Democratization of Satellite Mapping

Posted by GIS talk On Friday, March 25, 2011
Sponsored Links:

Far-sighted data policy and cloud computing are leading to the “democratization of satellite mapping,” one expert says — and the payoff will be wider access to information about the earth via platforms such as the new Google Earth Engine, a planetary-scale platform for environmental data and analysis.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

That is the view of South Dakota State University professor Matt Hansen, one of several scientists who worked with Google to launch Google Earth Engine. The new technology was showcased at the annual meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2010.

Hansen, the co-director of the Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence at SDSU, said that up until now, analyzing remote sensing data from satellites has required a hefty investment in infrastructure and lots of training. But not anymore. New policies by the U.S. Geological Survey are making satellite images available for free. That change in policy, paired with the cloud-computing capability offered by organizations such as Google, is making it possible for ordinary people to analyze satellite imagery without having expensive equipment.

“Eventually — soon, I expect — they’ll have the entire Landsat archive online at Google. And they’ll have the cloud computing capability to process all the data,” Hansen said. “This is an incredible advantage in terms of generating the value-added products that we create for quantifying deforestation, natural hazards, cropland area, urbanization, you name it.”

Google Earth Engine was one of the innovative ideas unveiled at the Cancun climate talks. Hansen and postdoctoral researcher Peter Potapov of SDSU worked with Google to help process more than 50,000 images in order to produce a detailed map of Mexico to demonstrate the technology.

"We are very excited about our collaboration with Dr. Matt Hansen and SDSU,” said Rebecca Moore, engineering manager for Google Earth Outreach and Google Earth Engine. “We're hopeful that the combination of our technology and his deep scientific expertise will contribute to a better understanding of the earth and its dynamics."

Hansen noted that the technology is a response to a far-sighted decision by the U.S. Geological Survey to make satellite imagery data available for free. Just two years ago, a user would have had to spend $32 million simply to get access to the images Google and Hansen’s SDSU team processed.

[full report from newswise]


-----------------------------------------------

Sponsored Links:

Visit Other Relevant Posts



Please Subscribe:
We deliver the updates right to your inbox for free! Join the hundreds of others who signed up for the free email subscription.
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

blog comments powered by Disqus

Friends of GIS Education

Asia Pacific Universities

Europe Universities

Study GIS: Europe

Posted by GIS Talk

Middle East Universities

Study GIS: Middle East

Posted by GIS Talk

The Americas

Study GIS: Americas

Posted by GIS Talk

Follow Us On Twitter and Facebook

GIS on Twitter
GIS on Facebook

GIS Education Visitors