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Mapping

— Space

ESA's Sentinel-2A satellite arrives in French Guiana ahead of launch

By - April 27, 2015 2 Pictures
ESA's Sentinel-2A satellite has arrived safely in French Guiana, ahead of its June 12 launch atop a Vega rocket. It was carried in the belly of an enormous Russian-made Antonov cargo plane, and protected within a specially-constructed air conditioned habitat. Once operational, the satellite will represent a cornerstone of the agency's Copernicus program, which is striving to revolutionize how we observe and understand our environment, and how we may be able to tackle the detrimental effects of climate change. Read More
— Aircraft

Micro-flyer drone could help a robot to fight fires on ships

By - February 5, 2015 3 Pictures
This week, the US Office of Naval Research released details regarding a demo of its Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) conducted last November. The robot, as its name implies, is designed to help human crews fight fires in the close confines of naval vessels. In order to get to those fires quicker, SAFFiR may ultimately receive some help itself from an autonomous drone, that was also part of the demonstration. Read More
— Space

NASA successfully launches SMAP satellite

By - January 31, 2015 4 Pictures
On its third attempt, NASA has successfully launched its Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite atop a United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket. The orbiter is designed to take high resolution moisture maps on a global scale, mapping the entire planet in the space of only two to three days. The maps will grant us an improved ability to forecast droughts, floods, and even aid agricultural workers in crop planning and rotation. Read More
— Space

NASA releases stunning global maps of six of Saturn's moons

By - December 11, 2014 12 Pictures
NASA has released global maps of six of the Saturnian moons. The system has been under the intense examination of the Cassini-Huygens mission for the past decade, and the completion of the global maps represents the end of one of the legendary spacecraft's key mission objectives. Almost all of the maps are whole, though there are currently parts of Iapetus unfinished, as well as a region of the north pole of Enceladus set to be filled in some time next year. Read More
— Science

UAVs could map the bottom of the sea, using new lidar tech

By - December 8, 2014 3 Pictures
When an organization sets out to map the sea floor, it will typically use a device known as a bathymetric lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) unit. These are large and can weigh almost 600 lb (272 kg), so they're mounted on crewed aircraft that fly over the area to be mapped. Led by Dr. Grady Tuell, a team at Georgia Tech has now developed a cost-effective new system that they claim could lead to much smaller, more efficient bathymetric lidars, capable of being carried by a UAV. Read More
— Robotics

Underwater robot provides first detailed, high-resolution 3D maps of Antarctic sea ice

By - November 25, 2014 6 Pictures
Antarctic scientists have combined measurements provided by an underwater robot with existing satellite data to show that Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought. Their first-of-a-kind high-resolution 3D maps cover over 500,000 square meters in the Weddell, Bellingshausen, and Wilkes Land sectors of Antarctica, and they reveal heavy deformation in all three near-coastal regions that produces mean sea-ice draft (thickness of the submerged part of the ice) far in excess of ice drilling and ship-based measurements. This is a big leap forward in our ability to understand why and how the ice is changing on both small and large scales. Read More
— Marine

3D mapping project to monitor changes in sunken Pearl Harbor ships

By - November 11, 2014 1 Picture
The observance in the United States this week of Veterans Day, a federal holiday honoring those who have served in the American military, holds special meaning for those who lost loved ones when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii during World War II. An underwater 3D imaging project is using modern technology to bring greater insights to this tragic historical event. Read More
— Electronics

NavVis performs Google-like 3D mapping, but quicker

By - October 17, 2014 5 Pictures
When we first heard about the NavVis system a couple of years ago, it was being developed for indoor navigation. Developed by researchers at the Technical University of Munich, it utilizes maps consisting of location-tagged photos of the hallways of buildings. In order to figure out where they are, users just take a photo of their surroundings using their smartphone, then the NavVis app matches that photo up with one in its map. Now, the technology has been expanded to the point that it could give Google Street View a run for its money. Read More
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