by Peter Colohan (he’s awesome!), Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, April 19, 2013
Ever wonder where the Weather Channel gets its data? Where the satellite images for Google Earth come from? These data and much more come from a complex array of satellites, ocean buoys, stream gauges, human surveys, and other platforms for collecting what the scientific community calls Earth observations. These data are used every day to protect life and property and answer key questions about our planet.Today, the Obama Administration’s National Science and Technology Council released a National Strategy for Civil Earth Observations—a framework for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the Nation’s Earth-observation enterprise. Currently, 11 Federal departments and agencies engage in Earth observation activities, collecting volumes of important data about the Earth on an ongoing basis, using an array of sophisticated tools and systems. The new Strategy outlines a process for evaluating and prioritizing Earth-observation investments according to their value to society in critical areas such as agriculture, global change, disasters, water resources, and weather.Each year, the U.S. Government invests significant resources in Earth-observations systems to collect data about Earth’s land, oceans, ecosystems, and atmosphere. Together, these systems take the pulse of our planet, providing critical Earth-system data that scientists and analysts can then turn into usable information about climate and weather, disaster events, land-use changes, ecosystem health, natural resources, and more. Ultimately, information and services derived from Earth-observation data—including some as ubiquitous as weather forecasts and GPS-navigation—are used by policy makers, resource managers, business leaders, first-responders, and citizens to make important day-to-day decisions.But as the Nation’s Earth-observation capacity has grown, so has the complexity of the Earth-observation endeavor. The demand for data, the complexity of the tools required to collect those data, and the sheer amount of data being collected, all are increasing. The National Strategy for Civil Earth Observations aims to help Federal agencies face these challenges by better-organizing existing Earth-observation systems and information, and coordinating plans for future projects. In support of the Obama Administration’s Open Data Initiatives, this Strategy also provides specific guidance on how agencies can make these Earth observations more open and accessible to the public.Going forward, the Strategy will be used as a basis to inform a broad National Plan for Civil Earth Observations—a blueprint for future investments in US Earth-observing systems, including agency roles and responsibilities, and creative solutions to challenges related to maintaining the Nation’s Earth-observing systems. It will also reinforce the United States’ ongoing commitment to work with international partners through the multi-national Group on Earth Observations GEO.The Strategy released today provides an evidence-based framework for routine assessment and planning across the entire family of Federal agencies engaged in Earth observations. It will help agencies compare notes, prioritize activities, and improve the quality of data about the planet—with the ultimate goal of meeting society’s most pressing data and information needs. Read the Strategy here.Learn more about global Earth-observation efforts here.Peter Colohan is a Senior Policy Analyst at OSTP
by Mark Prigg, MailOnline, April 12, 2013
GPS has become a part of everyday life for most of us, with phones, cars, boats and planes relying on the network of satellites to pinpoint their location.However, the US military has revealed a tiny chip, small enough to fit on a penny, that could do away with the need for an expensive network of orbiting base stations.The tiny chip contains three gyroscopes, three accelerometers and a master clock, and when combined with computer software, can work out exactly where it is going.
by Mikeal Rogers, Wired Magazine, March 7, 2013
GitHub was intended to be an open software collaboration platform, but it’s become a platform for much, much more than code. It’s now being used by artists, builders, home owners, everyone in between, entire companies … and cities. GitHub is doing to open source what the internet did to the publishing industry.“ Anyone can now change the data when new bike paths are built, when roads are under construction, and new buildings are erected,” the city of Chicago recently announced. … Perhaps not so surprisingly, he has about 17 open “pull” requests for changes. And of course, GitHub is still used by programmers and developers flying AR Drones with Node.js or building websites with jQuery.
For full text of this article, visit The GitHub Generation: Why We’re All in Open Source Now | Wired Opinion | Wired.com.
- The GitHub Revolution: We’re All in Open Source Now (wired.com)
- Chicago Using GitHub Has Potential For More Citizen Participation in Government (architects.dzone.com)
By Christopher Rees and Kevin Madders, BBC News, 28 February 2013
Since the issues are transnational, we’ve proposed the development of an international Geo-information Convention.Its aim is to be technology-neutral, so that it is future-proof enough also to cover new systems like hyper spectral sensors reminiscent of Star Trek and drones with privacy implications reminiscent of 1984.Continue reading the main story “Start Quote What limits should we put on use of its power?”The essential questions are: how do we make geoinformation reliable enough for the particular applications for which it is to be used, and what limits should we put on use of its power?Work on these difficult questions has already begun through the International Bar Association.
For full text of this op-ed, visit BBC News – Viewpoint: We need ground rules for geo-information.
Thank you to Adena Schutzberg (@adenas) for passing this along.
- We need ground rules for geo-information (bbc.co.uk)
by Jessica Stillman, Inc. Magazine, Feb 12
These [e.g., GitHub] may be among the more extreme embodiments of the flattening impulse, but they speak to a real fervor for flat structures as up-and-coming companies try to keep their teams cohesive, responsive, and agile.Does this enthusiasm for flattened companies hold up to careful study, though? That’s the question asked by Julie Wulf in a new Harvard Business School working paper. Through quantitative research and more qualitative interviews and CEO time-use surveys, Wulf and her team looked into the actual effects when larger companies eliminated layers of management. …
To learn about this study and its surprising results, visit What Happens When You Have Fewer Managers | Inc.com.
by Kit Eaton, Fast Company, Feb 18, 2013
New draft legislation in the House of Representatives is attempting to restrict the private use of drones, making it a misdemeanor to use a UAV to photograph a person or their property without their explicit permission. Public space use would be equally limited, according to the “Preserving American Privacy Act of 2013″ (PDF), requiring a max altitude of just six feet. Law enforcement bodies would have to obtain a warrant or court order to be able collect information on individuals in a private area. …
For full text of the article, visit Lawmakers Target Drones With “Preserving American Privacy Act Of 2013″ | Fast Company.
- Lawmakers Target Drones With “Preserving American Privacy Act Of 2013″ (fastcompany.com)
- Congressional Hearing Highlights Lack of Domestic Drone Rules (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)
- Drones a target of U.S. House bill (computerworld.co.nz)
by Kelsey Atherton, Popular Science, February 15, 2013
…most Americans are not terribly fond of the idea of their neighbors flying cameras around and taking pictures of them in their backyards. The problem is that, right now, there is no explicit federal guidance prohibiting this. … according to testimony by Dr. Gerald Dillingham, civilian drones are governed by the same rules that apply to model aircraft–which is basically no rules at all. … Dr. Dillingham, director of civil aviation issues in the Government Accountability Office, testified that while the Federal Aviation Administration has a clear safety mandate, it doesn’t have one for privacy. So it would fall to Congress to decide which governmental body–the FAA or some other organization–should draw up privacy regulations. ….
For full text of this article, please visit Congressional Hearing Offers A Sneak Peek At The Future Of Domestic Drone Rules | Popular Science.
by Rebecca Boyle, POPSCI, February 12, 2013
On a hazy day last January, an unmanned aircraft enthusiast piloted his camera-equipped drone in the vicinity of a Dallas meatpacking plant, cruising around 400 feet in the air. To test his equipment, he took some photos of the Trinity River with a point-and-shoot camera mounted to his $75 foam airframe. When he retrieved the remote-controlled aircraft, he noticed something odd in the photos: A crimson stream, which appeared to be blood, leaking into a river tributary. …On Dec. 26, a grand jury handed down several indictments against the owners of the Columbia Packing Company for dumping pig blood into a creek. … Under a new law proposed in the Texas legislature, sponsored by a lawmaker from the Dallas suburbs, this type of activity could soon be criminal. …
Texas House Bill 912–and similar laws under debate right now in Oregon and elsewhere–are driving a burgeoning debate about how to use and control unmanned air systems, from an AR.Drone to a quadcopter. The Federal Aviation Administration is in the process of drafting new rules governing unmanned aircraft in civilian airspace, including military-style aircraft. But in the meantime, plenty of cheap, easy-to-use aircraft are already popular among hobbyists and, increasingly, activists and law enforcement.
For full text of the article Even Hobby Drones Could Be Made Illegal In Texas | Popular Science.
- Meet Your Neighborhood Drones (blogs.sfweekly.com)
- The Lone Star State Has No Need for These Picture-Taking, Privacy-Invading Drones (betabeat.com)
- Some Worried “Eyes In The Sky” See More Than They’re Supposed To (baltimore.cbslocal.com)
- From Predators to tacocopters: welcome to the future (abc.net.au)
- Some states seek to curb use of drones by police (cbsnews.com)
by Dina Spector, Business Insider, Feb 11, 2013
The eighth satellite in NASA’s Earth-watching Landsat fleet will launch Monday, Feb. 11 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California…. The joint program between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey is the longest-running data record of Earth observations from space. …The Landsat program enables scientists to track major changes of Earth’s surface, including melting glaciers, urban explosion and the effects of natural disasters.
Read more from Business Insider NASA’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission Launch – Business Insider.
For the latest Landsat news go to it’s NASA mission page here.
- Landsat Data Continuity Mission Awaits Liftoff (spacedaily.com)