GeoWorld October 2012

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Down on the Farm After a farmer in Ohio applies for disaster assistance with the Farm Services Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a claims agent visits the drought-stricken field to assess the situation. The agent notes that the farmland is, in fact, dry and parched, and it has no visible vegetation growth. Before paying the claim, the agent needs to determine if a crop was actually planted on the field in question. The agent returns to his or her office, pulls up imagery of the field, and performs change detection and vegetation health analyses for this same field two, four and six months prior to the date of his or her visit. Without having the imagery in a centralized location, the task of locating these images would've been tedious and time consuming. In this case, the cloud-computing model centralizes vast amounts of data for rapid consumption by those who need it. Remote Warfighters In another example, a warfighter is preparing for operations in a remote area of Afghanistan where little geographical information is available. He or she accesses the theater geospatial server from a tablet in the field and runs an analysis to look for lines of com- munication (e.g., roads and rivers) to identify access routes into the area. He or she also may run change detection over the last few days to determine if there's been any enemy movement into or out of the area. Without remote access, the warfighter would have to put in a request with an analyst in the production cell for a topographical map of the area. Remote access cuts the amount of time on this action from days to hours. Not to mention the fact that having access to data in real time can be the difference between accurate intelligence and outdated information. Major Disasters And when disaster strikes, such as the Japanese Tsunami on March 11, 2011, first responders need real-time information so they can get help to those who need it most. By accessing pre- and post-event imagery and running change detection on it, first responders can determine areas that have been hardest hit from a disaster. They also can identify safe routes to deliver supplies into an area that may have incurred damage to roads and bridges. On-demand access to information that can be pulled from remotely sensed data can save lives. It can be argued that the cloud is an invention driven by necessity, or it could be looked at as another step in our evolution. Regardless, there's Results from a change-detection analysis of the farmer's field indicate that a crop was indeed planted, and large portions of the field now have been ruined by drought, as indicated by areas in red. no denying that the cloud is becoming the de facto model for delivering data and analysis tools to the workforce. This is changing how and where we work, not to mention the way we do business. Author's Note: For more information on how Exelis Visual Information Solutions is keeping step with the changing times, visit ADVERTISER ADVERTISERINDEX Esri GeoSpatial Matters GeoWorld Emergency Management eBook GeoWorld on Facebook GeoWorld Subscriptions PAGE 5 21 9 32 31 OCTOBER 2O12 / WWW . GEOPLA CE . CO M 13

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