Quote of the Day: Lewis Carroll’s Paradox of the Complete Map

…from Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, by Lewis Carroll, 1893…

‘That’s another thing we’ve learned from your Nation,” said Mein Herr, “map-making. But we’ve carried it much further than you. What do you consider the largest map that would be really useful?”

“About six inches to the mile.”

“Only six inches!” exclaimed Mein Herr. “We very soon got to six yards to the mile. Then we tried a hundred yards to the mile. And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!”

“Have you used it much?” I enquired.

“It has never been spread out, yet,” said Mein Herr: “the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.”

ESA’s SMOS Satellite to Map Sea Surface Salinity and Monitor Soil Moisture on a Global Scale

esaEuropean Space Agency’s SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) and Proba-2 (PRoject for OnBoard Autonomy) satellites are scheduled for launch on Monday 2 November at 02:50 CET on a Russian Rockot launcher from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia.

SMOS, ESA’s water mission, is the first satellite designed both to map sea surface salinity and monitor soil moisture on a global scale, thus contributing to better understanding of the Earth’s water cycle. Proba-2 will perform in-orbit demonstration of 17 advanced satellite technologies, solar observation experiments and plasma environment studies.

The main launch event for SMOS and Proba-2 will be held at ESA’s ESRIN establishment in Frascati, Italy. ESA senior management and programme specialists will be on hand to give explanations and interviews.

Live TV transmission of the launch will provide quality pictures to broadcasters from Plesetsk and from mission control rooms at CNES/Toulouse in France and at ESA’s Redu ground station in Belgium (for further details, see http://television.esa.int).

The general public can also follow a web-streamed video transmission at: http://www.esa.int/smos or http://www.esa.int/proba.

Media representatives wishing to follow the main launch event at ESA/ESRIN or the local launch event at one of the other ESA establishments are requested to fill in the accreditation form linked on the right and fax it back to the venue of their choice.

[Source: ESA press release]

Status of the National Land Remote Sensing Outreach Act (H.R. 2489)

Yesterday, 27 October 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Land Remote Sensing Outreach Act on a vote of 379 to 33.  The bill will now be forwarded to the Senate.

“The National Land Remote Sensing Outreach Act (H.R. 2489) would authorize $100 million over the FY 2010 through 2019 for the Department of Interior to establish a new national land remote sensing outreach program within the U.S. Geological Survey.  According to the legislation, the program’s mission would be to “advance the availability, timely distribution, and widespread use of geospatial imagery for education, research, assessment, and monitoring purposes in each State and the lands of an Indian tribe.””

A summary of the bill can be found here.

Congressional Budget Office cost estimates for the bill can be found here.

Your representative: how did they vote?

Coverage in Prairie Business magazine.

Mapping Iraq’s Ancient Cities

…from DVIDS

“While many Soldiers head home in the late hours of the second shift, Sgt. Ronald Peters sits at his desk scanning over imagery, maps and the Internet, sometimes as late as 5 a.m., looking for answers.

“Peters, a geospatial analyst from Fort Lewis, Wash., with Multi-National Corps-Iraq C-7, is undertaking the largest mapping projects of his career. His work is helping to resolve a concern shared by both the U.S. military and the Iraqi government as troops have pulled out of cities and continue the drawdown.”

Take Part in the Population Reference Bureau’s Upcoming Discuss Online: “Does Climate Change Threaten Our Cities?”

logoWhen: Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009, 1 – 2 p.m. (EDT) (GMT –4)

Who: Mark Montgomery, professor, Stony Brook University; and senior associate, Population Council’s Poverty, Gender, and Youth Program

Where: Go to http://discuss.prb.org. You may submit questions in advance and during the discussion. A full transcript of the questions and answers will be posted after the discussion.

The cities and towns of developing countries are projected to absorb at least 2.5 billion additional people by 2050. At the same time, these areas will experience global climate change likely to bring floods, droughts, food insecurity, and loss of livelihoods. These converging trends pose mounting health risks for people living in urban areas in developing countries, especially for the poorest residents. Where are the greatest health risks and what can be done to manage them?

Join Mark Montgomery as he answers your questions about urban growth, health, and climate change. He studies the implications of global climate change on urban areas of developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mark Montgomery is a professor of economics at Stony Brook University, New York, and a senior associate with the Population Council’s Poverty, Gender, and Youth Program. His current research interests include the links between poverty and demographic behavior in the cities of developing countries; measuring poverty and poverty dynamics; and the implications of climate change for the urban areas of developing countries. As co-chair of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Panel on Urban Population Dynamics, he co-edited the panel’s report, Cities Transformed: Demographic Change and Its Implications in the Developing World. He is the author of the recent PRB Population BulletinUrban Poverty and Health in Developing Countries.


Population Reference Bureau: www.prb.org

Exploration Technology: Retooling for the Digital Data Revolution

earth-explorer…from Earth Explorer

“Although information technology is not a centre-stage strategy in exploration industries grappling with economic and market uncertainties, it remains a key driver for improving effectiveness and results – particularly when you consider the growing data requirements of modern day exploration.

“Explorers continue to raise the bar in the software experience and capabilities they expect, from full 3D visualization to data processing power under the hood, and advanced integration support for multidisciplinary datasets.  Furthermore, many exploration organizations are setting stronger corporate standards for the software they use on their exploration projects and how they use and manage their growing digital data resources.”

Crafting Better Decisions: Creating a Link between Belief Networks and GIS

belief_1…from the Fall 2009 issue of ArcUser

“Considerable research has led to an increased understanding of how human activity influences the landscape and has provided more options for managing forests in an ecologically sound manner. With advances in GIS technology, decision-making techniques, and environmental protection policies, more effective and integrated management approaches are available.

“The Comparative Risk Assessment Framework and Tools (CRAFT), one such approach, has been developed by the U.S. Forest Service’s Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC) to improve the quality of decisions for forest and natural resource managers. CRAFT is designed to help planning teams focus on the most important issues, organize their analyses, and use the right tools and data in a facilitated environment.”

Map of the Day: Top 12 States for Harvested Corn Acreage

…from the ESRI Map Book, Volume 24


“This map illustrates the predominance of corn grown throughout the midwestern United States in comparison to all other crops and noncrop land-cover categories. Harvested corn includes corn for grain/silage, sweet corn, popcorn, and ornamental corn.

“The categorized Cropland Data Layer (CDL) imagery shown on the map was produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The CDL is used within NASS to generate supplemental acreage estimates of commodities for major agricultural states.

“Courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service.”

Ph.D. Scholarship in Geostatistics/Ore Reserve Estimation


The mining resources within the Sustainable Minerals Institute have been consolidated under the WH Bryan Mining and Geology Research Centre (BRC). This new mining research initiative has effectively brought together significant intellectual and operational skills which offers integrated thinking across the mining value chain. The centre’s expertise include Mass Mining, blasting fundamentals, geotechnical engineering, ore body modelling, geometallurgy, optimisation in mine design and planning as well as applied blast engineering. The BRC’s strategy is to focus on providing solutions for complex, large scale mining operations. The BRC is one of six SMI research centres of The University of Queensland, it provides high quality research, technical innovation and technology transfer to the mining industry.
The Role: We are seeking a PhD candidate to join the AMIRA P843A Geometallurgical Mapping and Mine Modelling (GeMIII) project and become part of a unique multi-disciplinary team with resource estimation, blasting, mine planning, geological, geotechnical, mineral processing and mathematical modelling backgrounds. Resource estimation is one of the core themes of the GeMIII project and fundamental work is required in the areas of modelling non-grade attributes. This exciting industry funded project will allow the candidate to interact with national and international sponsors and may involve domestic and international travel for field work.
The person: Applicants should have a background in geostatistics, ore reserve evaluation or related disciplines. Experience with ore reserve modelling practices are essential. International applicants are welcome.
Remuneration: The stipend is valued from $ 26,669 to $41,669 (tax free) per year depending on skills and experience. The Scholarship will be awarded for 3 years.
Contact: Further information regarding the project can be obtained by contacting the project leader Prof Alan Bye (07) 3346 4072 or a.bye@smi.uq.edu.au.
Applications: Please send a cover letter and curriculum vitae outlining your interest and suitability for this position to Lauren Stafford, Manager WH Bryan Mining and Geology Research Centre (BRC), The University of Queensland St Lucia Brisbane Qld 4072 or l.stafford@uq.edu.au.
Applications close: 27th November 2009
Reference Number: 3018313