GeoWorld January 2013

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NEWSLINK Space Station Software Upgrade Provides Better Earth Views NAG INC. NAG Inc. released a software upgrade intended to enhance the observation and collection of highresolution Earth imagery aboard the International Space Station (ISS), especially for research and educational uses. Company officials expect the software to be fully deployed aboard the ISS in January 2013. Research organization TERC influenced the need for the software upgrade, as its Windows on Earth exploration project seeks to simulate the planet's view as seen from the space station. Developed with funding from the National Science Foundation and intended as an educational tool for museums, Windows on Earth was placed aboard the ISS in 2008. The project served as a pilot program by the Association of Space Explorers, which saw the simulation software's research potential. "Windows on Earth will provide cutting-edge, next-generation tools for the Earth-observation program," said Dan Barstow, TERC principal investigator for the Windows on Earth project. "It will help scientists and astronauts select and photograph targets, and will enhance use of these photographs in research and education." TERC received a $300,000 grant from the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space to enhance and adapt the Windows on Earth software, making it A new software platform improves simulated Earth views as they would appear from the International Space Station. 6 G E O W O R L D / J A N U A R Y 2 O 1 3 a permanent tool on the space station and replacing the current multistep process for targeting, photographing and georeferencing images. NAG is serving as technical development lead for a phase of the project, and the company will use a portable version of the Google Earth application to provide highly accurate simulations of Earth as it would be viewed through windows aboard the ISS. The NAG software also automatically links targets selected by Earth-based scientists to an on-orbit photography-management system. System improvements should enable astronauts to photograph high-priority targets faster and more efficiently, providing researchers with more accurate and usable photographs. "Our software allows scientists on Earth to track the location of the space station as it orbits the Earth and coordinate their requests for geographic imagery," said Swapan Nag, NAG CEO. GAO Report Targets Geospatial Redundancy In a November 2012 report to a U.S. Senate committee, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends making geospatial coordination among federal agencies a high priority. Greater coordination of geospatial efforts and information would help reduce duplication of work and federal spending, according to the report produced for the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. "While the President and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have established policies and procedures for coordinating investments in geospatial data, governmentwide committees and federal departments and agencies have not effectively implemented them," the report states. "The committee that was established to promote the coordination of geospatial data nationwide—the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)—has developed and endorsed key standards—including a metadata standard that includes descriptive information about a particular set of geospatial data—and established a clearinghouse of metadata; however, the clearinghouse is not being used by agencies to identify planned geospatial investments to promote coordination and reduce duplication." The report goes on to recommend steps such as having the FGDC develop a national strategy for coordinating geospatial investments, having agencies follow Imagery/LIDAR Special Issue

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