NASA Is Just Killing It With These Earth-Watching Satellites

Eric Roston in BloombergBusiness 27 Feb 2015

Five satellites launched in the past year are keeping an eye on Earth, wind and fire. And water.

This map shows solar-induced fluorescence, a plant process that occurs during photosynthesis, from Nov. through Dec. 2014 as measured by NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2. NASA/JPL-Caltech
This map shows solar-induced fluorescence, a plant process that occurs during photosynthesis, from Nov. through Dec. 2014 as measured by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2.

Anybody can drive a shovel into the ground to see how moist the soil is. What’s tricky is doing it over every square yard of land on Earth. From 426 miles above the surface of the planet. Every 100 minutes.

Fortunately, we don’t have to. Now there’s SMAP, the newest NASA Earth-observing satellite, which from its orbit can read soil moisture levels two inches deep, just about anywhere there’s soil. It will help predict floods and weather, watch droughts, and monitor agricultural conditions, particularly where people’s lives may be urgently at stake.

SMAP is one of five Earth satellites launched in the past year, all of which will produce data helpful to hurricane first-responders, weather forecasters, farmers, climate scientists, or anybody who likes to look at beautiful animated graphics on the Internet.  Click here to read more.

Learn From a Master-Edward Tufte Course

Please see link below for a great educational opportunity!!  Full-time students get a significant discount to take the course- $200 rather than $380 plus you get copies of 4 books.  The course is called, “Presenting Data and Information”.

“One visionary day….the insights of this class lead to new levels of understanding both for creators and viewers of visual displays.” WIRED

“The Leonardo da Vinci of data.” THE NEW YORK TIMES


Hexagon Geospatial is sponsoring a contest this year for the international conference that takes place in Las Vegas June 1-4.  The winner, both student and their professor, get an all-expense paid trip to the conference and will present their abstract there.

The details can be found on the website here:

Students must be 21 to participate.

Need Help Selling GIS to Your Company?

An enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS) is a weighty investment. Aside from the server and client install hassle, the capital investment to get the job done can seem daunting.

So what can you do with this investment? What magic can you conjure to see a return on it?

Continue reading Need Help Selling GIS to Your Company?

Summer of …


Summer of Maps is a three-month long fellowship giving student GIS analysts the opportunity to perform geospatial data analysis for local and national non-profit organizations.

How does it work?

We match up a few non-profit organizations that have spatial analysis needs with talented students of GIS to implement projects over a three-month period during the summer. Fellows get paid while expanding their skills in a professional environment , non-profits get pro bono GIS assistance that can support their mission.

Important Dates

  • January 5, 2015: Organization application opens
  • February 8, 2015: Organization application closes
  • February 27, 2015: Student application opens
  • March 15, 2015: Student application closes
  • May 1, 2015: Announce Student Fellows and Organizations
  • June 1, 2015: Fellowships start


Ground Water Toolbox (USGS)

From the USGS:

The Groundwater Toolbox is a graphical and mapping interface for analysis of hydrologic data. The software is a customized interface built on the non-proprietary, open-source MapWindow geographic information system software in a Microsoft Windows computing environment. The Groundwater Toolbox allows for the retrieval of hydrologic time-series data (streamflow, groundwater levels, and precipitation) from the USGS National Water Information System; preprocessed meteorological data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center also are available with the Groundwater Toolbox.”  Get the toolbox or read more here.

Another GIS Website to consider

TOH to Adam Shinal, former NOVA GIS student who called the following to my attention.  You will probable find it useful, too.  Thanks, Adam!

” I just discovered a geo-nerd podcast called A Very Spatial Podcast ( that offers a good mix of GIS, Remote Sensing, UAS, and general technology news and insight.  Even if you don’t listen to each podcast, clicking the “Continue Reading” link at the bottom of each podcast entry will get you a list of links to the news they talked about during the show.  One item that caught my attention and made me think of the NOVA students was the Summer of Maps program (  You may well already know about it, but it’s a paid opportunity for students to partner with non-profits and do GIS work over the summer.”!

The GeoPlatform provides shared and trusted geospatial data, services, and applications for use by the public and by government agencies and partners to meet their mission needs. Through the GeoPlatform, users have access to

  • A one-stop shop to deliver trusted, nationally consistent data and services
  • Authoritative data to support informed decision making
  • Problem-solving applications and services that are built once and can be used many times across multiple Federal agencies and other organizations
  • A shared infrastructure to host data and applications
  • A national and Federal focal point where governmental, academic, private, and public data and applications can be visualized together to inform and address national and regional issues

Click here to read more or to access

Google Earth Pro is now Free

30 Jan 2015 Click here to read the original.

Over the last 10 years, businesses, scientists and hobbyists from all over the world have been using Google Earth Pro for everything from planning hikes to placing solar panels on rooftops. Google Earth Pro has all the easy-to-use features and detailed imagery of Google Earth, along with advanced tools that help you measure 3D buildings, print high-resolution images for presentations or reports, and record HD movies of your virtual flights around the world.

Starting today, even more people will be able to access Google Earth Pro: we’re making it available for free. To see what Earth Pro can do for you—or to just have fun flying around the world—grab a free key and download Earth Pro today. If you’re an existing user, your key will continue to work with no changes required.