India, Myanmar sign agreement in the field of RS
Underlining the need for restoration of democracy, India on Thursday offered Myanmar assistance in establishing the democratic structure in the country as the two sides signed a number of agreements, including remote sensing, energy sector, marketing sector along with strengthening of information sharing, technologies, projects and trade. A Framework Agreement for Mutual Cooperation in the field of remote sensing between the two sides was signed as per which India will provide Myanmar access to data from Indian remote sensing satellites at subsidized rates. India announced a grant of USD 1.3 million for upgrading Remote Sensing Ground Receiving Station in Yangon and another grant of USD three million for assistance with delineation of Myanmar’s continental shelf in addition to technical assistance for the project.
China to launch “seed satellite”
Zhang Qingwei, president of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp said, “Nine satellites, including one that will carry seeds, are set to be launched into space this year.” The first one a scientific experimental satellite would blast off at the end of April. For the first time, the country will send into orbit a “seed satellite” specially designed for seed-breeding in space, he said. It is scheduled for September. The recoverable satellite will enable scientists to try to cultivate high-yield and high-quality plant varieties after the seeds are exposed to special environments such as cosmic radiation and micro-gravity. Zhang said another important satellite to be put into space in 2006 is SinoSat 2, the country’s first direct broadcasting satellite, which is expected to beam TV programmes to even the most remote rural regions in the country. He said SinoSat 2 will be based on the country’s newest generation of satellite platform Dongfanghong 4, which has a designed life mission of 15 years. Other satellites in the pipeline include a meteorological satellite and oceanic satellite that will monitor ocean colour and red tides.
Intergraph announces new version of G/ Technology
Intergraph Corporation recently announced a new version of G/ Technology that provides significant usability enhancements for mobile users and flexible licensing for Web users. The new version further demonstrates Intergraph’s commitment to addressing market requirements for mobilizing field workers and extending data access via the Web.
G/Technology MobileViewer supports field-based, round-trip workflows so that users in the field can create intelligent redline sketches, generate cost estimates related to the designs and send all this information back into the asset database via automation using XML. MobileViewer also supports pre-configured applications for the field, such as vegetation management and field inspection, with requisite data traveling round-trip to the field and back with changes to the asset database.
Specific new features of G/Technology address data integration and manipulation, user interfaces, viewing options, tools for precisely controlling data sent to the field and license recycling to maximize concurrent Web usage.
Intergraph’s G/Technology delivers an integrated geofacilities management system that provides powerful tools to support the facilities maintenance and management needs of utilities and communications companies.
ESA, EUMETSAT to launch MetOp Satellite
The director generals of (ESA) and EUMETSAT signed an updated agreement recently to launch the Meteorological Operational satellite (MetOp), Europe’s first polar-orbiting satellite dedicated to weather and climate monitoring. ESA will develop the space segment of the mission, while EUMETSAT will handle overall operations, including launch services. The spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan via a Russian Soyuz rocket on June 30.
EUMETSAT will own MetOp-A after liftoff, and will grant ESA access in space research and technology, including scientific and applications research, study contracts and instrument development.
The overall EUMETSAT Polar System program includes a series of three MetOp satellites, each with a nominal life in orbit of five years, to be launched sequentially over 14 years. MetOp-A will be armed with a new generation of European instruments and a set of heritage instruments supplied by the US.
The new European instruments- provided by ESA, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and EUMETSAT- will augment the accuracy of temperature and humidity measurements, wind speed and wind direction over the ocean measurements and profiles of ozone in the atmosphere.
The ESA MetOp program is funded by twelve countries, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The total cost of the overall system – including the three satellites, launchers and ground segment and operations – is 2.4 billion euro.
Impact of climate warming on Polar ice sheets confirmed
In the most comprehensive survey ever undertaken of the massive ice sheets covering both Greenland and Antarctica, NASA scientists have confirmed that climate warming is changing the amount of water remaining locked in Earth’s largest storehouse of ice and snow. The survey, published inthe Journal of Glaciology, combines new satellite mapping of the height of the ice sheets from two European Space Agency satellites. It also used previous NASA airborne mapping of the edges of the Greenland ice sheets to determine how fast the thickness is changing.
The survey shows that there was a net loss of ice from the combined polar ice sheets between 1992 and 2002 and a corresponding rise in sea level. The survey documents for the first time show extensive thinning of the West Antarctic ice shelves and an increase in snowfall in the interior of Greenland, as well as thinning at the edges.
In Greenland, the survey saw large ice losses along the southeastern coast and a large increase in ice thickness at higher elevations in the interior due to relatively high rates of snowfall. This study suggests there was a slight gain in the total mass of frozen water in the ice sheet over the decade studied, contrary to previous assessments.
NASA is continuing to monitor the polar ice sheets with the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), launched in January 2003. ICESat uses a laser beam to measure the elevation of ice sheets with unprecedented accuracy three times a year. The first comprehensive ice sheet survey conducted by ICESat is expected early next year, said Zwally, mission’s project scientist.
mPower Technologies, PlanSight LLC develop new Land Records Portal
mPower Technologies (link: http:// mpower-tech.com), a technology consulting firm, software developer, and service organization; and PlanSight LLC (link: http://plansight.com), an ESRI authorized developer and provider of a full range of GIS products and consulting services, announce their business partnership recently. Together they have developed a new GIS-based land records portal application, CivX Integrator, allowing organizations to easily create, manage, distribute, and share GIS-based land records data without expensive and time-consuming programming or outsourced consulting.
Tools within mPower Integrator (link: http://mpower-tech.com/integrator) combined with software developed by PlanSight provide a sophisticated geographic data distribution and query application. CivX Integrator becomes more than the sum of its parts as a powerful and cost-effective way to distribute database and mapping information through a local network or the Internet. Workload and website implementation times are drastically reduced and revenues increased by quickly and efficiently sharing and distributing data from multiple sources.
Intergraph to aid security operations at the 2006 Olympic
Intergraph Corporation announced recently that Intergraph customer- Istituto Geografico Militare Italiano (IGMI), one of the national institutions providing the Italian government with digital cartography and integrated feature data, used Intergraph software to aid in the security operations at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.
IGMI’s task was to integrate and validate data from multiple sources to assist in securing Olympic venues, which spread across Italy from the city of Turin to the mountains bordering France. IGMI collected, validated and integrated mapping data to create valuable location specific information for use by security personnel in the prevention and response to critical incidents.
China ranks among world’s most wasteful users of resources
China ranks among the world’s most wasteful users of natural resources, according to a report by a government-linked academic group released recently. The study by the Chinese Academy of Science ranked China 56 out of 59 countries surveyed, with Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland, Britain, Holland and Norway the earth’s most efficient allocators of resources.
China’s inefficiency in the use of five major commodities- energy, water, cement, steel and non-ferrous metal was 1.9 times higher than the global average level in 2003, the report said. The State Council, or China’s cabinet, announced last month that environmental improvements, including the control of water, air and soil pollution, would be a major national priority over the next 15 years.