Posts Tagged ‘relief’

German TanDEM-X satellite seeks 3D view of Earth (BBC)

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

_48126100_00_tandem-x_dem_h_henmodell

[Editor's note: Second of a pair of new satellites, now operational, will build higher resolution (with more vertical precision) view of Earth than prior SRTM efforts (90m free, 30m restricted). Graphic shows the same area in different DEM (DTM) resolutions. The 12 meter pixel size of the new commercial project is global, but inconsistent with the 10 meter DEMs available in the United States. Thanks Thierry_G!]

Republished from the BBC.

The TanDEM-X satellite has blasted into orbit on a mission to acquire the most precise 3D map of the Earth’s surface. The German radar spacecraft will fly in formation with an identical platform called TerraSAR-X launched in 2007. Together, the pair will measure the variation in height across the globe to an accuracy of better than two metres. Their digital elevation model will have myriad uses, from helping military jets fly ultra low to showing relief workers where an earthquake’s damage is worst.

“Our aim is to generate a model at a resolution and a quality that doesn’t exist today,” explained Dr Vark Helfritz, from satellite image-processing company Infoterra GmbH. “This will be a truly seamless global product – not a patchwork of datasets that have been fitted together,” he told BBC News. TanDEM-X was carried into space atop a converted intercontinental ballistic missile from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Continue reading at the BBC . . .

Maps of Mount Saint Helens, 30 years later +Tea Horse Road (NG)

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

[Editor's note: Two great maps from this month's edition of National Geographic Magazine by Martin Gamache.]

Republished from National Geographic.
Click on each to view larger.

teahorseroad

mount_saint_helens_30_years_on_national_geographic

Natural Earth 1.1 update + 1.2 preview

Friday, March 26th, 2010

The 60+ individual themes that received edits in the 1.1 update of Natural Earth are now available for ala cart downloading on the NaturalEarthData.com site. The 110m country boundary lines theme is now available in 1.1 (somehow it was left out of the original release). The combo 110m-cultural download has been updated to include that missing file. In case you’re wondering, there is no 50m country boundary lines update, even though the 50m admin-0 polygons were updated as their boundaries did not change, only the attribute tables were updated to version 1.1.

Jill finished editing ~1,900 or half of the 10m admin-1 polygon data attributes for name and thematic codes for the larger, more populous countries. We’ll start merging that with the new, topologically valid linework in April.

Tom got a cache of old hand drawn relief and is busy nudging it in Photoshop to align to Natural Earth drains.

Preston finished adding tapers to the North America drains. Those will go live on the site in early April and will quadruple (4x) the amount of hydrological data there. We’re about 50% done with Europe.

If you have a few hours to help out, please drop me a line at nathaniel@kelsocartography.com.

New Global 30m DEM Topographic Data via ASTER (NASA)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

pia12090-browse

[Editor's note: NASA and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and industry (METI) released new 30 meter resolution Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM) to the worldwide June 29, 2009. The new dataset covers the high latitudes with increased precision over SRTM, although the cloud cover problems that plauge ASTER can prove problematic. The servers were being hit heavy on Monday and data download is convoluted. The preview of the data uses a curious data exploration color ramp with inverted shading. Thanks Tom and Laris!]

Republished from NASA.

PASADENA, Calif. – NASA and Japan released a new digital topographic map of Earth Monday that covers more of our planet than ever before. The map was produced with detailed measurements from NASA’s Terra spacecraft.

The new global digital elevation model of Earth was created from nearly 1.3 million individual stereo-pair images collected by the Japanese Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, or Aster, instrument aboard Terra. NASA and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, known as METI, developed the data set. It is available online to users everywhere at no cost.

“This is the most complete, consistent global digital elevation data yet made available to the world,” said Woody Turner, Aster program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This unique global set of data will serve users and researchers from a wide array of disciplines that need elevation and terrain information.”

According to Mike Abrams, Aster science team leader at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., the new topographic information will be of value throughout the Earth sciences and has many practical applications. “Aster’s accurate topographic data will be used for engineering, energy exploration, conserving natural resources, environmental management, public works design, firefighting, recreation, geology and city planning, to name just a few areas,” Abrams said.

Previously, the most complete topographic set of data publicly available was from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. That mission mapped 80 percent of Earth’s landmass, between 60 degrees north latitude and 57 degrees south. The new Aster data expand coverage to 99 percent, from 83 degrees north latitude and 83 degrees south. Each elevation measurement point in the new data is 30 meters (98 feet) apart.

“The Aster data fill in many of the voids in the shuttle mission’s data, such as in very steep terrains and in some deserts,” said Michael Kobrick, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission project scientist at JPL. “NASA is working to combine the Aster data with that of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and other sources to produce an even better global topographic map.”

NASA and METI are jointly contributing the Aster topographic data to the Group on Earth Observations, an international partnership headquartered at the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, for use in its Global Earth Observation System of Systems. This “system of systems” is a collaborative, international effort to share and integrate Earth observation data from many different instruments and systems to help monitor and forecast global environmental changes.

NASA, METI and the U.S. Geological Survey validated the data, with support from the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and other collaborators. The data will be distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earth Resources Observation and Science Data Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., and by METI’s Earth Remote Sensing Data Analysis Center in Tokyo.

Aster is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched on Terra in December 1999. Aster acquires images from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region, with spatial resolutions ranging from about 15 to 90 meters (50 to 300 feet). A joint science team from the U.S. and Japan validates and calibrates the instrument and data products. The U.S. science team is located at JPL.

For visualizations of the new Aster topographic data, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/20090629.html .

Data users can download the Aster global digital elevation model at: https://wist.echo.nasa.gov/~wist/api/imswelcome and http://www.gdem.aster.ersdac.or.jp .

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov .

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

ISO global road, rail shapefile (Kelso)

Monday, March 30th, 2009

I’m in search of a super generalized but comprehensive global coverage dataset or datasets that shows major highways and rail lines, even sea lanes. You can see an example of this on Plate 21 of the National Geographic 8th Edition Atlas of the World. Do you know of one? Please shoot me a note to nathaniel@kelsocartography.com or comment here if you have a tip.

Why do I want such? I am working with Tom Patterson (of Natural Earth fame) and Dick Furno (retired from The Washington Post) to release a comprehensive, attributed GIS base map dataset derived in part from the Natural Earth physical wall map at around 1:15,000,000 scale and two other consistent and self referential datasets at approx. scales of 1:50m and 1:110m. These datasets will provide coverage that perfectly registers with the modern satellite remote sensing imagery and SRTM derived topography. Yes there is 1:1m coverage around the world but it is often out of date and too detailed for doing global, continental, and regional mapping.

We hope these open source datasets will allow everyone in the cartographic community to focus on telling the best “why” and “how” visual story about their thematic data instead of spending 50 to 70% of project time looking for or creating the vector geometry that captures the basic “where” of their thematic data.

Release is expected Fall 2009 at the NACIS map conference in Sacramento. Please check back in this space for more details as they develop.

Terrain-Shaded Relief In Google Maps (Free Geog Tools)

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

free geo tools logoReprinted from Free Geography Tools blog (posted there May 8, 2007).

The Geolabels website offers another image option button for Google Maps, along with the standard Map, Satellite, and Hybrid buttons: Relief. This button gives you views of the terrain in an area, shaded by light at an angle and color.

Go to the website, and either zoom in on an area of interest, or enter the name of a populated place in the box at the upper left and click “Go” (if you hit “Enter” after typing in the name, you’re likely to get an error screen). At left, you will get a list of world localities in the database that match that name; click on one, and the map will zoom in on that location (click on the image for a larger view):

You will also get a marker at the location of the name you entered, along with a message box showing latitude and longitude to way too many decimal places. You can zoom in for a closer view:

Or zoom out:

Major rivers and bodies of water, major highways, and populated places are also shown on the map. Keep in mind, though, that the color shading represents altitude, not vegetation, e.g. in the image above, all that green around Phoenix definitely doesn’t represent lush vegetation. Other sites offer contours or topo maps in the Google Maps interface, but the Geolabels website is a nice complement to them.

Modified 8/26/07 to update URL.