Satellites Help in Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370—But Have Limits

Royal Australian Air Force Sergeant Adam Roberts and Flight Sergeant John Mancey launch a self-locating data marker buoy from a jet in the southern Indian Ocean during the search for Flight 370. Reuters
Royal Australian Air Force Sergeant Adam Roberts and Flight Sergeant John Mancey launch a self-locating data marker buoy from a jet in the southern Indian Ocean during the search for Flight 370. Reuters
By Trefor Moss And Jake Maxwell Wattsconnect March 20, 2014 10:53 a.m. ET


An international charter of 15 space agencies was activated last week to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines 3786.KU -2.38% jet, and by Thursday it provided what appeared to be the best lead yet to the airliner’s disappearance.

However, experts warned that satellite technology is limited in its capability when it comes to searching huge swaths of territory.

Satellite data has been critically important to the search, from narrowing down the aircraft’s likely destination to spotting possible debris in a vast area of ocean. Flight 370 disappeared from radar early on March 8 en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. It was carrying 239 passengers and crew. (Follow the latest developments in the search for missing Flight 370.)

“This is a very difficult case. Normally we know what the area of interest is. This is essentially a camera in space, and if you don’t know where to point it then it’s a big challenge,” said Adina Gillespie, product development manager at DMC International 517973.BY +4.40% Imaging, a UK-based commercial satellite imaging provide.  Click here to read more.

A New Technique Using GPS Aboard Airplanes Aids Weather Modeling –

Mar 19 2014 by Scripps Institution of Oceanography Hits: 234


GPS technology has broadly advanced science and society’s ability to pinpoint precise information, from driving directions to tracking ground motions during earthquakes. A new technique led by a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego stands to improve weather models and hurricane forecasting by detecting precise conditions in the atmosphere through a new GPS system aboard airplanes.

The first demonstration of the technique, detailed in the journal Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), is pushing the project’s leaders toward a goal of broadly implementing the technology in the near future on commercial aircraft.

Current  measurement systems that use GPS satellite signals as a source to probe the atmosphere rely on GPS receivers that are fixed to ground and can’t measure over the ocean, or they rely on GPS receivers that are also on satellites that are expensive to launch and only occasionally measure in regions near storms. The new system, led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography geophysicist Jennifer Haase and her colleagues, captures detailed meteorological readings at different elevations at targeted areas of interest, such as over the Atlantic Ocean in regions where hurricanes might develop.

– See more at:  Click here to read more.

exactEarth Release Tracking Data of the Search for MH370


Mar 24 2014 by exactEarth Hits: 467

Following today’s announcement that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared over two weeks ago en route to Beijing, appears to have crashed thousands of miles away in the southern Indian Ocean, exactEarth have released the following image showing the search being carried out by the HMAS Success and the Xue Long in the Southern Indian Ocean.

This recently updated view from exactEarth’s constellation of satellites which are tracking the world’s shipping, shows all ships in the area and clearly shows the remoteness of the region.

– See more at:    Click to read more.

Working backwards to find Flight 370

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went down in the southern Indian Ocean, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Monday, citing a new analysis of satellite data by a British satellite company and accident investigators.

While investigators have yet to find even a piece of the plane, the Prime Minister based his announcement on what he described as unprecedented analysis of satellite data by British satellite provider Inmarsat and the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

CEO of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation Keith Masback joins CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” to discuss that data, and how this technology works.  Click here to Masback’s interview.

Inmarsat satellite data key in locating Malaysian Flight MH370

map_2854764cFragments of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 are believed to have been found in the Indian Ocean, according to a press conference by Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak. Inmarsat satellite data was instrumental in finding the debris. It is one of those events that baffles technologists, as the plane disappeared mysteriously two weeks ago, off the radar, and even now, the evidence is not conclusive that this debris belongs to the missing airliner.It is further proof that all the technology in the world cannot make sure of our safety and can also be manually turned off if someone has the desire to lose a plane.  Click here to read more.

Washington landslide death toll doubles to 8



By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP, Associated Press    Updated 12:07 am, Monday, March 24, 2014

ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — Searchers found five more bodies Sunday in the tangled sludge of a massive landslide in rural Washington state, bringing the death toll to at least eight from the wall of debris that swept through a small riverside neighborhood.  Click here to read more. 


Welcome to the dead zone

Our planet’s greatest cities are facing a major pollution crisis

We’re fast approaching a future where Paris is no longer the “city of light” — and breathing has becomes a hazard, SUNDAY, MAR 23, 2014 08:00 AM EDT

Last week, Paris and Beijing had one of those feuds that city-watchers love so much. (Such head-to-head battles, like great inter-urban sporting events, fuel the illusion that cities are singular, indivisible, cultural entities.) In this case, it was a race to the bottom: Observers noticed, during the five-day air quality crisis in Paris last week, that there was more particulate matter in the Parisian atmosphere than in Beijing. Click here to continue reading.

Women in Geospatial Meetup

Please mark your calendar! Boundless (formerly OpenGeo, I think) is hosting a Women in Geospatial discussion on April 10th.

“The meetup will be a discussion focusing on issues women face in the geospatial and mapping industries, progress that’s been made, and how we can all work to improve accessibility.  Leading women in the geospatial community will be presenting.  The panel discussion includes Kate Chapman, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team,  and Liz Lyon, MapStory Foundation, and Alyssa Wright, Boundless.

More information is available here:

OBTW, the event is open to everyone!
Thanks Professor Stern for the heads up!