ASPRS Free On-Line Seminar (May 23, 2014)


Landscape Disturbance Related to Natural Gas Extraction in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Sponsored by ASPRS, CaGIS and GLIS

Date & Time: May 23rd, 2014 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST

The American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) GIS Division in partnership with the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) and the Geographic and Land Information Society (GLIS) would like to invite our members to attend our third online seminar for the 2014 series.
Landscape Disturbance Related to Natural Gas Extraction in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Abstract: Increased demands for cleaner burning energy, coupled with the relatively recent technological advances in accessing unconventional hydrocarbon-rich geologic formations, have led to an intense effort to find and extract natural gas from various underground sources around the country. One of these sources, the Marcellus Shale, located in the Allegheny Plateau, is currently undergoing extensive drilling and production. The technology used to extract gas in the Marcellus shale is known as hydraulic fracturing and has garnered much attention because of its use of large amounts of fresh water, its use of proprietary fluids for the hydraulic-fracturing process, its potential to release contaminants into the environment, and its potential effect on water resources. Nonetheless, development of natural gas extraction wells in the Marcellus Shale is only part of the overall natural gas story in the area of Pennsylvania. Coalbed methane, which is sometimes extracted using the similar technique, is commonly located in the same general area as the Marcellus Shale and is frequently developed in clusters across the landscape. The combined effects of these two natural gas extraction methods create potentially serious patterns of disturbance on the landscape. This presentation quantifies the landscape changes and consequences of natural gas extraction for the natural gas play in Pennsylvania between 2004 and 2010. Patterns of landscape disturbance related to natural gas extraction activities were collected and digitized using National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) imagery for 2004, 2005/2006, 2008, and 2010. The disturbance patterns were then used to measure changes in land cover and land use using the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) of 2001 as a baseline. A series of landscape metrics are also used to quantify these changes and report on the potential ecosystem effects.

About the Speaker:  Terry Slonecker is a research geographer in the United States Geological Survey’s Eastern Geographic Science Center.  He has over 30 years of experience in remote sensing and geospatial analysis including positions with the U.S. Air Force, private industry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  His current research interests include hyperspectral analysis of heavy metals, hazardous substances, hydrocarbons, and related vegetation stress.  He recently taught hyperspectral remote sensing at the Afghanistan Geological Society in Kabul and has been involved in several emergency response efforts including the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010. He received his master’s degree in Geographic and Cartographic Sciences, and his doctorate in Environmental Science and Public Policy from George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia. He is currently working on mapping and measuring the landscape effects of natural gas development and on evaluating remote sensing as a tool for hazardous waste site monitoring.  On several occasions, he has served as an expert witness for the U.S. Federal Government on remote sensing related matters.


Date & Time: May 23rd, 2014 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST

Remote Access / Registration:

NOTE: Registration is limited to the first 500 people who sign up and log in to the seminar.

If you are unable to attend the live seminar, a recording will be posted at several days after the seminar.

Lead’Air introduces T-MAP UAV Aerial Mapping Camera System

May 14, 2014 — Lead’Air Inc, US manufacturer of the Track’Air line of products, would like to introduce the T-MAP UAV Aerial Mapping Camera System at the UAVSI show in Orlando, FL.

In brief: 
The new T-MAP Aerial Mapping System has been specially developed for UAV and small aircrafts. The system is very compact and light weight and can be installed on the larger type of professional UAV aircraft to carry out full mapping missions. It is based on either the 80 mp Phase One IXA180 camera or the new 50 mp Phase One IXU150 camera. T-MAP is a true turnkey system which includes:

  • Photogrammetrically calibrated camera and lens
  • Fully automated computerized image saving and management system
  • A powerful autonomous flight management system based on the widespread Track’Air FMS
  • A fully stabilized mount system with +/- 20 degrees pitch/roll correction and +/- 25 degrees yaw correction
  • A built-in Applanix IMU system which can be coupled to any of the Applanix IMU sensor range (AP20 to AP50)

click to read more

Esri Young Scholars award winner announced  by  on 13 May, 2014 in GIS & DataLatest News

Curtin University student’s passion to provide improved transport solutions for Perth’s residents has landed her a trip to attend the world’s largest spatial conference, the Esri User Conference in San Diego, California.

Grace Lin won the 2014 Esri Young Scholars Award competition for an impressive entry that maps the accessibility of Perth railway stations for older transit passengers.

The nation-wide competition celebrates excellence in geospatial study and, more specifically, the creative use of GIS to solve commercial and community issues.

Miss Lin beat a quality field of entries to book her place at the Esri User Conference in the United States in July, where she will showcase her project to 15,000 GIS professionals.

Her first-of-its-kind study provides models to help improve train station access for elderly residents and delivers a framework for future infrastructure placement.

The study is particularly pertinent for Perth, where railway transport constitutes a sizeable share of daily travel undertaken by residents of the Western Australian capital.

“Data from 2011 showed nearly one in 10 people living in Perth boarded a train every day,” Ms Lin said.

“When you consider that, over the next 20 years, authorities plan to spend 80 per cent of a $2.9 billion transport infrastructure budget on a light-rail network to extend the existing heavy-rail network, it is critical to ensure train stations are accessible to the population of Perth and will remain so over the long-term.

“This is the first study that’s used GIS technology to provide an insight into issues surrounding accessibility to transport in Perth.”

The study was developed using government information and data gathered directly from transit users.

“By mapping and analysing the location of key infrastructure, such as ramps and lifts, alongside direct road access, park and ride options and the community’s perceptions, we provided a comprehensive picture of each station’s accessibility.”

The judging panel – which included senior industry figures from the Department of Communications, SSSI and Western Power – praised the project for its methodology, innovation, and real-world application.

In particular, Ms Lin gained points for the self-generated data and the lasting difference the study could have to Perth’s transport infrastructure.

While she undertook the project to improve services for Perth’s public transit users, Ms Lin’s motivation for entering the competition was a little more personal – the chance to rub shoulders with Esri founder, and GIS pioneer, Jack Dangermond.

“When I saw that the winner would go to San Diego and have the chance meet Jack, I thought I definitely had to enter,” Ms Lin said.

“I’m looking forward to Jack’s presentation, because I know it will provide the most knowledgeable insight into the latest capabilities of the technology and reveal where it will take us in the future.”

Esri Australia Managing Director Brett Bundock – who also sat on the judging panel – said the quality of the entries for this year’s competition exemplified the growing talent pool of young Australian geospatial experts.

“The demand for geospatial disciplines within Australian universities is growing – and thousands of students now regularly draw on spatial thinking and technologies to solve real-world issues,” Mr Bundock said.

“Grace’s entry demonstrated the real difference GIS technology can deliver when used creatively to solve complex community and business problems.”

All the World’s Glaciers, Mapped  MAY 7 2014, 12:20 PM ET


The first statistical analysis of the world’s glacier distribution offers insight into melting ice.

There are, at the moment, nearly 200,000 glaciers on Earth. They have a volume of nearly 106,000 miles cubed, and cover an area of about 453,000 miles squared. This means they cover an area roughly equivalent to that of Germany, Poland, and Switzerland combined.

We know this in large part because of satellite data. But we know it more specifically because of a new survey, just published by an international collection of scientists in the Journal of Glaciology, that uses sent-from-space data to provide a comprehensive view of the world’s glaciers. The new inventory is based on information compiled by the Randolph Glacier Inventory in New Hampshire. It’s the first statistical analysis of the world’s glacier distribution.  click to read more



Mini-satellites send high-definition views of Earth  


WATCH: See some of the videos and images sent back by the budget satellites
WATCH: See some of the videos and images sent back by the budget satellites

Imagine being able to monitor deforestation tree by tree – and act accordingly.

Or, as a farmer, remotely monitoring the health and yield of crops on a daily basis over huge swathes of land.

Perhaps as an aid agency, effortlessly estimating the flow of human traffic across borders over the course of a week.

And for business retail analysts, estimating the footfall of a retail chain by counting the sheer number of vehicles in its car parking lots across a region.

These are just some of the countless possibilities conceivable when our world is observed from on-high every day or week, rather than the years it can currently take to completely update our planet’s imagery on services such as Google Earth.

Soon these possibilities will translate into reality, as a new image-focused space race is steadily gathering pace.

Rather than being conducted by nation-states or mega-corps, it is being played out by Silicon Valley tech start-ups doing what they do best – defying conventional thinking to disrupt an entire industry.

Their goal is to reveal an unprecedented understanding of activity conducted on Earth by taking and analysing pictures of our planet in its entirety.  click to read more


The Trick That Makes Google’s Self-Driving Cars Work MAY 15 2014, 12:26 PM ET

A snapshot of how a Google car sees the world around it. (Alexis Madrigal)
A snapshot of how a Google car sees the world around it. (Alexis Madrigal)

Google’s self-driving cars can tour you around the streets of Mountain View, California.

I know this. I rode in one this week. I saw the car’s human operator take his hands from the wheel and the computer assume control. “Autodriving,” said a woman’s voice, and just like that, the car was operating autonomously, changing lanes, obeying traffic lights, monitoring cyclists and pedestrians, making lefts. Even the way the car accelerated out of turns felt right.

It works so well that it is, as The New York Times‘ John Markoff put it, “boring.” The implications, however, are breathtaking.

Perfect, or near-perfect, robotic drivers could cut traffic accidents, expand the carrying capacity of the nation’s road infrastructure, and free up commuters to stare at their phones, presumably using Google’s many services.

But there’s a catch.   click to read more



Google Ventures-Backed Startup Develops Mobile Games to Ease Urban Congestion  by James Temple  May 15, 2014  8AM PDT


People are pouring into cities as the world continues to shift away from an agrarian economy, putting ever greater strains on transportation systems, including roads, highways, buses and trains.

It’s a familiar problem for anyone commuting along Highway 101 in Silicon Valley or waiting on buses in San Francisco, but the region doesn’t even rate among the most congested metropolitan areas worldwide.

A startup emerging from stealth mode on Thursday aims to ease these urban growing pains using a combination of big data, behavioral economics, gamification techniques and good old lotteries.

Urban Engines of Los Altos, Calif., created an online and mobile game that resembles Snakes and Ladders, a virtual version of an Indian board game on which (the suddenly wimpier sounding) Chutes and Ladders was modeled. Commuters can earn points for shifting their travel to off-peak hours, which in turn can add up to real dollars and prizes.  Click to continue

MoD creates ‘coldest object in the universe’ to trump GPS By  11:57AM BST 15 May 2014



The MoD is pouring millions of pounds into research on a “quantum compass” that will be far more accurate than GPS and immune to jammers or hackers, with potential applications in everything from nuclear submarines to your next smartphone.

Quantum technology is already being explored in universities and companies worldwide for potential applications in communications and computation, but several UK academic projects backed by cash from the MoD are focusing on how it can be used in sensing and precision timing – both of which could lead to a “game-changing” navigation device. It could also give birth to the most precise clock ever created.

The whole field hinges upon an unusual field of physics called quantum mechanics which explores how particles on a sub-atomic level can act as both a physical particle and an electromagnetic wave at the same time.

Quantum TNS (timing, navigation and sensing) involves cooling atoms down to temperatures a billion times colder than outer space. Unlike GPS, which relies on triangulation from a network of satellites, it very accurately measures movements from a known position to keep track of location.

With the first products expected in the next five years, its potential impact on the electronics, defence and telecommunications could be huge.

The Clever Way a Web Guru Is Protesting Net Neutrality

The Clever Way a Web Guru Is Protesting Net Neutrality
The Clever Way a Web Guru Is Protesting Net Neutrality

Lesson one in How to Drive Your Technology Enemies Crazy: downgrade their Internet to turtle-like, dial-up speeds.

A Portland, Oregon-based software developer came up with the protest against the Federal Communication Commission’s proposed net neutrality rules.

“Various companies and organizations have added code to their websites that kicks in whenever there’s a visit from someone who works at the FCC,” Wired reported. “While everyone else is enjoying these websites at ordinary broadband speeds, this code ensures that FCC staffers view them at dial-up speeds reminiscent of the 1990s.”  Click here to read more.