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Free Access Articles – International Journal of Digital Earth Editors’ Choice


To give you a taste of the content in International Journal of Digital Earth the Editors have highlighted a selection of significant articles to aid your research. These articles have been made FREE for you until the end of the year via Why not share this with your friends and colleagues?

Your Free Access Articles


Acknowledgements: Prof. Dr. WANG Changlin

Executive Director, International Society for Digital Earth
Executive Editor, International Journal of Digital Earth


Wearable system can map difficult areas

U.S. engineers say their wearable mapping system can create physical maps of locations where GPS is not available, such as in underground areas and on ships.

Developed by the Applied Physics Laboratory at John Hopkins University, the Enhanced Mapping and Positioning System captures a floor-plan-style map of an area traversed by a person carrying the portable backpack system, as well as 360-degree photos and sensor readings of the area using a combination of lasers and sensors.

The system based on algorithms once developed for robots — which are not practical in some environments — has a built-in allowance for normal human movement like walking, a Johns Hopkins release reported Wednesday.

Designed mainly to detect and map environmental threats on ships and in other tight, enclosed locations, EMAP can associate critical environmental data, such as radiation or radio frequency signal levels, with map locations.

“EMAPS virtually takes pictures with every step,” researcher Jason Stipes said. “Using this technology, we can map almost every nook and cranny of targeted locations, capture that intelligence, and store it. Sensors can also detect threats, such as radiation or chemicals, and include them in our map.”

In testing EMAPS has collected of mapping data from a wide variety of GPS-denied environments including ships, underground storage facilities, Army training areas and buildings such as the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Stipes said.



Smart Cities Annual Conference, Budapest 5-6 June 2013


The Smart Cities Annual Conference will take place on 5th and 6th June in the beautiful city of Budapest.

After the 2012 launch event in Brussels, this year’s Smart Cities Annual Conference wants to affirm itself as a unique occasion for cities and solutions providers to meet and discuss the future shape of the European urban landscape.

In the scope of the 2013 Annual Conference, we will aim at defining the developing path of the Key Innovations; the outcome of the Working Groups’ activity.

The programme of the Smart Cities Annual Conference is rich and diversified: it alternates keynote speeches with workshops and networking sessions. Have a look at the agenda.

The Smart Cities Annual Conference proposes a mixed and diverse programme that combines audience interactivity and high-level speeches:

The first day is fully devoted to discussing Key Innovations among the relevant stakeholders: technology providers on one side and cities as users on the other, with particular attention to matchmaking possibilities. The second day focuses instead on discussing achievements and developments of the Platform itself.

Follow @EUsmartcities on twitter and keep yourself updated about the Smart Cities Annual Conference with the hashtag #EUsmartcitiesAC13

For further information about the Annual Conference, please visit the conference website. Be aware of the hotel booking deadlines to be able to benefit from the discount rates.



High-Def Cameras To Start Streaming Live Footage Of Earth Thanks To UrtheCast

One company is planning to launch the world’s first high definition streaming video platform aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to get a great glimpse of planet Earth from space.

UrtheCast (pronounced Earth Cast) will be launching two high definition cameras to be installed on the Russian module of the orbiting laboratory. These cameras will be streaming video of Earth back to ground stations, which will be available for users to see on the Internet, television channels, mobile devices, and other electronic media.

“From a User perspective, UrtheCast will blend features of Google Earth with the playback and video search functionality of YouTube,” the company wrote in a press statement. “The UrtheCast experience will be truly unique, generating significant awareness, publicity, and User interest worldwide.”

Users will be able to track the location of the ISS, and search for videos of a particular location. They will be able to zoom into areas, as well as rewind and fast forward areas on Earth. The cameras will be of such high-definition that they will be able to see man-made objects and groups of people, which UrtheCast says this will be comparable to Google Earth.

UrtheCast says video feeds available on the site will be free for non-commercial and private purposes. However, anyone hoping to use video for commercial purposes will be able to purchase a license to do so.

Footage will also be able to be used to access recent events, such as earthquakes or floods. A spokesman for UrtheCast said in an email that UrtheCast has an agreement with the UN to offer realtime information on disaster situations.

UrtheCast said if a competitor attempted to build and deploy a dedicated satellite to compete against the real-time feed, costs would exceed nearly $100 million for the satellite, launch, operations and ground segment.

“From a technology standpoint, it is also difficult to achieve imagery with similar data quality,” the company said. “The combination of exclusive partnerships and technology allow for substantial barriers to other would−be entrants.”

UrtheCast said it landed a deal with Discovery Science Channel to provide the high-definition footage for the television station. It said the Discovery Science Channel is working on a special segment focusing on UrtheCast technology.

“We are the home for space programming on television,” Science Channel executive vice president Debbie Adler Myers said. “Our viewers expect us to have the best, most authoritative television programs about space. UrtheCast helps us build on that promise, giving Science Channel the most stunning live images of Earth for use online and on-air.”

The Canadian company said it plans to start streaming footage of the astronauts’ view of earth by the fall of 2013. The equipment will be finished up this summer, and then shipped off to space via two Soyuz rockets. The Russian space agency will be installing the cameras beneath the ISS.

Company CEO Scott Larson said as the cameras take the images, the data basically gets stored on a hard drive on the ISS, and then at various points in the day the information is sent down to Earth. He said the delay between when you get imaged, and when the data gets sent down could be anywhere between half an hour up to a few hours.

Larson hopes the information being constantly recorded on earth will be utilized by universities, researchers, businesses and government departments.

“Coffee traders look at the coffee fields and say, ‘Is this going to be a good year for coffee or bad, do we need to import, do we need to export, is the price going to go up or down?’ Hedge funds will count the cars in Walmart parking lots to determine same-store sales,” he said.

UrtheCast is just the dawning of a new era in how we will be able to keep tabs with how life is going on Earth.



Unlimited FREE access to Physics, Engineering, Computer Science and Math & Statistics journals in April


This April, for one month only…

Taylor & Francis is delighted to offer you free online access to over 300 of our world-leading journals in:

Simply click on the link for your area of interest listed above to make the most of this unique opportunity.  Each subject area features an extensive list of titles.

This offer is valid to all registered users. If you are not automatically recognized under your insitution’s account please sign in with your individual account details to view the free content. Don’t already have an account? Register an account, then follow the above links to gain access.

Remember to let your colleagues know about ‘Free Access April’ so that they can enjoy our research too.  But be quick, as this offer ends on 30th April 2013.

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Australian Earth Observation Group launches new site


The Australian Earth Observation Coordination Group is pleased to announce the official launch of its new website, located at

This group has been formed to enable all of the people who collect and use earth observation data to have a forum to present and discuss their activities and define their needs for support from industry, academia and government.

This group is meant to span all disciplines, and provide an inclusive and collaborative resource to improve access to and use of earth observation data for Australia.

To get things started you are invited to:

  • visit the AEOCG website for more information about the group and planned activities,
  • take part in a national short-form survey on EOS data use and priority needs. Click here to take the survey.  Survey results will be used to inform the first AEOCG Whole of Community Meeting which will be held on 19 April 2013 by live webinar.

Feedback and questions on the new site are invited at



A Closer Look at LDCM’s First Scene



Turning on new satellite instruments is like opening new eyes. The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) released its first images of Earth, collected at 1:40 p.m. EDT on March 18. The first image shows the meeting of the Great Plains with the Front Ranges of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming and Colorado. The natural-color image shows the green coniferous forest of the mountains coming down to the dormant brown plains. The cities of Cheyenne, Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, Boulder and Denver string out from north to south. Popcorn clouds dot the plains while more complete cloud cover obscures the mountains.

LDCM is a joint mission of NASA and the Department of Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey.

“It’s a really great day,” said Jeff Pedelty, an instrument scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who worked on the LDCM Operational Land Imager, or OLI instrument, that took the natural color image. He’s very impressed with the level of detail they can see with the advancements to the sensor. “It’s wonderful to see, there’s no doubt about it, and it’s a relief to know that this is going to work wonderfully in orbit.”

The natural color image showed the landscape in the colors our eyes would see, but Landsat sensors also have the ability to see wavelengths of light that our eyes cannot see. LDCM sees eleven bands within the electromagnetic spectrum, the range of wavelengths of light. OLI collects light reflected from Earth’s surface in nine of these bands. Wavelengths on the shorter side include the visible blue, green, and red bands. Wavelengths on the longer side include the near infrared and shortwave infrared.

LDCM’s second instrument, the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) detects light emitted from the surface in two even longer wavelengths called the thermal infrared. The intensity of the emitted light at the longer wavelengths measured by TIRS is a function of surface temperature. In the black-and-white image of the first thermal band on TIRS, warmer areas on the surface are brighter while cooler areas are dark.

The first thermal images seen by Dennis Reuter, TIRS instrument scientist at Goddard, were forwarded to him from the data processors. “To say it was exciting was an understatement,” said Reuter, who was blown away by the data quality. “Wow! This is beautiful!” he wrote in an email. “Look at those amazing clouds! And the detail!”

Clouds in the colder upper atmosphere stand out as black in stark contrast to a warmer ground surface background. The TIRS images were collected at exactly the same time and place as the OLI data, so all eleven bands can be used together.

The infrared bands on both TIRS and OLI complement the visible bands, said Reuter. “You’re seeing things in the visible that you don’t necessarily see in the infrared, and vice versa,” he said.




Digital Heritage


Fall 2013 will witness the largest international scientific event on digital heritage in history, bringing together hundreds of researchers, educators, scientists, industry professionals and policy makers to debate, discuss and present digital technology applied to the protection, documentation, and understanding of humanity’s shared heritage. For the first time ever, under the patronage of UNESCO, the leading scientific and industry events from across the digital and heritage spheres will join together under one roof to explore the state-of-the-art and address future emerging research scenarios.

Organized by CNRS (french National Center for Scientific Research) on behalf of the MAP Laboratory, in collaboration with local research institutions Provence (Aix-Marseille University, Arts et Métiers ParisTech, CICRP, School of Architecture and INRIA), the Congress will be held  in  Marseille, France, the 2013 European Capital of Culture.

The venue will be Marseille’s architecturally stunning new waterfront museum complex (the restored Fort Saint-Jean and adjoining new  MuCEM and La Villa Mediterranée).


Thematic Areas

The Congress covers heritage in all its forms, focusing around 5 heritage themes:

  1. Built Heritage from monuments to archaeological sites, cities, and landscapes
    encompassing theUNESCO World Heritage Convention
  2. Culture & Traditions from folklife to languages, crafts, song and dance
    encompassing theUNESCO Intangible Heritage Convention
  3. Museums & Collections from movable objects to the museums that house them encompassing the UNESCO Movable Heritage & Museums Program
  4. Libraries & Archives documentary heritage from books to audiovisual collections encompassing the UNESCO Memory of the World
  5. Art & Creativity from digital / new media art to creative digital and online culture encompassing the UNESCO Diversity of Cultural Expressions Convention & Creativity Programs


Important Dates

June 9 Abstract (mandatory for all papers)
Panel / Workshop /Tutorial proposals due
June 16 Full Papers, Short Papers due
(notification July 28)
July 28 Exhibits proposals due (notification Sept 1)
August 4 Opening of Early Registration
Sept 15 Final Camera Ready due for accepted works

For further information, please visit the Congress website at




China to Launch Earth Observation Satellite this Month


China is planning to launch a high-resolution Earth observation satellite this month, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SATIND).

The government agency revealed details about the launch on Thursday, which was carried by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The satellite will be the first to provide high-resolution observation data of the Earth. It will be launched using a Long March 2D carrier rocket, the SATIND said, and examinations of both the satellite and its carrier rocket have been completed.

China plans to launch five to six satellites by the end of 2015 in order to build a complete spatial, temporal, and spectral high-resolution observation system, Xinhua reported.

Data collected by the satellites will be used by the Ministry of Land and Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Environmental Protection for disaster management, geographic and oceanic surveys, urban transportation management, and national security, the agency said.





Geography and mapping start at your front door!

Most people do think geography is topography and some smartphone navigating around our nearby area. Geography is much more than expected; you will be amazed by the number of related international subjects. MapVision shows the diversity of most related subjects in an easy findable way.

Welcome to MapVision, the website about maps, the making of maps and where to find or get these maps in digital format or physic edition.



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