Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cloud Computing, Data Policy on Track to “Democratize” Satellite Mapping

28.03.2011
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.

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.

“It’s not just Google. It’s good data policy. When the U.S. Geological Survey made the data free, all of a sudden this whole new world opened up to us. It implies that you have to have to have cloud computing capability to mine all of those data,” Hansen said. “Landsat imagery went from a cost model to a free basis, so the data that we use as our main monitoring observation, 30-meter Landsat data, went from $600 per image — which is around 185 kilometers by 185 kilometers — to being free. So instead of begging and borrowing for money to work with, say, a couple hundred images, we now can access tens of thousands of images. Once you do that, you need to upscale your computing.”

Improved publicly available processing tools will “democratize” the processing of satellite data, as more people become engaged in working with the data. But, he noted, that will require more collaboration between academics, government scientists, and perhaps private industry in processing and characterizing the satellite data sets.

“There is always a chance that uninformed people will try their hand at making advanced products, and they’ll be able to do it because they will not have to have the infrastructure behind it,” Hansen said. “That’s going to put the onus on accuracy. We’re going to have to put a lot of money into accuracy assessment or what we call validation — having data sets that help determine the accuracy of the map products. This will ensure that the most accurate information on how the earth is changing is used in making policy decisions.”

Lance Nixon
605-688-5444
Lance.Nixon@sdstate.edu
Professor Matt Hansen, co-director, Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence
South Dakota State University
605-688-6591
Matthew.Hansen@sdstate.edu

Lance Nixon | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.sdstate.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>