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Showing posts from December, 2011

Remote sensing at work: Organic crops, wetlands monitoring, coal mining, and more

Remote sensing technologies provide solutions to numerous and varied problems around the world. Here are six recent applications:

How can a remote yet vital wetland be monitored?

Problem: The socio-economically vital Sudd wetland in southern Sudan’s Nile River swamps is threatened by overgrazing and by loss of vegetation during the wet season. But its remoteness and inaccessibility due to civil war prevents field studies.

Solution: Using geospatial data-authoring software to quantify wetland cover changes, researchers from Ain Shams University in Cairo developed a process to interpret Landsat-generated imagery, map land-cover types and compare the images to produce change-detection maps. Read more in the team’s article in the SPIE Newsroom


What happens to land stability after coal is mined?

Problem: Extracting coal from underground mines generally leads to subsidence of the overlaying land within days or sometimes years. Local governments need information about land subsidence to ens…

Photonics erase a hindering past

Light is now enabling equal opportunity employment.

In Orange County, California, Judge David Carter has been supporting a program to remove tattoos in order to help convicted offenders to successfully re-enter community and get started on a positive path. The breakthrough will allow them to advance without telltale evidence of a hindering past.

The program, run by Stuart Nelson, Medical Director at the Beckman Laser Institute, University of California-Irvine, has already received kudos from the U.S. Probation Service in Orange County. The process employs laser light to fragment the ink particles so that they are carried away through the body’s immune system.

“This is particularly important to these clients because as they’re trying to re-enter society, acquire a job, establish a new identity and a new career, the stigma associated with having a tattoo can often inhibit that,” Nelson said.

Nelson said they’re fortunate in that most of their clients come with the popular dark blue and …