites and handle sensor assembly several industries that it targets, RapidEye and delivery, respectively. naturally uses EO imagery. This is where Launched in August of 2008 with a it gets interesting. RapidEye owns and shower of media attention locally and operates its own satellite constellation abroad, RapidEye’s five satellites were sent While it cannot compete with very high resolution (sub one-meter) image providers, that was never the intention. A different kind of niche market is served by RapidEye, one that can derive the information needed from images with a slightly lower spatial resolution, which is accompanied by lower imagery costs. and utilizes the imagery as the main data into space inside the cone of a DNEPR-1 source for its services. As an additional rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in revenue generator, it also markets and Kazakhstan. A picture-perfect launch led sells its imagery. to a successful faring separation, releasing Building two businesses under one the constellation into space. Over the roof is never an easy undertaking, but next weeks the satellites, which are about with an enthusiastic and dedicated team, the size of a household dishwasher and RapidEye is facing the challenges head-on, weigh just 150 kg (330 lbs) each, found and progress abounds on both fronts. their home in an orbit equally spaced 650 km (~400 miles) above the Earth. Party of Five Five satellites with the collective 2 If you find yourself at the front door capacity to image over 4 million km² (more of its headquarters in Germany, you can’t than 1.5 million square miles) and the miss the S-Band antenna that graces the ability to revisit any area on Earth daily, system on a daily basis, four million top of the prominent red brick building can obviously cover a lot of ground in a km2 is equal to the land mass east of the RapidEye occupies in the city center. very short time frame. This gives RapidEye Missouri River in the contiguous United From the outside, the antenna is the most imagery customers volumes of data from States. RapidEye’s collection capacity is visible part of the ground segment, which which to choose. Many areas around the more than four times what can be imaged is used to communicate with its constel- globe have been imaged several times, by its nearest competitor, and after only lation of five identical satellites. providing options to acquire imagery from fourteen months of being officially “open The RapidEye system was conceived, different seasons or the opportunity to for business,” the RapidEye Library had designed and developed based on the purchase a time series of images. already amassed over one billion square limitations of other commercially opera- To give you an idea of the sheer quantity kilometers of imagery. This is seven times tional satellite systems to collect, process of data that can be collected by RapidEye’s the land mass of Earth, and there’s more i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m42
  • 43. an obstacle or two. More than likely, RapidEye’s largest imagery project to date would be described by the team that executed and delivered it as a great success preceded by a series of challenges. The Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) for the People’s Republic of China has been utilizing remote sensing and satellite imagery to map and monitor their country for over ten years. For a ministry overseeing a country with a land mass stretching 9.6 million km², it would surprise no one that the MLR had never been able to acquire imagery of the entire area within one year. They were looking for a system that could deliver, and RapidEye nego- tiated through their Chinese distributor Beijing Earth Observation (BEO) to be able to take on the project. RapidEye’s Head of Operations would tell you that the challenges of taking on a task of that magnitude were not even apparent when the contract was signed to cover China. The contract was renegotiated over a matter of months, and eventually stipulated that the MLR wanted 80% of China (7.8 million km²) delivered within a 6-month time frame with a maximum of 10% cloud cover. Of course there were also specific areas that the MLR needed absolutely cloud free. For a satellite imagery and solutions company that had been commercially operational for only six months when the project began, this requirement can be described only as an ambitious under- F ig u r e 2 . This is Saldanha Bay, including West Coast National Park on the West Cape, South taking. As many who have worked in this Africa, taken Jan. 26, 2010. business will tell you, theoretical applica- tion always has a tendency to leave out a little bit of reality when applied practi-imagery to choose from every day. RapidEye, one that can derive the informa- cally, especially when your biggest chal- Supplying five-meter pixel size imagery tion needed from images with a slightly lenge is Mother five spectral bands (blue, green, red, lower spatial resolution, which is accom- Historical cloud cover data andnear infrared and red-edge), the RapidEye panied by lower imagery costs. With GIS cloud forecasting played a primarysystem falls into the high-range resolu- systems finding their way into more and role when deciding where to imagetion category and is suitable for a myriad more businesses and with new applications in China. Originally, the Ministry ofof monitoring tasks for a wide range of being explored, this market is expanding. Land and Resources requested thatindustries. While it cannot compete with RapidEye begin collecting imagery onvery high resolution (sub one meter) image China in Your Hands a county-by-county basis. However,providers, that was never the intention. A As with many aspects of life, our after attempting to fulfill this request,different kind of niche market is served by proudest moments come after hurdling the under-utilization of the systemi m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 43
  • 44. and unfavorable weather conditions they were receiving on a daily basis. and the ability to reach a top speed of 185 thwarted this plan and the idea was When the imaging campaign hit full mph, and finding out that it really does do eventually scrapped in favor of a more swing and it was time to test the capa- what the manufacturer promised. opportunistic approach. bilities of the system, a team of RapidEye The satellites found themselves Once the weather situation was operators found themselves knee-deep in repeatedly covering China whenever more or less sorted out, then came the imagery. After only one month, almost weather conditions were good and challenges of quality control, cata- one-quarter of the project was delivered; other orders did not conflict in the loging and delivering large chunks of at the 60-day mark, the MLR had received planning schedule. Getting the low data, which RapidEye hadn’t dealt with 40% of their requested area, and by the or no cloud covered image of an area that needed to be obtained occasionally 3 required three, four or even five passes to capture an acceptable image. As one would suspect with the preceding statistics about the RapidEye system delivery, the project exceeded everyone’s expectations (including those of the team that created the initial collection plan). One month before the end of the collection window, the MLR had received 99.8% of their requested area with an average cloud cover of less than 6%. The Ministry of Land and Resources was suitably impressed by the RapidEye collection and delivery approach and will find themselves over the next months deciding whether it is necessary and within their budget to repeat the project. If so, RapidEye expects to be at the top of the list of considered providers, hoping that having completed the collection of China so well the first time will make them a shoo-in for round two. Making a Difference Early in the morning of Saturday, February 27, 2010, an earthquake and resulting tsunami hit the western coast of South America. With the epicenter south of the capital of Santiago, Chile, the quake measured 8.8 on the moment magnitude scale (MMS), causing the deaths of over 530 people near the epicenter, which included the town of Concepción. Knowing that this would prove to be a large natural disaster and that rescue, at this early stage. Luckily, the team end of the third month, over 75% of the recovery and future rebuilding efforts worked diligently to solve these steps imagery had been collected (5.85 million could benefit from the use of RapidEye’s in the delivery process, and an in-house km²). Having never pushed the system for imagery, planning was immediately software tool was designed to generate such a large area collection for a customer, altered for the daily collection from a semi-automated shape file to accom- the operators found that the experience the satellites to include the area around pany the data delivery. This helped the was a little like taking a Ferrari for a test Concepción. Less than 8 hours after the MLR to visualize quickly the imagery spin that promises enormous horse power earthquake hit, RapidEye had its satel- i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m44
  • 45. 4WW F ig u r e 3 . Camargue National Park in SS F ig u r es 4 . Morocco, taken Aug. 12, hit by an earthquake. Changes in vegeta- Southern France image was taken X 2010, in the area north of Assa. It is in the tion are clear in rural areas, flooding is Jan. 22, 2010. Ouarzazate province between the Anti-Atlas seen in urban areas and oceanic distur- and the High Atlas mountain ranges. bances can be observed. These before andlites over the area getting fresh imagery By the time business resumed on after images can also give the humani-of this suddenly devastated region. Monday morning in Europe, RapidEye tarian aid community an idea of where As the resulting images were being imagery was available for download the most destruction has occurred and, inprocessed, the archive was searched to emergency agencies to assist in relief turn, where more help may be needed.for images over the same region to efforts over the area; by noon, an internalsee if base imagery was available for team was beginning to analyze imagery An Ambitious Agendacomparison with the current imagery from before and after the quake. Since commercial operations of thetaken only hours before. By a stroke of The analysis of Concepción clearly constellation commenced in Februaryluck, the exact area had been imaged on shows how satellite imagery can be used 2009, RapidEye has undergone someJanuary 22, only four weeks earlier. to illustrate spatial distribution of an area significant changes, including the addi-i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 45
  • 46. 5 SS F ig u r es 5 . This is the north-eastern Additionally, the company has invested ten more distributors will be signed on, portion of Western Sahara, about 200 km in the power of the Internet by launching and RapidEye is expected to prepare a east of the town of Semara. It is in Northern its Geodata Kiosk, an e-commerce plat- framework contract with the National Africa, on the western border of the North form that allows for instant ordering and Geospatial-Intelligence Agency this fall. Atlantic Ocean. The desert is some of the most arid, inhospitable and sparsely delivery of RapidEye’s satellite imagery. Since a satellite system has a finite life- populated in the world. This image is also on Over 20 million km² of data, including time, plans to work on a second-genera- the cover; see page 6 for more information.X a vast majority of North America and tion system have already been discussed, Image taken Aug. 12, 2010. Europe, are available for download to even with the “wiggle room” that may anyone at any time. be available due to the extended lifetime of the system, which the latest telemetry tion of 50 employees and an office ‘Eyeing’ the Future suggests. However, contract negotiations in Washington D.C. under the name While RapidEye has not always had with a supplier look to be about two years RapidEye USA, LLC. an easy road and money hasn’t always away, likely to occur after decisions are Its distribution network, respon- been plentiful, it will be a company to made regarding system requirements. sible for selling RapidEye imagery and keep your eye on (no pun intended). Plans With all of the irons currently in the promoting its service business, has are in the works to expand its business fire, this company is ready to shake its grown to over 20 companies worldwide partnerships to include some additional ‘start-up’ status and move to the next and is continuously expanding. respected names in the industry; at least level of being a profitable business. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m46
  • 47. November 1 - 4, 2010 • Ernest N. Morial Convention Center • New Orleans, LouisianaCONFIRMED SPEAKERS Kevin P. Meiners Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense LTG Ronald L. Burgess Jr., U.S. Army (Portfolio, Programs Resources), Director, Defense Intelligence Agency Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Dawn Meyerriecks Assistant Director of National Gen. Bruce Carlson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.) Intelligence for Acquisition and Director, National Reconnaissance Office Technology, Office of the Director of National Intelligence Cheryl Roby The Honorable James R. Clapper Jr. Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Director of National Intelligence Networks and Information Integration; and DoD Chief Information Officer John C. (Chris) Inglis Fly in Sunday and stay through Thursday for these Deputy Director, National Security Agency great additions ... Jerseys Jeans Closing Celebration at the Louisiana Superdome Welcome Reception Thursday, Nov. 4 Lt. Gen. John C. Koziol, U.S. Air Force at Generations Hall Monday, Nov. 1 Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) for Joint and Coalition Warfighter Support; Director of the Department of Defense, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Task Force Letitia A. Long Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Now Register e! and Sav47 i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m Where Our National Security Begins… Not a Member? Join Today to Save on Registration Exhibit Space!
  • 48. Registration openThe established premier LIDAR event, attracting Organized by: In partnership with:professionals from around the world with one focusedobjective of sharing information on LIDAR technology Supported by:and Mobile Mapping i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 48Exhibitors include:
  • 49. Aerial CamerasFocus Shifts to Productivity E v e ry a e r i a l o r sat e lli t e i m ag e yo u see o n G o o g le E a r t h , manufacturers do not fully adhere to on The Weather Channel, or in the pages of this magazine was taken with those original definitions.a camera made by one of a handful of manufacturers that specialize in the sensors Larger format cameras are typicallyused for photogrammetry, remote sensing, and mapping — three growing markets used as stand-alone sensors for tradi-that are rapidly converging. Five years ago, the aerial imaging industry was focused tional wide-area mapping applications,mostly on the transition from analog film cameras to digital ones. Since, manufac- while medium format cameras are oftenturers have increased the productivity of their cameras, making significant im- used to augment lidar data. “This couldprovements in area coverage, image quality, and workflow — covering larger ar- be in the form of an ancillary dataseteas, at higher resolution, in less time. to confirm lidar classification accuracy or to create colorized RGB (red, green, The increased footprint saves users blue) point clouds,” explains Michaelmoney by allowing them to fly fewer lines. By Matteo Luccio, Writer Portland, Ore. Sitar, airborne products manager forWhile resolution has skyrocketed – for Optech. “Alternatively, they could beexample, medium-format sensors have delivered as classic orthomosaics, butgrown from 16 MP (megapixels) to 60 going forward,” says Ruediger Wagner, with lidar providing the digital surfaceMP in just five years – manufacturers are product manager of airborne imaging model (DSM) information directly.”focusing more and more on automating sensors for Leica Geosystems AG.the workflow — that is, on providing Manufacturerstheir customers with more efficient ways Formats Leica Geosystems, based in Heerbrugg,to extract, process, analyze, store, and The line between small, medium, Switzerland, specializes in airbornedistribute the massive amounts of data that and large format sensors has shifted imaging and lidar sensors, making metric,the latest generation of sensors capture. over time and will continue to shift or large and medium format cameras that In the future, some components, even blur. Some companies advertise are predominantly used in photogram-such as storage, will continue to shrink XX Figure 1 . Leica ADS80in size, while the swath width will Airborne Digital Sensor 1continue to increase. The next big tran-sition, however, will be to real-time, TT Figure 2 . Lucerne, Switzerland, at 5cm GSD,in-flight processing — which is espe- taken with a Leica ADS80cially important for rapid response, cameraemergency management, and intelli-gence, surveillance, and reconnaissance(ISR) applications. The military hasbeen experimenting with the ability tooff-load and process image informationin near real-time for situational aware- medium format cameras that have a 2ness, and this capability is beginning to larger footprint than their previousexpand to the commercial world. large format cameras. The definition Likewise, video, which has been was originally based on the size of theimportant in the military and intelligence sensor: 24 millimeters x 36 millime-markets, will eventually make its way to ters was small format, between thatthe commercial airborne photogrammetry and 60 millimeters x 90 millimetersmarket. “With the performance of many was medium format, and everythingframe cameras today, the step to video is bigger was large format. In the worldprobably relatively small and there will of digital airborne photogrammetryprobably be more activity in this regard and “virtual images,” however, ofteni m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 49
  • 50. metry, remote sensing, and all mapping mapping. They include the Trimble based in Graz, Austria, specializes in applications, says Wagner. The company’s Aerial Cameras and Trimble Digital frame-based, large and medium format large format camera works on the “push- Sensor System (DSS). The former are cameras for aerial mapping and surveying. broom” principle used in imaging satel- mapping-grade, metric medium format The large format cameras are called lites: it records a continuous strip, rather cameras for collection of high-resolu- UltraCamXp and UltraCamXp Wide than single frames. “The sensor features a tion visible and near-infrared imagery Angle; the photogrammetric medium single rigid lens system (one optical path), (NIR, RGB and CIR – color infrared). format camera is called UltraCamLp. very close integration with the GNSS/IMU They come in one-, two-, and four- The company’s large and medium format (global navigation satellite system/iner- head configurations and can be used cameras differ in price and footprint size, tial measurement unit) system, and thus stand-alone or integrated with lidar. thereby addressing different segments of has very high radiometric and geometric “The Trimble Aerial Camera is precise the market, says Jerry Skaw, marketing accuracy. Through the use of a tetrachroid and compact, and in fact has the best manager for Microsoft’s photogram- prism, it produces co-registered bands ratio of MP to weight and size in the metry products. See Figure 6. 3 SS Figure 3 . Leica ADS80 near-infrared image of Wannengrat, Davos, draped over a digital surface model derived from the same image data using the new Leica XPro SGM module 4 at equal resolution, so that our imagery XX Figure 4. Trimble Digital Sensor System (DSS), shown here in complete configuration including does not require pan-sharpening (which 60MP WideAngle camera, mounted on DSS Azimuth Mount combines the color information from a multi-spectral file with the geometric infor- industry,” says Adam Evans, product According to Pat McConnell, the mation from the panchromatic band). It manager for Trimble Applanix. company’s North America sales manager, serves both the remote sensing market and The Trimble DSS is a complete, Vexcel Imaging’s cameras feature leading the photogrammetric mapping market.” turnkey aerial mapping system that is PAN footprint size and offer radiometric See Figures 1-3. certified as mapping grade by the United dynamic, forward motion compensa- Leica Geosystems, according to States Geological Survey (USGS). Trimble tion by TDI (time delay integration) Wagner, is one of the few manufac- DSS consists of a camera, an inertial navi- in all cones, and fast frame rates. “We turers that offer a complete “in-house” gation system (INS), a GPS receiver, a provide a removable storage system that aerial mapping solution — including flight management system, and a complete enables pilots to maximize their flying flight management and post-processing post-processing workflow. The DSS Rapi- time,” says McConnell. “Together, these software, GNSS/IMU processing, and dOrtho workflow, which is designed for features give the best price per pixel.” His mounts. “We test our cameras very rigor- rapid response applications, can deliver company, he adds, offers a more complete ously for airborne applications,” he says. imagery within only a couple of hours line of cameras than other manufacturers, “We maintain and grow a very global of landing, according to Evans. The DSS including loaner cameras, and enables its support network and offer an upgrade DualCam captures both RGB and NIR customers to either trade a camera in or path, so that our customers can take data simultaneously and the DSS Tactical have it upgraded. advantage of new technology and at the Mapping system is used to acquire centi- Optech, a manufacturer of laser- same time protect their investment.” meter-level imagery from very high alti- based survey and imaging instruments Trimble, based in Sunnyvale, Cali- tudes. See Figures 4-5 . based in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, fornia, has a portfolio of medium Vexcel Imaging GmbH, Microsoft recently purchased DiMAC, a company format cameras designed for aerial Corporation’s photogrammetry division, that specializes in the design and manu- i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m50
  • 51. facture of medium and large format long-wave IR (infrared) sensors, which kinematic mounting design, a-thermalcameras. “There is industry recognition can be deployed alone or integrated in lenses, field-replaceable shutters, andthat the strong height accuracy available multi-sensor solutions. We build true DGX control and processing architec-from lidar, combined with the excellent metric systems on the leading edge of the ture, which integrates with various iner-planimetric accuracy of imagery, creates price/performance curve. Performance tial navigation systems and pre-processesa high-quality end product,” says Sitar. and productivity features include our imagery for the photogrammetric work-“We are now in a position to offer ourclients the benefit of both active and 5passive imaging solutions in either stand-alone or fully-integrated sensor products,all fully supported by a single vendor.We also incorporate small format inter-line cameras in many of our productsrequiring higher frame rates.” “Our DiMAC cameras,” Sitar adds,“utilize a patented approach to the imple-mentation of forward motion compensa-tion (FMC) to minimize pixel smearing,or image motion blur, caused by the move-ment of the sensing platform across thetarget. As charge-coupled device (CCD)pixels get smaller, the percentage of pixelsmear increases when flying at speed, allother factors remaining equal. You can usefaster shutter speeds to compensate, butthis requires a larger aperture to ensurecommensurate lighting of the CCD array,which can negatively impact image qualityradially. DiMAC cameras allow users tofly faster, lower, and for a longer periodof time, because they can utilize slower SS Figure 5 . Trimble DSS RapidOrtho, sample ortho image showing site of a propane plantshutter speeds, which produce better explosion in Toronto, Canada. DSS RapidOrtho is used by first responders and the military tolighting conditions, at the same time as prepare decision-ready ortho maps immediately upon landing, and individual orthos withina tighter aperture, which produces better seconds per image.image quality.” See Figure 7. Geospatial Systems, Inc. (GSI), based 6 flow. Also, our selection of sensor modulesin West Henrietta, New York, special- can be combined into solutions for nadirizes in airborne survey and mapping and oblique imaging.” See Figure 8 .(ASM) cameras — specifically, for lidar Z/I Imaging — now part of the Secu-augmentation, corridor mapping, and rity, Government Infrastructurenatural resources — as well as solutions (SGI) business unit of Intergraph,for ISR for defense and homeland secu- which is based in Huntsville, Alabamarity. “In the ASM market, rather than and was just acquired by Hexagon —competing with Vexcel Imaging and has developed, manufactured, and soldIntergraph in the large-format space, we digital aerial cameras for nearly ten years.operate in the small- and medium-format The first generation was the DMC, firstniche, where our cameras are typically sold in 2003, which is still flying, withused in conjunction with lidar,” says small investment for enhancements, saysBarry Cross, the company’s director of Klaus Neumann, the company’s productsales and marketing. “In addition to manager for sensor systems. “We are thecolor and panchromatic sensors, we also market leader in the United States, China, SS Figure 6 . Vexcel’s UltraCam from Microsoftprovide multi-spectral, mid-wave, and and Japan. Our latest digital mappingi m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 51
  • 52. camera, the DMC II, is the dream of and more reliable solid state disk storage. but for the same price that film cameras every surveyor because it has a single, “Our core systems would not be possible would have if they still existed.” monolithic, ultra-large CCD.” This, he without the advancements in the core explains, means that image data post- sensor technology,” says Cross. Challenges: Supporting Higher Res, processing does not require CCD stitching Two other important develop- Improving Workflows or image mosaicking, which requires ments, says Wagner, have been the Opinions vary as to the remaining finding enough features and structures international acceptance of direct geo- hardware, software, and workflow chal- lenges. As Wagner sees it, most of the There is high demand for imaging remaining bottlenecks are in basic solutions with a tightly-integrated things that are partially out of the flight management system and post- control of the aerial photogrammetry companies — such as the cost of flight processing software, which significantly operations and aircraft, the weather, air improves the workflow. –Adam Evans of Trimble Applanix traffic control, and flying height restric- tions. “So, our task is to develop sensor systems that are very effective despite to stitch together seamlessly and compen- referencing and increased reliance on that,” he says. “Of course, the invest- sating for each CCD’s different geometry. distributed processing, both of which ment threshold for many companies “In photogrammetry you want to measure have greatly reduced the time it takes looking to invest in digital technology directly from the image.” to, for example, produce orthophotos continues to play a role. The IT infra- The DMC II 140 has 140 MP and or extract DEMs and point clouds structure to process the data is as impor- the DMC II 250 has 250 MP and a pixel from the imagery. “The reliability of tant as the type of camera. In an ideal size of 5.6 microns. “Our strategy is to the components has improved,” he world, the application or end-use of the protect the customer’s investment as long adds. “Cameras have fewer electronic data should drive the data acquisition, as possible. The DMC II has a very high components. Solid state drives (SSDs) and in my view there is still opportu- frame rate, an extra large footprint, and and field-programmable gate arrays nity. For example, improvements in the the ability to fly at 5,400 feet with a GSD lower-priced medium format camera (ground sample distance) of 10 centime- segment, such as four-band imagery, 7 ters.” Its main application is large area stable multi-head configurations, or mapping with engineering precision. lower-cost sensors for specialized niche Z/I Imaging’s CCD was custom- applications, could help to close the gap manufactured by DALSA using optics to the high-performing, large-format custom-developed by Carl Zeiss. This segment and thus create better access.” results in extremely good image quality, The increases in cameras’ resolutions, says Neumann, and can compensate for explains Evans, challenge manufacturers inaccuracies, while other vendors have to to supply lenses that will support those compensate for pressure and other effects. resolutions — because the shrinking pixel “To complete the system you need good size requires commensurate improvements Figure 7. Optech’s DiMAC Ultralight digital electronics and we have our own devel- camera with embedded forward motion in optics. “As resolutions increase,” Sitar opers,” he adds. See Figure 9 . compensation explains, “distortions or aberrations from the use of poorer quality lenses become Improvements: Larger Footprints, (FPGAs) have helped in this regard.” much more apparent. Similarly, surveyors Higher Res, Faster Processing According to Skaw, a key development demand shutters with high reliability. It is In the past five years, Sitar points was Vexcel Imaging’s release of a fully not uncommon for users to collect more out, larger CCDs have enabled increased metric “medium format” camera, at the than 100,000 images during a survey image resolutions and larger footprints, July 2008 ASPRS conference. “It has the season. Having the confidence to know which enable imagery to be collected more same radiometric and geometric accuracy your lens can support your client’s entire efficiently by flying at higher altitudes of our large format camera, because it is survey season is critical. The ultimate goal for equivalent resolutions. Floating hard based on the same camera design and uses is to minimize the client’s down time.” drives that required pressurization have a subset of the equipment and electronics There is high demand, Evans points been replaced by cheaper, more compact, that we use in our large format camera, out, for imaging solutions with a tightly- i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m52
  • 53. integrated flight management system he says, “are not overwhelmed by the amount of data generated by the new hardware,and post-processing software, which because we poured in huge sums of money to accommodate the increases in data to besignificantly improves the work- processed. The only real bottleneck is how much aerial mapping work is available becauseflow. System flexibility is particularly of the economic downturn. It has been a struggle and there is a lot of apprehension aboutimportant for small and medium- using capital for upgrades versus creating jobs.”sized mapping companies, which are Finally, Sitar points to the large investment in software, both desktop andalways looking for ways to cover more in-flight, required for real-time processing for in-air evaluation and coverage verifi-ground faster and reduce their oper- cation as a challenge.ating costs. “Many of these shops,” hesays, “have told us that they need tobe able to take on very different typesof work with complementary sensors— such as 4-band, thermal, and lidar.They are asking us for sensors that Penn State | Onlineprovide interchangeable camera headsand focal lengths for different kindsof work. This means configurationswith good base-height ratio for stereowork, others that are suitable for flyingunder clouds, and still others designedfor matching the imagery footprintand resolution to a lidar swath.” “It seems that right now muchof the big money is being spent onsatellite data,” says Cross, “and thiswill directly impact the growth ofthe aerial sector. In the ASM market,capacity for large format digital hasbeen building and, at least domesti-cally, we will really have to see how Learn from a Trusted Source inthe large programs such as Clear30and the Imagery for the Nation Online Geospatial Educationinitiative play out. The good news is Have confidence in your online education. Penn State’s geospatialthat the value of ‘geospatial’ is now programs have been recognized by the Sloan Consortium for high-broadly understood and, therefore, quality online programs. Our GEOINT programs are G.I. Bill approvedcontinued investments will be more and are accredited by the USGIF. Graduates of the GEOINT certificateeasily justified. This will not only program receive both a Penn State certificate of completion and aapply to the update frequency on USGIF certificate.large programs but will also supportgrowth in GSI’s niche sectors, such master of professional studies in homeland security inas lidar augmentation, high-value geospatial intelligenceasset corridor mapping and naturalresources, including precision agri- master of geographic information systemsculture, forestry, and environment. graduate certificate in geospatialIn this sense, the biggest bottle-neck becomes the ability to process, intelligencemanage, and extract value from thehuge volumes of data coming fromthe variety of sensors. You could say itis increasingly a ‘last mile’ problem.” Learn more at By contrast, Skaw sees no tech- U.Ed.OUT 11-0157/11-WC-147edc/sssnical bottleneck. “Our systems,”i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m 53
  • 54. Wish List which is collected using a single RGB Space-based Cameras In the next three to five years, what CCD.” Two U.S. companies build cameras single technical development would help “At the recent MAPPS conference, I used on imaging satellites: ITT Corpo- the aerial imaging industry the most? heard that the community is hoping for ration, based in White Plains, New A “blue sky” button to eliminate cloud more in-flight processing, so that you York, and Ball Aerospace Technolo- coverage, jokes Wagner! He then lists three have a certain level of product when gies Corp., based in Boulder, Colorado. more: in-flight, real-time data processing; you land,” says Skaw. “Part of our value Manufacturers elsewhere in the world continued increase in area performance at proposition is to tap into Microsoft’s include Elbit Systems Electro-Optics Elop a lower cost, without a loss in photogram- software ambitions — e.g. its Dragonfly Ltd. in Israel, EADS Astrium SAS (which metric and radiometric performance; and technology — so that we will have more just acquired Germany’s Jena-Optronik) hardware-accelerated processing for data and more software innovations.” and Thales Alenia Space in France, and extraction, processing, classification, and “With so much enabling technology Mitsubishi Electronics Corporation and data fusion. “There are also promising in place currently — including sensors, NEC in Japan. new technologies and platforms, such as computing power, and Internet communi- ITT Corporation currently has sensors UAVs,” he adds. cations — the single technical development or imaging cameras on all the high-resolu- “Building real-time, mapping-grade that would most help our industry would tion commercial remote sensing satellites ortho products will be critical to effec- be technology emphasis and compliance operating in the U.S. market. The company tive emergency response and tactical with open geospatial computing stan- built the entire imaging cameras for GeoEye’s IKONOS and GeoEye-1 satellites WW Figure 8 . Geospatial Systems Inc.’s KCM-50 8 and for DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2 satel- full frame 50MP camera module with field- replaceable mechanical shutter lite, as well as the imaging sensors for Digi- talGlobe’s QuickBird and WorldView-1 TT Figure 9 . Intergraph’s new DMC II camera satellites. WorldView-1, which contained the second generation of ITT Corporation’s 9 space-based sensors, was launched in 2007 with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency as its “anchor tenant.” In late 2007, GeoEye first contracted with ITT for long-lead items for GeoEye-2. In August 2010, DigitalGlobe awarded mapping,” says Evans. “High-accuracy ITT a contract to build the imaging system, aerial ortho imagery developed with which will include a sensor subsystem and direct geo-referencing does not require an optical telescope unit, for its World- aerial triangulation or ground survey View-3, high-resolution commercial Earth points, which can be time-consuming imaging satellite, anticipated to be avail- and often dangerous to acquire in rapid able for launch by the end of 2014. response situations.” How do space-based cameras differ Sitar cites the effort to create larger from aerial ones? One difference is regu- single CCDs that don’t require stitching dards and effectively managing and more latory: GeoEye-1’s resolution is 41 centi- together multiple images, yet cover the efficiently deriving real value from the meters and WorldView-2’s is 46 centi- same geographic footprint with similar investments that are being made,” says meters. However, below 50 centimeters, resolutions or GSD. “Currently,” he Cross. “There are still huge inefficiencies, GeoEye and DigitalGlobe are required to points out, “many larger cameras and we have yet to achieve real interoper- resample the imagery to 50 centimeters use several CCDs (RGB and BW) ability among the systems that house our before selling it commercially. Therefore, to compile a single large image. This investments. So, meaningful advancement much of the very high resolution imagery requires stitching of the imagery, color of open geospatial standards remains a comes from aerial sensors. However, balancing to remove CCD to CCD vari- critical need in delivering maximum ROI, airborne imaging can’t be flown every- ations in light sensitivity, pan-sharp- which, in turn, will justify continued where because there are some denied ening techniques, and very high quality investment and growth of the industry. environments. This is the primary reason lenses to minimize radial distortions in This is a technology development that, why users of remotely sensed imagery each sub-image. The end result can be a unlike others, will require strong policy typically choose a combination of satel- poorer quality image compared to that leadership.” lite and aerial imagery. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m54
  • 55. Once a hidden facility. Revealed by the world’s 34.883160° N 50.995534° E most accurate high-resolution Positional Accuracy: 2.5m CE90 commercial imagery. Collected at 0.41m UNCLASSIFIEDAccessi unmatched/ accuracy and w w whighest resolution. m i m a g n g n o t es / fall 2010 // the . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o Defense and intelligence organizationslook to GeoEye for unrivaled experience and access to commercial imagery in support of their 55missions. We meet the critical need for highest accuracy and 0.41-meter resolution, while providingtimely, relevant location information and image-based insight. As a proven and trusted missionpartner, customers rely on our unique technical capabilities, high quality and responsive serviceto monitor emerging security threats and minimize risk. / def © 2010 GeoEye. All Rights Reserved.Image intelligence. Delivered intelligently.
  • 56. i m a g i n g n o t es / / f a l l 2 0 1 0 / / w w w . i m a g i n g n o t es . c o m56