GeoWorld January 2013

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Can 2013 Compete with 2012 in Imagery and LiDAR? elcome to another year, and this is quite a special one for us here at GeoWorld, as this will mark our 25th anniversary. But since this is a "Special Issue" focusing on LiDAR and imagery, I thought I'd take a quick look back at all the exciting things that happened in these growing fields in 2012. I began researching this concept by going through our press release archive, and it was quite the undertaking. Our press release database is massive, and I was second-guessing this technique somewhere in the August section of the archive. If it happened in 2012, you can find it at In addition, Japan added a new satellite with my favorite name of the year, SHIZUKU, which joined the best-named satellite constellation, the A-Train. Not to be outdone, a United Kingdom company launched the exactView-1 satellite, while another company from Britain introduced 360-degree street-level imagery for all of Europe. Soon after that, Spot 6 was launched, adding yet another satellite to the sky. By fall of 2012, imagery showing the effects of natural disasters started to emerge on news outlets. First there was an imagery database of 60 years of tornado damage, followed by several sources providing imagery of Hurricane Isaac. There were many excellent "before and after" images from that storm, but they were just a prelude to Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy that would shortly follow. Sandy would be so destructive and noteworthy that it spawned NOAA to release a portal tracking more than 150 years of hurricane damage (take that, tornados). Starting Strong (with Some Wobbles) Rounding out the Year One of the major events last January was the International LiDAR Mapping Forum held in Denver. I'll be at the event again this year, which is taking place Feb. 1113, 2013, back in Denver. Some of the more interesting news stories during the beginning of last year included a LiDAR map of Britain being introduced, some fascinating images from space of the Costa Concordia liner running aground off of Italy, the initial suspension of Landsat 5 satellite operations and the 10-year anniversary of the ENVISAT program, which unfortunately lost contact with Earth and won't see its 11th anniversary. Toward the middle of the year, Landsat 5 was temporarily saved by switching its data collector, the Pléiades 1A satellite became active and was delivering data, imagery of the upcoming Olympic Games in London was showing up everywhere, and GeoEye and DigitalGlobe began their originally contentious and then amicable dance toward the merger that likely was the biggest news story of the year in the field of remote sensing. It wasn't all about chronicling natural disasters from space in 2012. I found stories of imagery detecting illegal gold mining in Russia, water contamination and fish deaths in Alberta, shots from space put on U.S. postage stamps, walrus chronicled on the Bering Sea, the oldest building in San Francisco mapped via ground-based LiDAR and a database from Australia cleverly called the "50 Shades of Greyscale." And to round out the satellite news, the Galileo constellation added satellites 3 and 4, the Metop-B satellite was successfully placed in orbit, and Pléiades 1B was introduced to space in December 2012. And the up and down year of Landsat 5 was officially put to rest when the U.S. Geological Survey announced it would be decommissioned in the coming months, after 29 years of faithful service. Unbelievably, this was just a tiny percentage of the news in 2012 concerning imagery and LiDAR technology. I have no doubt that even more news in these areas will "hit the wire" in 2013, and I look forward to sharing these events and milestones with you. POSITION W BY TODD DANIELSON Todd Danielson is editor of GeoWorld magazine, PO Box 773498, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477; e-mail: 4 G E O W O R L D / J A N U A R Y 2 O 1 3 Imagery/LIDAR Special Issue

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