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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On October 6 the U.S. made public a new document updating space policy (pdf) for exploration in the universe and here on earth. GCN reports that the policy for using imagery for homeland security seemed “new” to some, but not to others.

“That is the first time I have seen that in print,” said a geospatial industry expert who asked not to be identified, referring to language related to imaging within the United States by high-resolution government satellites. While the provisions are ‘eyebrow raising,’ they are constrained by a stipulation that the satellite imagery complies with today’s laws, Stephen Aftergood, director of the project on government secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists, said in an interview.

“I think the answer is no, this provision is not new, because it states it is consistent with applicable laws,” Aftergood said.

The other tidbit, which I think has been suspected by many for some time:

The document states that U.S. government satellite photoreconnaissance now includes a near real-time capability and overhead signals intelligence. Many IT systems integrators use satellite imagery for homeland security projects.

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/11 at 06:14 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

A press release from Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York reports that a recent study shows that “the Costal Storm Plan (CSP) and Geographic Information System (GIS) Map distributed by the New York City Office of Emergency Management to residents about the hazards of hurricanes and where to go if they need to evacuate is unclear to certain target populations.” The release goes on to note that those with limited education could not determine if they lived in an evacuation zone and some could not locate their homes on the map. Bottom line: the problem does not seem to be the map, but the inability to use it effectively.

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/11 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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