Better Infectious Rickettsioses Prevention in Taiwan with SuperGIS Desktop



The professional GIS desktop software, SuperGIS Desktop, supports Dr. Chung-Hsu Lai, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in the research of human spotted fever group rickettsioses, SFGR, to provide geographical relations of the infectious diseases in disease control and future prevention.

SFGR is one of rickettsial diseases biogroups, it’s found in different geographical environments worldwide. The emerging diseases have been neglected by publics, especially in developing countries like Taiwan. There aren’t many researches related to human SFGR and other rickettsioses, such as Q fever, scrub typhus and murine typhus. The geospatial relations of the diseases have been also ignored for a long time.

To better understand the spread of the diseases, Dr. Lai utilizes SuperGIS Desktop for visualizing the spatial distribution of different diseases. With the maps, readers can easily see the infector locations of each disease, and then overlay the terrain layer to realize the relation between distribution and terrains. For example, Q fever, murine typhus, and leptospirosis cases are spread on plains, but scrub typhus are more in mountain areas.

Furthermore, the Doctor applies GIS software to see the difference not only spatial distribution, but also in different times to watch the effects of prevention and control results. For advanced uses, SuperGIS Desktop Extensions, Geospatial Analyst and Geospatial Statistical Analyst can also provide the researcher accurate analysis as research proof.


DigitalGlobe Launches Crowdsourcing Campaign to Help Save Hawaii’s Native Forests

In partnership with The Nature Conservancy, DigitalGlobe activated its Tomnod crowdsourcing platform to help preserve Hawaii’s remaining native forests, the areas that remain mostly untouched by civilization. Invasive weeds, such as the Australian Tree Fern and African Tulip Tree, are aggressively spreading throughout Hawaii’s high-elevation rainforests. In fact, invasive species have contributed to the destruction of more than 50 percent of Hawaii’s native forests, according to The Nature Conservancy. DigitalGlobe has a unique ability to monitor change around the world, and this campaign will allow us to do just that.

Starting with the island of Kauai, we want to pinpoint the location of some of the worst invasive weeds, but we need your help! If you would like to volunteer your time to support this mission, please visit DigitalGlobe’s Tomnod platform to join other eco-volunteers in combing through aerial images of Kauai to tag two different species of invasive weeds, specifically: Australian Tree Fern, Partial Australian Tree Fern and African Tulip Tree.

This project uses Conservancy-provided high resolution aerial photography of Kauai’s remote rainforests. By pinpointing the location of each weed, the Conservancy will be able to focus its efforts on each one, and identify the leading edge of the weeds’ spread. Targeting weeds in the regions of the forest where they are most prevalent  will slow further spread and push back that leading edge, protecting the 27 percent of native forest that remains on Kauai. Hawaii as a state stretches over more than 16,000 square kilometers, and the island of Kauai is more than 1,400 square kilometers, so the crowd can play a significant role in targeting these weeds before they spread any further. Although this project focuses on just 3,000 acres, if it is successful, the Conservancy has thousands more acres — and images — to analyze.


ASPRS is actively seeking Highlight Articles for publication in PE&RS.

Highlight Articles are meant to extend the impact of PE&RS to an even broader range of readers. These articles are semi-technical or non-technical. Each article should address topics of broader interests with greater impact to the geospatial community, and accommodate the interests of readers with a diverse level of geospatial knowledge. Highlight Articles may: review recent or historical developments in technology, industry or academia; discuss new or unusual approaches to common problems; address topics of common concerns or interests.

ASPRS is interested in articles of varied topics but are most interested in articles on:

o   Use of UAS for mapping purposes

o   Humanitarian activities/relief efforts facilitated by imaging and geospatial technologies

o   Sports applications of photogrammetry

o   Microsatellite platforms

o   Remote sensing projects by international teams

o   Imaging and geospatial information programs/initiatives in K-12 education

o   Machine vision and artificial intelligence applied to imagery

o   Remote sensing applications in the following industries; beer, wine, truffles

o   Intelligent transportation systems facilitated by photogrammetry, remote sensing, imaging, and geospatial technologies

o   Cybersecurity related to geospatial information
Highlight Articles can not be vendor-specific articles and product names are not mentioned in the body of the article but are allowed in the author credit line at the end of the article.

Please note: these are NOT to be peer-reviewed articles and therefore are not to contain lengthy lists of references or complex equations. High quality photos and graphics are encouraged.

For more information, contact:

Rae Kelley, Assistant Director-Publications at

MapLight tracks the influence of money in politics via maps

Susan Smith in, 23 June 2014

For those who need to know the geographic origin of contributions to legislators by state and by companies and other political contribution information, MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization that tracks the influence of money in politics, recently announced the launch of an extensive mapping project. This project examines the following (from the press release): geographic origin of contributions to legislators by state; contributions from companies to legislators by state; and roll call votes by state and district on key bills in Congress.

This project will shed light on how money from outside sources influences local political campaigns and also will show from what geographic locations money is contributed to key legislative initiatives.

These are some of the maps that MapLight has developed so far:

MapLight uses the latest available data from the Federal Election Commission as of April 14, 2014 to analyze campaign contributions in each of the above cases for a given election cycle of period of time.

According to their website,

MapLight connects money and votes. “We bring together, in one website, the money given to politicians with each politician’s votes.

We provide dataresearch services, and online tools that work together to make patterns of money and influence more transparent. Connections between campaign contributions, interest groups and votes that would have required days or weeks of manual research are now available at the click of a mouse.

We currently track money and votes for the U.S. Congress and the California and Wisconsinstate legislatures. You can stay up-to-date on our work via e-mailFacebook, or Twitter.”

Airbus Defence and Space launches Radar Constellation Challenge with HisdeSAT


Call for innovative radar project submissions as part of the Earth monitoring Copernicus Masters Competition

June 24, 2014 — Airbus Defence and Space, in partnership with HisdeSAT, has announced a Radar Constellation Challenge, in order to encourage the development of innovative application ideas using radar satellite imagery. The initiative is part of the Earth monitoring Copernicus Masters Competition, which aims to support the development of market-oriented applications based on Earth observation data.

The focus of the challenge is the creative utilization of high-resolution SAR (synthetic aperture radar) data specifically from the upcoming TerraSAR-X / TanDEM-X and PAZ constellation.

Starting in late 2014, the Spanish PAZ satellite (built by Airbus Defence and Space, and owned and operated by HisdeSAT) will join the twin radar satellites TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X in the same orbital plane. In combination with the identical imaging modes offered by all three satellites, this concept will make possible leveraging the potential of a satellite constellation with high revisit rates, increased coverage, improved service.

However, data integration from other sources – including satellite imagery from other commercial or public sensors – will also be considered. Airbus Defence and Space and HisdeSAT are in particular calling for creative ideas addressing maritime monitoring, security, or change detection applications.

Submissions will, among other factors, be evaluated for their innovation, as well as their potential customer and economic benefits. Their ability to integrate SAR satellite data will be taken into consideration, as will their relevance to the Copernicus programme. Competition participants – whether students, entrepreneurs, developers, or SMEs – are invited to submit their innovative approaches until 13 July 2014 through the Copernicus Masters website:

The annual Copernicus Masters competition has since 2011 been awarding prizes to innovative solutions for business and society based on Earth observation data. The competition takes place within the framework of the European Copernicus programme (formerly known as ‘GMES’ – Global Monitoring for Environment and Security), designed to create a modern, capable infrastructure for Earth observation and geo-information services.

Eagle Mapping Expands into Large-Area Projects with Riegl LMS-Q1560 Airborne LiDAR

Eagle Mapping Expands into Large-Area Projects with Riegl LMS-Q1560 Airborne LiDAR

VANCOUVER, B.C., CANADA, 24 June 2014 – Eagle Mapping Ltd., a pioneer in digital airborne mapping, has become the first commercial firm in North America to take delivery of the new Riegl LMS-Q1560 airborne laser scanner system. Designed to capture ultra-wide swaths and complex environments, the high-performance Riegl LiDAR will enable Eagle Mapping to expand into new markets including large-area, forest and urban mapping applications for government and first nation organizations.

 “The Riegl LMS-Q1560 is a powerful laser scanner developed to acquire data over large geographic areas at high altitudes,” said James Hume, Eagle Mapping President. “This will allow us to map expansive cities, counties and tribal lands quickly and cost effectively.”

 Riegl designed the powerful dual-channel LMS-Q1560 laser scanner with integrated medium-format camera for a variety of airborne mapping projects with an emphasis on wide-swath coverage. With a 58-degree field of view, the laser can be operated at a maximum pulse repetition rate of 800 kHz capable of measuring 530,000 points per second on the ground from an altitude up to 15,500 feet AGL.

 “The Riegl LMS-Q1560 is the most cost-competitive airborne laser scanner on the market today,” said Hume. “We can fly at a higher altitude and collect a denser spacing of elevation data than any other LiDAR system out there.”

 In addition, the Riegl LMS-Q1560 is unique in its innovative forward- and-look capability which, when combined with its wide field of view, enables the device to capture data from multiple angles effectively and accurately at an extremely high point density. The sensor also utilizes Multiple-Time-Around processing, echo digitization and waveform analysis to simultaneously track more than 10 pulses in the air.

 This means the LiDAR can collect tightly spaced elevation points even in complex environments. Examples are built-up city centers with a variety of buildings and vertical structures as well as extremely rugged mountain terrain where elevations change dramatically and abruptly.

 “Whether working in the mountains of British Columbia or over a densely developed urban center, we will capture accurate elevation points between soaring peaks as efficiently as we do between high-rise office buildings,” added Hume. “And regardless of the terrain, we’ll collect more data in a day and finish jobs faster than we could before.”

 Over nearly three decades, Eagle Mapping has built its reputation on finding more accurate and affordable mapping technologies. Focusing primarily on the global mining industry, the Vancouver firm was among the first to deploy airborne LiDAR technology for mapping. More recently, the Canadian firm configured a high-density, narrow-swath Riegl VQ-580 LiDAR with a DiMAC medium-format camera on a single aircraft to simultaneously collect elevation and image data for efficient mapping of pipeline and transmission line corridors.

 “As we expand into urban and large-area projects for government clients, we will continue to support our extensive client base in the international mining and corridor mapping markets,” said Rodney Cope, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

 Eagle Mapping operates a Cessna 206 and Piper Navajo aircraft currently based in British Columbia. The Navajo carries the new Riegl LMSQ1560, and the other is equipped with the Riegl VQ-580 LiDAR and DiMAC digital camera. The firm maintains field offices in Bellingham, Washington, USA, and Medellin, Colombia in South America.

Census Bureau Emergency Management Mapping Tool Adds Improvements,, WASHINGTON, June 24, 2014 — (PRNewswire) — The following tip sheet was released today by the U.S. Census Bureau:



Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released updates to the OnTheMap for Emergency Management tool. The public data tool provides an intuitive Web-based interface for viewing the potential effects of disasters on the U.S. workforce and population. Users can easily retrieve reports containing detailed workforce, population and housing characteristics for hurricanes, floods, wildfires, winter storms and federal disaster declaration areas.


  • Addition of detailed social, economic and housing statistics from the American Community Survey.
  • Addition of customizable reports that can be generated for specific communities for regional, local and comparative analyses.
  • Improved event search tool and dashboard interface.
  • New linkable maps and reports for easier sharing.
  • New charts.


Alice Trong in

Once again, the Federal Aviation Administration has reaffirmed its policy on drones: for hobbyists only.

In a document released Monday seeking public opinion on its drone policy, the agency provided guidelines for what qualifies as hobby or recreation. In a blow to Amazon’s drone-delivery plans, it pointed out that “delivering packages to people for a fee”–even as part of free shipping benefits, as with Amazon Prime–would be categorized as commercial use of an unmanned vehicle.

But according to Amazon, that doesn’t mean their ambitious plans have been completely derailed. The FAA says the guidelines apply only to recreational use. “This is about hobbyists and model aircraft, not Amazon, and has no effect on our plans,” Paul Misener, vice president of global public policy, tells Fast Company. “Our plan has always been to operate as a commercial entity to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less through Amazon Prime Air and this has no effect on that.”

To date, the FAA has only granted commercial licenses to oil companies operating drones to monitor conditions in the Arctic.

Back in December, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos alluded to drone deliveries on 60 Minutes, noting it would be four or five years until the concept took off. Despite not having the license to operate these crafts, Bezos revealed at its shareholder meeting in April that the company was already iterating on its seventh- and eighth-generation unmanned vehicles. “Failure comes part and parcel with invention. It’s not optional,” he said. “We understand that and believe in failing early and iterating until we get it right.”


Improving Global Carbon Estimates with LiDAR

Matteo Luccio in  13 May 2014


anthropogenic CO2 emissions. About 12 percent of these emissions are due to deforestation and forest degradation, mostly in developing countries. To limit forest emissions, in 2008 the United Nations launched its Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD). Building on the convening role and technical expertise of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Development Program (UNDP), and Environment Program (UNEP), it supports nationally-led REDD+ processes and promotes the involvement of all stakeholders, including forest-dependent communities, in national and international REDD+ implementation. UN-REDD is one of the more slowly moving REDD programs because it has 51 partner countries at the table, each with a different perspective on policy.

Above-ground biomass absorbs carbon when trees are alive and releases it when they die or burn. The amount of carbon stored in trees is about half of the dry weight of its biomass. To participate in UN-REDD, a country needs a baseline measurement of the total carbon stock in its above-ground biomass and must then monitor this quantity over time to assess the amount of CO2 that it releases into the atmosphere. If it finds out that it is emitting less CO2 now than in the past, it might be able to get some credit for that. Therefore, the key technical question under the program’s monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) provisions is how to monitor the amount of carbon in forests that are being considered under the program, which requires both measuring the height of the forest canopy and understanding the mix of species it contains.

“How to actually know where the carbon in the forest is spatially is turning into one of the biggest challenges,” says Greg Asner, Staff Scientist in the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science. In the past, UN-REDD policy allowed for estimation of carbon stocks in forests at the level of large regions or entire countries by sampling for carbon in forest inventory field plots. Nowadays, however, it requires detailed maps of carbon stocks. “Obviously, you cannot produce them with field data alone. So, we’ve been asked many times by governments involved in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to try to work on the ability to map carbon in a very spatially explicit way.” Without good monitoring it is impossible to implement good policy to sequester carbon in forests. “It would be like having a bank account and depositing money into it without ever getting a proper report from the bank as to whether your money is growing or not.”

One challenge for REDD programs is to make sure that an action taken to conserve carbon in one part of a forest does not simply displace emissions—for example, when loggers, banned from one area, move to another. Ensuring that does not happen would require systematically mapping carbon stocks and emissions throughout the entire surface of all the forests of the world, rather than project-by-project as is currently done.

Redd Colombia

– See more at:

A Catalog of Satellite Sensors by Resolution

Click here to go to the web site.

A sample of the catalog follows:

Satellite Sensors (0.31m – 2m)

These sophisticated commercial earth observation satellite sensors provide high-resolution satellite image data that can be applied to applicationsPick one to learn more about it.

Worldview-3 (2014)

WorldView-3 Satellite

GeoEye-2 (Postponed)

GeoEye-2 Satellite

GeoEye-1 (0.41m)

GeoEye-1 Satellite