Top Stories
Top Stories
Top news stories from Sensors & Systems online magazine.
Caltech, JPL Team Captures Movement on Nepal Earthquake Fault Rupture

Using a combination of satellite radar imaging data, GPS data measured in and near Nepal, and seismic observations from instruments around the world, Caltech and JPL scientists have constructed a preliminary picture of what happened below Earth's surface during the recent 7.8-magnitude Gorkha earthquake in Nepal.

The team's observations and models of the April 25, 2015 earthquake, produced through the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) project—a collaboration between Caltech and JPL—include preliminary estimates of the slippage of the fault beneath Earth's surface that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. In addition, the ARIA scientists have provided first responders and key officials in Nepal with information and maps that show block-by-block building devastation as well as measurements of ground movement at individual locations around the country.

"As the number of orbiting imaging radar and optical satellites that form the international constellation increases, the expected amount of time it takes to acquire an image of an impacted area will decrease, allowing for products such as those we have made for Nepal to become more commonly and rapidly available," says Mark Simons, professor of geophysics at Caltech and a member of the ARIA team. "I fully expect that within five years, this kind of information will be available within hours of a big disaster, ultimately resulting in an ability to save more lives after a disaster and to make assessment and response more efficient in both developed and developing nations."

Over the last five years, Simons and his colleagues in Caltech's Seismological Laboratory and at JPL have been developing the approaches, infrastructure, and technology to rapidly and automatically use satellite-based observations to measure the movement of Earth's surface associated with earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and other geophysical processes.

"ARIA is ultimately aimed at providing tools and data—for use by groups ranging from first responders, to government agencies, and individual scientists—that can help improve situational awareness, response, and recovery after many natural disasters," Simons says. "The same products also provide key observational constraints on our physical understanding of the underlying processes such as the basic physics controlling seismogenic behavior of major faults."

ARIA is funded through a combination of support from JPL, Caltech, and NASA.

FAA-Industry Initiative Will Expand Small UAS Horizons

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2015—The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced a partnership with industry to explore the next steps in unmanned aircraft operations beyond the type of operations the agency proposed in the draft small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) rule it published in February.

OGC Announces Standard for Concise Description of Earth Coordinate Reference Systems

May 6, 2015 — The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) membership has adopted the OGC Well-known Text (WKT) Representation of Coordinate Reference Systems Encoding Standard.

U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Selects Global Mapper Enterprise License for Advanced LiDAR Processing

Hallowell, Maine, May 6, 2015 — Blue Marble Geographics (bluemarblegeo.com), today announced that the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has selected Global Mapper enterprise license, providing advanced LiDAR processing capabilities for multiple DOI agencies.

Boundless Announces Commitment to GeoNode

New York, NY, May 6, 2015 — Boundless, the leading provider of open source geospatial software and services, is pleased to announce the availability of tailored services and support for the GeoNode project (http://www.geonode.org/).

Teledyne Optech’s Next-Generation CMS V500 Cavity Monitoring System Released

May 6, 2015 — Teledyne Optech is pleased to announce the CMS V500, a complete redesign of its highly popular Cavity Monitoring System that introduces a live video feed, cable-free operation, and other critical new features that improve safety and efficiency in underground mining.

Ecometrica Launches Groundbreaking Technology

May 6, 2015 — Leading sustainability software and data firm Ecometrica has launched a new technology which allows government departments and firms to analyse complex data from satellites without the need for supercomputers for the first time.

OmniEarth Expands Water Resource Management Offerings, Opens California Office to Focus on Drought

ARLINGTON, VA, May 6, 2015 — OmniEarth announced the expansion of its water resource management tools in support of California’s 20x2020 conservation plan and the increased pressure on water districts to reduce consumption during the continuing statewide drought.

eXom Ready for Take-Off - SenseFly's Intelligent Mapping and Inspection Drone Now Available to Pre-Order

ATLANTA, May 6, 2015 — Unmanned Systems 2015 -- Swiss professional drone maker, senseFly, today launches the eXom, its highly-anticipated quadcopter UAS for mapping and inspection. The eXom is available to pre-order immediately and ships this summer.

Exelis to Feature Enhanced CorvusEye 1500 Analytics Capabilities at Unmanned Systems 2015

ATLANTA, May 6, 2015 — Exelis (NYSE: XLS) (booth #2449) has improved the way its CorvusEye 1500 wide-area airborne system processes and analyzes the vast amount of data it collects, which is crucial in helping customers make critical decisions.

Canada Releases a Report on the Value of their Geomatics Sector

May 5, 2015—The Summary Report of the Canadian Geomatics Environmental Scan and Value Study, prepared by Hickling Arthurs Low and associates for Natural Resources Canada is now available for download.

Leica AHAB Chiroptera II Exceeds Depth Specs in a Demonstration Flight in Japan

Heerbrugg/Switzerland, Jönköping/Sweden, May 5, 2015—Airborne Hydrography AB, part of Leica Geosystems, recently made a new depth record in airborne LIDAR bathymetry with the Leica Chiroptera II system during a customer demonstration survey near Okinawa and the Tenryu River, Japan.  

Remtec Has Expanded Its Process Capabilities and Developed New Technologies for Metallized Ceramic Sensors, Detectors and Analyzers

Norwood, MA. May 5, 2015 — Remtec Inc. (www.remtec.com), the leading manufacturer of ceramic substrates and packages using PCTF® metallization, has expanded its process capabilities and developed new techniques to manufacture high performance metalized ceramic sensors in a variety of diverse applications. These include motion/velocity and acceleration systems, electrical measurement (capacitance and resistance), medical monitoring, diagnostic and detection, optical such as light sources, infrared detectors and fiber optics, liquid and gas flow, biosensors, temperature and thermal conductivity as well as wireless sensors.

Leica Chiroptera II Exceeds Depth Specs in a Demonstration Flight in Japan

Heerbrugg/Switzerland, Jönköping/Sweden, May 5 2015 — Airborne Hydrography AB, part of Leica Geosystems, recently made a new depth record in airborne LIDAR bathymetry with the Leica Chiroptera II system during a customer demonstration survey near Okinawa and the Tenryu River,  Japan.

Microsoft UltraMap 3.9: Field Experience + Microsoft Expertise at Your Fingertips

Tampa, Florida, May 5, 2015 — At the IGTF/ASPRS 2015 conference in Tampa, Florida, Microsoft’s UltraCam business unit is introducing an updated version of the UltraMap workflow software system to enable UltraCam customers to produce richer data products, work more efficiently and cost-effectively, and extend their data offerings to customers.

IntelinAir Releases New, Breakthrough UAS Technology

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 5, 2015 — IntelinAir announces the launch of its new unmanned aerial system (UAS) technology, powered by its patented robust adaptive flight control technology delivering precision data collection and advanced data-analysis for actionable intelligence.  

RIEGL LIDAR 2015 Opens in Hong Kong #RieglLiDAR2015

Johannes Riegl, Jr., chief marketing officer at RIEGL, welcomed attendees to the company’s LIDAR 2015 International User Conference in Hong Kong this morning. The bi-annual event in Asia is of significance as this has been a very strong growth market for the company. More than 300 people are in attendance at this event, which spends two days in Hong Kong and then moves across the border to Guangzhou in mainland China.

MDA Releases RADARSAT-2 Information for the Nepal Earthquake

Richmond, BC, May 4, 2015 –MDA’s Information Systems group announced today that it is releasing RADARSAT-2 information products and analysis from the major earthquake in Nepal. The unique Extra-Fine imaging mode offered by RADARSAT-2 provides an unprecedented ability to capture exceptional resolution imagery over large areas (nominal 5 m resolution at a nominal swath width of 125 km), and from that identify detailed changes.

Dam Removal Study Reveals River Resiliency

SEATTLE, Wash. — More than 1,000 dams have been removed across the United States because of safety concerns, sediment buildup, inefficiency or having otherwise outlived usefulness. A paper published today in Science finds that rivers are resilient and respond relatively quickly after a dam is removed.

The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Reorganizes Committee Structure

ISPRS issued a postal vote on the re-organisation of the Commission structure including a change of Bylaws. The deadline for voting was April, 25, 2015. An overwhelming majority of the ISPRS Ordinary Members has voted in favour of the new structure suggested by Council. This means that at the 2016 ISPRS Congress in Prague, bids will be solicited for five commissions.

Sogi Hydroelectric Plant 3D Mapped with Lasers as Part of International Preservation Effort

OAKLAND, Calif., May 4, 2015 – The Sogi hydroelectric plant, considered a significant contribution to the Meiji Industrial revolution, has been mapped as part of the CyArk 500 Challenge, an international project to digitally preserve and create awareness of some of the world’s most significant cultural heritage sites. The Sogi site has been recorded in 3D by an international team using the latest in geospatial technologies from Topcon, the Japanese-based manufacturer of geopositioning solutions. The Sogi plant is the second Japanese site to join the CyArk archive, a free, 3-D online library of cultural heritage sites that includes the statues of Easter Island, Pompeii, ancient Thebes, and Mount Rushmore.

Trimble Introduces New Software Enhancements at Imaging and Geospatial Technology Forum

TAMPA, Fla., May 4, 2015—Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) today announced a series of new software enhancements that enable photogrammetry, GIS, geospatial and remote sensing professionals to streamline workflows, achieve faster results and gain increased value from highly accurate geospatial data. Enhancements include the Trimble® Inpho version 6.1 photogrammetric suite, UASMaster version 6.1 and UASMaster Lite for Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) applications and eCognition® version 9.1 and eCognition Essentials version 1.1 image analysis software.

Most Advanced GPS Satellite Comes Together: First Lockheed Martin-Built GPS III Ready For System-Level Testing

DENVER, May 4, 2015  Using a 10-ton crane, Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] engineers and technicians gently lowered the system module of the U.S. Air Force’s first next generation GPS III satellite into place over its propulsion core, successfully integrating the two into one space vehicle.

Topcon GNSS Network Expands to Latin America

LIVERMORE, Calif., USA/ CAPELLE A/D IJSSEL, The Netherlands – May 4 2015 — Topcon Positioning Group announces the expansion of the TopNETlive GNSS reference station network into Latin America. In conjunction with hosting partners, new service will be provided in Mexico, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Guatemala, Colombia and Panama.

Septentrio Announces Cm-Accurate GNSS Solution and Complimentary Software Suite, GeoTagZ, Specially Designed for the Drone Market

Leuven, Belgium, May 4 2015 — Septentrio is pleased to announce the launch of AsteRx-m UAS, a RTK –accurate GNSS receiver solution specially designed for the drone market. The AsteRx-m UAS provides high accuracy GNSS positioning with industry leading low power consumption. The launch of the AsteRx-m UAS board is complemented by the release of GeoTagZ software suite; which works together with the UAS camera and image processing solution to provide cm-accurate position tagging of the images without the need for a real-time data link.

White House Response to House-Proposed Funding Cuts to NASA's Earth Science and Space Technology Programs

On May 1, 2015, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Dr. John P. Holdren issued the following statement on proposed funding cuts to NASA's critical Earth science and space technology programs:

OpenStreetMap Rallies for Nepal

As reports came in on Saturday that Nepal was hit with the biggest earthquake since 1934, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) immediately rallied the OpenStreetMap community. Since then, thousands of people have started mapping.

Earth Observation Mission Reveals the Mountain Beneath the Mittelbergferner Glacier in the Ausrian Alps

Results from a recent field campaign, which was organised to help investigate the potential of a new Earth observation mission concept, have provided a unique 3D glimpse of the peaks and troughs under the Mittelbergferner glacier in the Austrian Alps.

FAA Grants CompassData Exemption for Commercial Operation of UX5 Unmanned Aircraft System

CENTENNIAL, Colorado, May 1, 2015 — CompassData, a worldwide provider of geospatial data and services, is excited to announce that they have been granted an exemption by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the commercial operation of their Trimble UX5 Unmanned Aircraft System within the U.S.  The exemption was granted under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA). 

RIEGL USA to Present and Exhibit at ASPRS 2015 and the Co-Located JACIE Workshop

May 1, 2015 — RIEGL USA will be exhibiting at the 2015 ASPRS Annual Conference and presenting at the co-located JACIE Workshop!