Monthly Archives: October 2014

Skybox Imaging Offering Some Free Imagery to Nonprofits

I have been following Skybox Imaging with interest since its inception and launch, starting from its amazing idea of a cheap space segment for earth observation: a constellation of small cheap satellites. Skybox Imaging was recently acquired by Google, and now they are starting to offer some free imagery through their Skybox for Good program to specific users. The program has started in its beta phase for now, limited to certain nonprofits. However, all data acquired under this program is also freely available through Google Earth Engine here; with a few clicks, the GeoTIFF files can be downloaded immediately.

Perhaps we are now entering the era of easily accessible high resolution remote sensing data, and, data crunching, analysis and information extraction methods and algorithms for the vast amounts of data being collected by remote sensing satellites will start to become an even more valuable commodity than they are now.

See coverage of this news by TechCrunch here.

China Makes Available 30 m Global Landcover

Screenshot of the geolinked split-screen mode from the 30 m Global Landcover product released by the Govt. of China: http://www.globallandcover.com/GLC30Download/index.aspx

Screenshot of the geolinked split-screen mode from the 30 m Global Landcover product released by the Govt. of China: http://www.globallandcover.com/GLC30Download/index.aspx

The Chinese government has recently made available its 30 meter resolution global landcover by donating this dataset to the UN.  This dataset is available currently for only the years 2000 and 2010. These global landcover maps have been developed from USA’s Landsat TM/ETM+ and China’s HJ-1A/1B satellite imagery. The overall accuracy of the 2010 global landcover map seems quite reasonable, with an accuracy of 80.33 % and a Kappa value of 0.75. The dataset is accessible here, with more details here.  The web portal also has a nifty option of geocoded screen-split, which allows the user to visually look at changes in global landcover between 2000 and 2010.

Collaborative Environments for Writing Papers

We all know how hectic and time-consuming the job of paper-writing becomes as the number of co-authors grows. A recent article in Nature Toolbox mentions some recent and new environments that allow for better and more efficient collaborative writing environments (see the article here). As the article itself mentions, for MS Word-like writing, Google Docs or Hackpad are good environments, specially Hackpad which allows for completely real-time collaborative writing and editing. We use Hackpad within the workplace regularly to efficiently write small-to-medium in-house document drafts . For those of us who work with Latex, some collaborative tools are mentioned in the Nature Toolbox article.

If you know of any more nifty collaborative environments, do mention those in the comments.

Collaborative editing in drafting scientific papers is a time-consuming process

Collaborative editing in drafting scientific papers is a time-consuming process