Researchers work on Attack Resilient Micro Aerial Vehicles

From Earth Imaging Journal

April 25, 2016

Drones are seeing increased use in a wide array of applications, including delivery and inspection services, aerial photography, mapping and surveying, and search and rescue missions. Integrating these unmanned aircraft systems, known more technically as micro aerial vehicles (MAVs), is expected to have a significant economic impact, with a predicted investment of $91 billion over the next decade.

“It is conceivable that hundreds of thousands of MAVs will be tearing across the sky every day largely under their own automated control,” says Guoquan Huang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Delaware.

“Each of these vehicles, however, could be hijacked or deliberately controlled for malicious purposes, exposing us to unprecedented vulnerabilities.”

Huang was recently awarded a two-year grant from the National Science Foundation to design resource-aware, attack-resilient, consistent MAV navigation.

The $166,000 award will enable Huang, whose expertise lies in robotics, to develop consistent state estimation algorithms that will allow drones to detect abnormalities in their sensing and react to them to compensate for malicious attacks.

Disrupted drone navigation has both economic and security implications.

“The Department of Homeland Security is particularly interested in this issue because drones are so ubiquitous,” Huang says.

He emphasizes that his work focuses on protecting the sensing systems that drive navigation — not on the communication systems embedded in MAVs. While other researchers are addressing communication vulnerabilities, he says, little to no attention has focused on securing MAV navigation.

“As MAVs become integral to our economy and national security, we face ever more frequent and threatening attacks,” Huang says. “By enabling secure MAV navigation in the presence of malicious attacks, this research will add one more layer of protection to our society.”

The project will also create research opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students from UD, and an integrated outreach program will provide innovative hands-on teaching and learning of robotics programming for K-12 students.

OSM: The Simple Map that Became a Global Movement

From Directions Magazine

By Diana S. Sinton

Since its inception in 2004, the growth and maturation of OpenStreetMap is evidenced through numerous metrics: in its data collection methodology, its editorial support infrastructure, its policies and standards, and, of course, in the quality and quantity of its data collection itself. As founder Steve Coast has said, “When I created OSM more than 10 years ago, I was just out to create a map — and that’s it. Since then, the tool and its uses have evolved and I believe that it’s an amazing thing that there are people involved in the [OSM] project that want to do socially beneficial things with the tool and that they’re interested in OSM from a different perspective.” In this article we will consider the OSM community of contributors, the data they produce, and the projects that have been made possible. Some of this information was presented during the recent American Association of Geographer’s 2016 meeting in San Francisco, during a session on OSM.

Continue reading OSM: The Simple Map that Became a Global Movement

The 8 Fastest-Growing Careers of 2016


Malware Scam Uses GPS Data

From The Verge: Malware and Speeding Drivers

A new malware scam is posing as a speeding ticket email with a fake link that is said to load malicious code onto users’ computers. The emails, sent to at least few local residents in Tredyffrin, Pennsylvania, purport to come from the local police department. Malware emails that masquerade as something official are not rare, but these messages are fairly unique: they are said to contain accurate speeding data, including street names, speed limits, and actual driving speeds, according to the Tredyffrin Police Department, located close to Philadelphia.

It’s suspected that the data is coming from an app with permission to track phone GPS data. That could either be a legitimate app that has been compromised, or a purpose-built malicious app that was uploaded online. As anyone who has used a GPS navigator knows, location data can be used to roughly calculate your travel speed. The emails ask for payment of the speeding ticket, but no apparatus is set up to receive such fines. Instead, a link that claims to lead to a photo of the user’s license plate instead loads malware onto the user’s device.

This particular scam appears to be hyperlocal at the moment, however, it does show how these scams can progress. Like con artists, most of these scams rely on fooling users into thinking they’re from a legitimate source. By revealing data that one would think only the police could have, people are more likely to click the link and get infected.

From: Speeding Citation

To: (Accurate Email Removed)

Date: 03/11/2016 03:08 PM

Subject: [External] Notification of excess speed

First Name: (Accurate Name removed)

Last Name: (Accurate Name removed)

Notification of excess speed

Route: (Accurate Local Township Road –removed)

Date: 8 March 2016

Time: 7:55 am

Speed Limit: 40

Detected Speed: 52

The Infraction Statement contains an image of your license plate and the citation which must be paid in 5 working days.



ASTER Data Available at No Charge

On April 1, 2016, NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC) began distributing ASTER Level 1 Precision Terrain Corrected Registered At-Sensor Radiance (AST_L1T) data products over the entire globe at no charge. Global distribution of these data at no charge is a result of a policy change made by NASA and Japan.

The AST_L1T product provides a quick turn-around of consistent GIS-ready data as a multi-file product, which includes a HDF-EOS data file, full-resolution composite images (FRI) as GeoTIFFs for tasked telescopes (e.g., VNIR/SWIR and TIR ), and associated metadata files. In addition, each AST_L1T granule contains related products including low-resolution browse and, when applicable, a Quality Assurance (QA) browse and QA text report.

More than 2.95 million scenes of archived data are now available for direct download through the LP DAAC Data Pool and for search and download through NASA‘s Earthdata Search Client and also through USGS‘ GloVis , and USGS‘ EarthExplorer . New scenes will be added as they are acquired and archived.

ASTER is a partnership between NASA, Japan‘s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan, and Japan Space Systems (J-spacesystems ).

Visit the LP DAAC ASTER Policy Change Page to learn more about ASTER. Subscribe to the LP DAAC listserv for future announcements.

Free GIS Programming Tutorials: Learn How to Code

From GIS Geography:

Learn to write code for free in any GIS programming language

What do successful self-taught GIS programmers eat for breakfast?

A healthy dose of Python, JavaScript, SQL, VB.NET, C++, HTML, CSS… In that order are the most popular GIS programming languages.

It’s not necessary to have GIS programming skills to land a job in the industry. But it’s a feather in your cap if you do. And it will certainly help.

If you’re just starting out, we flaunt some of the best, free GIS programming resources available to pave your way to coding competency:

-Thanks to Reddit user Korlyth for his contributions and inspiration to us for creating this post.

 GIS Programming in Applications – Python, C++, .NET, C#

Python has been a standard language in GIS because Esri and open source tend to gravitate toward it. Of all GIS programming languages, many consider it to be the front-runner.

In addition to Python, C++, C# and .NET languages exist in GIS:

C++ lets you work in multiple environments. While C# and the .NET languages offer you good development tools and interaction with Windows-based software.

We suggest to learn Python first because its usually the first language a company looks for.

Continue reading Free GIS Programming Tutorials: Learn How to Code