I am working on a retrospective of remote sensing of forests in California for the centennial. I am trying to highlight some of the pioneering work done by remote sensors that focused on Californian forests from the 1960s through the use of lidar today.
Of course with this topic you must begin with Robert N. Colwell. Dr. Colwell was an internationally renowned remote sensing scientist; he was former associate director of the Space Sciences Laboratory at the UC Berkeley, and he was the instructor of remote sensing in our own Mulford Hall from 1947 until his retirement in 1983. He was NASA co-investigator for Apollo IX, and his research in the 1960s on reflectance and multispectral reconnaissance were the primary basis for selecting the type of sensors and the spectral bands implemented in Landsat. Neat guy, and we all benefit from his intellectual legacy.
Anyway, for this paper, I am going through some of his work as he transitioned from aerial photography to digital imaging, and I came across this picture. Mulford is just off the scene in the upper left corner. In his caption he says:
"Oblique aerial view of Berkeley Campus of University of California taken with Camouflage Detection film." (That is what they used to call color infrared.) "Such photography is superior to any other for certain photo interpretation purposes as indicated by some of the preceding examples. Note in this photo how color values for each species of tree tend to remain uniform from foreground to background because of the superior haze penetration offered by this film. The relatively long wavelengths to which this infrared-sensitive film reacts are scattered but very little by atmospheric haze particles, thus accounting for the uniform color values and for excellent image sharpness." I dig this part: "The original color transparencies have the same color values as seen here and consequently make very attractive panels for lamp shades, although certain of their colors fade upon prolonged exposure to light."
The trend for using maps as home decorations PRE-DATES 1970! Take that hipsters!
Article source: Colwell, R.N. 1964. Aerial photography - A valuable sensor for the scientist. American Scientist, Vol. 52, No. 1 (MARCH 1964), pp. 16-49
Some more about him here: http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/inmemoriam/robertcolwell.htm/span>
This creative project from GeoWiki seeks to get croudsourced feedback on crop types from participants around the world. They say:
By 2050 we will need to feed more than 2 billion additional people on the Earth. By playing Cropland Capture, you will help us to improve basic information about where cropland is located on the Earth's surface. Using this information, we will be better equipped at tackling problems of future food security and the effects of climate change on future food supply. Get involved and contribute to a good cause! Help us to identify cropland area!
Oh yeah, and there are prizes!
Each week (starting Nov. 15th) the top three players with the highest score at the end of each week will be added to our weekly winners list. After 25 weeks, three people will be drawn randomly from this list to become our overall winners. Prizes will include an Amazon Kindle, a brand new smartphone and a tablet./span>
Lots of exciting sharing this week!
A new high-resolution global map of forest loss and gain has been created with the help of Google Earth. The interactive online tool is publicly available and zooms in to a remarkably high level of local detail - a resolution of 30m. Snapshot of Russia here (green = forest, blue = gain, red = loss):
Results from time-series analysis of 654,178 Landsat images from 2000–2012 characterize forest extent and change. Between 2000 and 2012, according to this analysis, the Earth lost a combined "forest" the size of Mongolia. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24934790
Here is the abstract from the accompanying paper in Science:
Quantification of global forest change has been lacking despite the recognized importance of forest ecosystem services. In this study, Earth observation satellite data were used to map global forest loss (2.3 million square kilometers) and gain (0.8 million square kilometers) from 2000 to 2012 at a spatial resolution of 30 meters. The tropics were the only climate domain to exhibit a trend, with forest loss increasing by 2101 square kilometers per year. Brazil’s well-documented reduction in deforestation was offset by increasing forest loss in Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Zambia, Angola, and elsewhere. Intensive forestry practiced within subtropical forests resulted in the highest rates of forest change globally. Boreal forest loss due largely to fire and forestry was second to that in the tropics in absolute and proportional terms. These results depict a globally consistent and locally relevant record of forest change.
Hansen, M.C.; Potapov, P.V.; Moore, R.; Hancher, M.; Turubanova, S.A.; Tyukavina, A.; Thau, D.; Stehman, S.V.; Goetz, S.J.; Loveland, T.R.; Kommareddy, A.; Egorov, A.; Chini, L.; Justice, C.O.; Townshend, J.R.G. High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change. Science 2013, 342, 850-853/span>/span>
A nice press release about our new paper on the concepts behind a fire detection satellite with perhaps the coolest acronym yet: FUEGO — Fire Urgency Estimator in Geosynchronous Orbit. From Bob Sanders.
Current and planned wildfire detection systems are impressive but lack both sensitivity and rapid response times. A small telescope with modern detectors and significant computing capacity in geosynchronous orbit can detect small (12 m2) fires on the surface of the earth, cover most of the western United States (under conditions of moderately clear skies) every few minutes or so, and attain very good signal-to-noise ratio against Poisson fluctuations in a second. Hence, these favorable statistical significances have initiated a study of how such a satellite could operate and reject the large number of expected systematic false alarms from a number of sources. We suggest a number of algorithms that can help reduce false alarms, and show efficacy on a few. Early detection and response would be of true value in the United States and other nations, as wildland fires continue to severely stress resource managers, policy makers, and the public, particularly in the western US. Here, we propose the framework for a geosynchronous satellite with modern imaging detectors, software, and algorithms able to detect heat from early and small fires, and yield minute-scale detection times. Open Access Journal Link. Press Release. KPIX spot./span>/span>
The American Fire burning in heavy fuels on extreme slopes about 10 air miles northeast of the community of Foresthill, California, and eight air miles south of Interstate 80 has grown to 14,765 acres.
Incident Report: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3624/
We will keep you posted.
For more on the SNAMP project see: http://snamp.cnr.berkeley.edu/
This was originally posted on http://kellylab.berkeley.edu/./span>