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Monday, April 14, 2014

The GEOINT Symposium today kicked off with visionary sessions called "GEOINT Forward."

In a session on "SmallSat Remote Sensing Innovations" two startup company executives, Anne Hale Miglarese president and CEO of PlanetiQ and Robbie Schingler co-founder of Planet Labs shared how satellite technology is changing business models for earth observation.

PlanetiQ is a company that is planning a constellation of 12 to 24 satellites for weather and climate modeling. The business opportunity is that NOAA weather satellites are aging and PlanetiQ is trying to fill the void. Planet Labs is planning a large constellation of earth imaging cubesats (~10 lbs or 5 kg) in low earth orbit (400 km) with 3-5 meter spatial resolution. Planet Labs wants to eventually  launch 28 cubsats from the International Space Station with the possibility of launching an additional 72 satellites.

Miglarese said that  the weather satellite data business is following a similar path of commercialization as that of earth observation imagery. That is, government over the course of many years, has funded and launched weather satellites but with declining budgets, there is a need to fill the demand with commercial satellites that can be built cheaper and faster.

Schingler calls this ability to rapidly innovate with shorter time to market "agile aerospace." He said that it's getting cheaper to build spacecraft because of investments in other consumer electronics that he is able to leverage in building earth observation sensors. Planet Labs' commercial platforms are being built for "persistent global monitoring" where this is an "always on" constellation of satellites that can be infinitely tasked. Schingler's idea is to develop a "see before you pay data licensing model" that is able to serve multiple simultaneous users.

Schingler also believes that smallsats can disrupt the "vicious cycle of aerospace" where the are very long lead times from concept to launch. He commented that the "space business is in the IT business and will be all about software. He added that smallsats could become commoditized in a production industry. "We are at the beginning of a space renaissance with private investment driving commercial needs.

For more information on earth observation satellite startups, listen to our podcast on "Nine New Satellite Companies: Which Will Make It?"

by Joe Francica on 04/14 at 07:49 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has enterred an agreement to acquire Titan Aerospace, a New Mexico based manufacturer of solar powered drones. The solar power means the birds can be in the air for years rather than minutes. And, that works well for Google as it plans to use them for two projects that need to keep hardware in the air:

  • Project Loon - the ballon based wireless solutions
  • Makani airborne wind turbine power - a company that Google acquired last year

Titan Aerospace expects to have its drones avaiable in 2015, when the FAA expects to have nailed down rules for their use. Each of Titan's drones is expected to deliver up to 1 gigabit per second internet connections, for up to five years at time, across 1,000 miles.

- WSJ (subscription), The Verge


by Adena Schutzberg on 04/14 at 11:05 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The NGA issued a press release on April 11. The goal for NGA, according to the release states that, "NGA hopes to reap benefits in innovation, creativity, and the power of a far-reaching community of programmers who approach the development of the program from different perspectives.Director Letitia Long commented, "it’s critical we identify more ways to be innovative, reduce costs and integrate efforts across the intelligence community and all of government." 

An initial pilot project for GeoQ (other information on GeoQ is below), is underway through GEO Huntsville's GEOINT Working Group. GEO Huntsville is an economic development initiative started by Huntsville's Mayor Tommy Battle who stated that "Our initiative seeks to demonstrate how we can implement location-based technology and effectively distribute information to first responders and others quickly in the event of local emergencies."

Continue reading...

by Joe Francica on 04/13 at 10:00 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tackling Health Services Super Users with GIS

Speaking at the State Healthcare IT Connect Summit in Baltimore on April 2, Mike Powell, chief innovation officer of Maryland, said the state spends a lot of money on people who are hospitalized for conditions that could have been prevented. 
To curb those costs, Powell said Maryland uses data gathered by the state health information exchange and GIS tools from ESRI to help health system, Medicaid and public health officials identify trends and better target their limited resources.
Part of the impact has to do with a redefinition of Medicare "success" being based on health of the population vs. services delivered. Still, looking for and tackling local "problem areas" can be effective.
Boulder has Lowest Obesity Rate in the Country (Again)
The latest  Gallup/Healthways obesity study of U.S. cities is out. Boulder, Colo., has the lowest obesity rate in the nation, at 12.4%. It's held that title many times since the study began in 2008. The Huntington-Ashland, W.Va.-Ky.-Ohio are holds the opposite title: the most likely to be obese at 39.5%. I found lots of lists but no maps.
Mapping Marijuana Growers in Canada
This map suggests one of the challenges in managing medical marijuana growers: governments get post box locations, not growing locations on file.

This interactive map shows where the 12 licensed manufacturers are located. Many of the addresses here are P.O. box numbers provided to Health Canada, and they may not be the actual location of a marijuana grow-op.

I'm watching with interest as we move to medical marijuana here in Massachusetts.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/11 at 03:26 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Teaching and Learning Tools

MangoMap Offers QGIS Tutorial

MangoMap is online mapping solution so I think the newly announced series of tutorial videos for QGIS is just a marketing/lead collection effort (like the company's book). The first one is up and a new one is to be released each week. The first module is five minutes:

In this module we introduce the QGIS project itself, as well as explaining the user interface.

After completing this section, you will be able to correctly identify the main elements of the screen in QGIS and know what each of them does, and load a shapefile into QGIS.

Boundless QGIS Tutorial

Not to be outdone, Boundless offers a mini-tutorial based on San Francisco's open bikeshare data.

Developing Project-based Learning Modules with ArcGIS Online

That's what I think I'd call this asynchronous, professional development focused online course.

Developing Project Based Instructional Units Utilizing ArcGIS Online

a.k.a. Examining Your Environment through the Power of Data (EYEPOD) Advanced Online:  

About this Course

This 40 hour course is designed for educators who are familiar with and who have taught with ArcGIS. Note that this course is not designed for those whose primary goal is to teach GIS skills. Rather, it is designed for instructors of other disciplines who would like to add a geospatial perspective, project based instructional techniques, and the "power of data" to their existing courses. Although you will learn some ArcGIS online skills, the main focus for this course is pedagogy, or how to teach to improve student learning outcomes. Much of the course focuses on secondary educators, but it is adaptable to post-secondary educators as well. 

It was funded by NSF and used ArcGIS Online beta so some of it is likely dated. The videos (three) are about an hour each. The only date I could find was 2013. It's by Rubino-Hare, L., Manone, M.,Sample, J.,& Clark, J.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/10 at 03:41 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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