• Spatial Happenings

    August 2014
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FAA Announces Virginia Tech UAS Test Site Now Operational

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration today announced that the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test site program is ready to conduct research vital to integrating UAS into the nation’s airspace. The site is the last of six nationwide to be declared operational.

To mark the event, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, along with other FAA and MAAP officials, viewed a demonstration of the Smart Road Flyer, a low cost, low risk multi-rotor UAS being developed to support research in vehicle and highway systems. During the flight, the Flyer filmed a simulated accident scene on the “smart road” full-scale test-bed highway managed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

“We have undertaken the challenge of safely integrating a new and exciting technology into the busiest, most complex airspace in the world,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The six test sites are going to play a key role in helping us meet that challenge.

The FAA granted Virginia Tech seven Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) for two-years. Other UAS models in addition to the Smart Road Flyer include an eSPAARO, Aeryon Sky Ranger, MANTRA2, Sig Rascal, and two AVID EDF-8 micro UASs.

UAS operations will occur at test areas in Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland. Research in the three states will eventually include agricultural spray equipment testing, development of aeronautical procedures for integration of UAS flights in a towered airspace and developing training and operational procedures for aeronautical surveys of agriculture

“Having all six national test sites up and running will give us more and better data to help expand the safe use of unmanned aircraft into our airspace,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

The FAA selected six congressionally-mandated test sites on December 30, 2013.  The agency is working with the test sites to guide their research programs to help the FAA safely integrate UAS into the national airspace over the next several years.

Virginia Tech is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) consisting of academia, government, industry, economic development agencies, and non-profit organizations throughout Virginia, New Jersey, and Maryland.

For more information go to http://www.faa.gov/uas/

- See more at: http://www.sensorsandsystems.com/news/top-stories/corporate-news/34642-faa-announces-virginia-tech-uas-test-site-now-operational.html#sthash.GVhBgkyF.dpuf

Posted in GIS News and Information, Remote Sensing, Thoughts on Geospatial, UAS | Leave a comment

Year-Long, Full-Time, Paid Internship Positions

Arlington’s Department of Technology Services is looking to fill some year-long full-time paid internship positions.  These openings are for college graduates that received their bachelor’s or master’s degrees in 2013 or 2014.  For the Network & Infrastructure Services intern positions, the hiring manager has expressed an interest in finding candidates with some GIS knowledge.  Interested applicants would need to apply through the County’s website to be considered.  In the Supplemental Questions section, they should check the Network & Infrastructure Services Intern ONLY box, or Intern positions in all three areas if they’re interested in the other vacancies.

Job listing for Long-Term IT interns

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ESRI DC Meet Up Cyber Situational Awareness


A Geospatial Approach to Cyber Situational Awareness

  • Thursday, August 21, 2014

    5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

  • District Architecture Center

    421 7th St NW , Washington, DC (map)

  • Many cybersecurity frameworks exist that do an excellent job of describing the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the hundreds of activities associated with cyber defense.  What is missing is any indication of ‘when’ and ‘where’ these activities should be implemented.  In today’s economic environment, no organization is sufficiently resourced to fully protect all devices at all times.

    For cybersecurity to become truly effective, organizations need a mechanism to integrate all available data to quickly discover and prioritize cyber threats against their most critical processes and devices.  The goal is to increase agility when responding to complex intrusions (those that integrate cyber and physical activities).  Geo-temporal attributes are the only ones common to all human activities, including cyber, however, most current cyber operations consider only the logical relationship between devices.  GIS offers the best hope for providing a smarter approach.

    Join us to discuss how a true integration of logical and geographical analysis might improve organizations’ ability to detect cyber attacks early resulting in less expensive and more effective protection of critical data and infrastructure.


    5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

    • Registration and Networking:  Mix and mingle with fellow DC-metro-area GIS and developer professionals while enjoying complimentary hors dʹoeuvres and beverages.

    6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

    •  Esri cyber lead Ken Stoni will discuss re-conceptualizing cyberspace as dataflows and implementing the concept in GIS software. This could allow organizations to create smart segmentation against which cyber and non-cyber data can be applied and high-quality response decisions can be made.

    •  RedSeal will demonstrate how to automatically generate IT Network Topologies from layer 3 device configuration files.  RedSeal uses the topology and the results of vulnerability scanning software to determine the reach of each compromised host.  This allows computer security teams to organize their work based on the damage that could be caused by each compromised host; it’s a risk-based approach to resource prioritization.

    •  Esri solution engineer Scott Cecilio will show a prototype cyber common operational picture built from the Esri and RedSeal technologies.  The demonstration will highlight how the geospatial approach can enhance traditional IT decision-making.

    7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

    • Networking: Mix and mingle a little longer.

Read More »

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Compete for $10,000 with the Drone Social Innovation Award

The Drone Social Innovation Award is a $10,000 prize for the most socially beneficial, documented use of a low cost drone. We hope you will consider putting together a project to compete for this award. Entries are due August 20. An FAQ for this is pasted below, and you can see more details atwww.dugn.org/prizes .


The Drone User Group Network’s Drone Social Innovation Award is a $10,000 prize for the most socially beneficial, documented use of a drone platform costing less than $3,000. Through this prize we hope to spur innovation, investment, and attention to the positive role this technology can play in our society. We believe that flying robots are a technology with tremendous potential to make our world a better place, and we are excited that they are cheap and accessible enough that regular people and community groups can have their own. The Drone Social Innovation Award is sponsored by NEXA Capital Partners.

How do I submit an entry?
Please send a link to a 2-4 minute YouTube video along with a 1-2 page write up about your project to [masked] . The video and write up should both address who you are, what your project is, address the evaluation criteria listed below, and include some comments from people who have benefited from your work. It should also show your drone in action doing whatever it is you are talking about. Submission materials should be in English. Video quality is not an evaluation criteria, but we hope that your submission will effectively tell the story of the great work you have done. We will acknowledge receipt of all entries, and we may ask you for additional information as we narrow down our list of possible winners.

If you think you might be interested in submitting an entry for the award, we ask that you send us a quick email at [masked] by July 17, 2014. This is not a requirement, but it will help us to gauge interest and support our community of participants.

When can I submit an entry?
Submissions will be accepted from January 1, 2014 – August 20, 2014. We expect to announce a final winner in July. What are the evaluation criteria?
There are three tiers of evaluation criteria. In order of importance they include:

Posted in GIS News and Information, Remote Sensing, Thoughts on Geospatial, UAS | Leave a comment

A Satellite Took Pictures of Another Satellite and Now It’s a GIF

The launch of DigitalGlobe's WorldView-3 is seen from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014.
The launch of DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 is seen from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Aug. 13, 2014.DigitalGlobe

Well, this is pretty meta

A series of pictures provided to TIME by DigitalGlobe shows what kind of fun you can have when you own multiple satellites.

The images captured the launch of the company’s newest satellite launching into orbit this past Wednesday.

Posted in GIS News and Information, Remote Sensing, Thoughts on Geospatial | Leave a comment

Utah Firm Provides Geospatial Technology to Map Ebola Victims, Outbreaks, and Clinic Locations in Liberia


-Addressing Homes LLC is Bringing the Right Technology at the Right Time to Support West African Countries and the World Health Organization (WHO)-

SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 11, 2014 — (PRNewswire) — A U.S. company that specializes in geospatial location technology, Addressing Homes LLC (www.addressinghomes.org), has found itself in the midst of the Ebola crisis with the ability to provide mapping technology that is vital to accurately tracking the presence of victims, the location of clinics, and identifying outbreak trends. Addressing Homes is providing its technology free of charge toLiberia as emergency assistance.

West Point, Liberia is home to approximately 75,000 people with no running water or sewage system. There are very few roads in West Point. The average dwelling size in West Point is approximately 8 x8 feet.

Liberia was the inspiration for the location technology Addressing Homes LLC has been developing over the past seven years for the purpose of providing uniform addressing capabilities to undeveloped regions. The company has developed portable devices called AimObservers™ that use “Mobile Mapper” technology to produce an instant latitude/longitude location for any dwelling, structure or pathway down to an 8.8 foot square at any point in the world.  Click here to continue reading.

Posted in Geography, GIS News and Information, Thoughts on Geospatial | Leave a comment

America’s Weather-Tracking Satellites Are In Trouble

 Popular Mechanics 08 August 2014

When Superstorm Sandy nearly sank New York City two years ago, we knew it was going to happen. Same with snowmageddon in 2010: D.C. got more snow than a Saskatoon Christmas, and, again, we knew it was going to happen. Those were both devastating storms, but we were as prepared for them as we could have been, thanks to two very important satellites. Now, however, as superstorms become more frequent, those two very important satellites are running out of time. Read more in Popular Mechanics

Posted in GIS News and Information, Remote Sensing | Leave a comment

NASA Sends Remote Sensing Technology to Assess Lake Erie Algal Bloom – See more at: http://www.sensorsandsystems.com/news/top-stories/water/34570-nasa-sends-remote-sensing-technology-to-assess-lake-erie-algal-bloom.html#sthash.oawDpYMq.dpuf

Written by NASA Published: 05 August 2014

Engineers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland are using NASA Glenn remote sensing technology, previously developed for Mars exploration, to learn more about the Lake Erie algal bloom that contaminated water supplies in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan over the weekend.

Deploying a hyper-spectral imager and miniature spectrometers aboard Glenn’s S-3 aircraft, which begins the flight campaign today, researchers from Glenn; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. are using the high resolution instruments to capture images that will reveal western Lake Erie’s characteristics across the light spectrum.  Each aquatic component of the lake has a unique spectrographic signature.  By studying these signatures, researchers can continually improve their ability to remotely identify the biochemical properties of an algal bloom and predict when and where they will form.

“Fresh water is one of Earth’s most precious commodities and is essential to our civilization’s survival,” said John Lekki, an optical systems research engineer at Glenn.  “Our collaboration with NOAA, and now the U.S. Naval Research Lab in this effort, will increase our understanding of how to confront this significant environmental and human health threat.”

NASA and NOAA satellite imagery is currently used to identify, monitor and map potentially harmful algal blooms.  However, varying weather conditions may obscure a satellite’s imaging capability during a scheduled pass.  The use of airborne remote-sensing instruments supplements satellite imagery and helps provide continual monitoring of algal blooms even when cloud cover is prevalent.  The use of remote-sensing equipment could also be beneficial in other parts of the world where satellite imagery is not available and algal blooms are an issue.

Once analyzed, the data collected through this research will be publicly available to those with an interest in algal blooms.

“NOAA, NASA and the U.S. Naval Research Lab have the expertise and resources uniquely suited to tackle this issue,” said George Leshkevich, a physical scientist with the GLERL.  “Getting this higher resolution data on Lake Erie will help us better understand the characteristics of the current bloom and improve our satellite detection methods to pinpoint where and when future blooms will occur.”

The remote-sensing project is sponsored by NASA’s Applied Sciences Program in the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters, Washington. NASA monitors Earth’s vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

Over the past several weeks, researchers from Glenn and GLERL have been testing the remote­ sensing system mounted on the S-3.  Previous remote-sensing research flights with NOAA took place in 2007.

Additional partners in the latest algal bloom flight research campaign include Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio and Michigan Tech Research Institute in Ann Arbor, Mich.

For more information on NASA Glenn Research Center, visit: www.nasa.gov/glenn

For more information on NASA Earth science activities, visit: www.nasa.gov/earth

For more information on NOAA, visit:


- See more at: http://www.sensorsandsystems.com/news/top-stories/water/34570-nasa-sends-remote-sensing-technology-to-assess-lake-erie-algal-bloom.html#sthash.oawDpYMq.dpuf

Posted in Climate Change, Geography, Remote Sensing, Thoughts on Geospatial | Leave a comment

2015 RockSat-C/RockSat-X

I hope this email finds you doing well.  RockOn 2014 in June was great.  There were 65 participants and every payload recorded data.  Thank you to the SG programs that sponsored participants.  I will have your prize at the Spring meeting.

Today I am kicking off the follow-on programs to RockOn called RockSat-C and RockSat-X which will launch next summer.  If you could forward this email to your affiliates and/or any faculty that might be interested in participating, I would appreciate it.

There will be an informational telecon Friday, August 22nd 12:00 PM MDT for those interested in learning more about the 2015 RockSat-C and RockSat-X programs.  It is a great way to get some of your initial questions answered as well.  Intent to Fly Forms are due on September 19th, 2014.  The number will be 877-820-7831.  The passcode will be 434477#.

If you know of anyone that might be interested in either program, please pass the information on to them as well.  Feel free to contact me at koehler@colorado.edu or 303-492-4750 with any questions or concerns.  Additional program contacts are listed below.

You can  find more information on these two programs from the following links:


Becca Lidvall at rocksatprogram@gmail.com



Jesse Austin at rocksatx@gmail.com


Chris Koehler

Director, Colorado Space Grant Consortium
University of Colorado at Boulder
303-492-4750 (office) 303-378-4765 (cell)

Posted in Conferences and Seminars, Education, Internship Opportunity, Thoughts on Geospatial | Leave a comment

In the Brain, Memories Are Inextricably Tied to Place

A manmade virus that acts like “a remote control” for neurons helped psychologists research the connection.

Denis Balibouse/Reuters

It’s no coincidence that, when recalling a tragedy, we ask where someone was:“Where were you when President Kennedy was shot?”

Psychologists hypothesize that we lock in that memory by linking it to a where, that integrating many stimuli together helps us remember something particularly important. They call this process episodic memory formation: the locking of ideas and objects to a single place and time, to forming associations between different stimuli.

Using a a new process that involves an injected virus and a chemical “remote control for the brain,” psychologists are now a little closer to understanding it better.

Researchers at Dartmouth and the University of North Carolina announced Tuesday that new evidence indicates that the retrosplenial cortex—a little-studied region near the center of the brain—is important in the formation of this kind of information, called episodic memories. Specifically, they believe the retrosplenial cortex may help make sense of the burst of new stimuli in a new environment: It may be the place where the body’s senses are integrated.  Click here to read more. 

Posted in Geography, GIS News and Information, Thoughts on Geospatial | Leave a comment