A Quick Canter through More DGI Highlights

January 25, 2012


An Ordnance Survey surveyor checking that maps of the London Olympic site are correct. Photo from the OS Flickr stream

In a change from the the longer format, here's a quick list of a few things I learned at DGI 2012.

A division of the Norwegian company Kongsberg operate satellite downlink stations in the Arctic and Antarctic; they're staffed 365 days a year. 

Rebels fighting Gadaffi loyalists in Libya bought a Canadian mini-UAV through a middle-man private security firm and used it to obtain overhead imagery of regime forces.

The Italian company e-GEOS uses the Italian space agency's COSMO-SkyMed satellite constellation to take 228 hi-res photographs to map the ever-changing routes available through moving ice formations in the North West Passage. It captures the whole 900-mile route twice, in around 17 hours.

Amazon supply secure, ITAR-compliant cloud computing facilities to the US government, among many other customers.

Former MI5 director general Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller isn't a keen reader of the Daily Mail, and prefers to be addressed as "Eliza". She also once had cocaine found in her handbag by a sniffer dog... during a demonstration of the dogs' capabilities at Thames House.

The algorithm used by GeoEye Analytics in their Signature Analyst product to predict the likely location of future events (from burglaries to the arrival of invasive species), though designed for physical environments, works in cyberspace too.

The ice-bound interior of Greenland - the world's biggest island - has no complete aeronautical charts: the Danish Royal Air Force sometimes use hiking maps when planning overflights. Here's the English language version of the Greenland geospatial intelligence portal

The government body tasked with the job received more requests for near-real-time satellite imagery to support emergencies (wildfires; floods; disaster-level events) in Canada in 2011 than in the previous five years combined (226; the 2006-2010 total was 141).

The Ordnance Survey have mapped the ~30 square kilometres around the London Olympic site to such a level of detail that they have included details of over 400,000 pieces of street furniture, including trees and bollards right down to stopcock covers - and each one has been individually and physically verified by a surveyor. The map is available only to police and other security agencies.

Geospatial Intelligence has traditionally been a land-based art/science, but recent phenomena as varied as climate change and piracy mean that maritime GeoInt is starting to come into its own. A new, Canadian-owned maritime GIS company have built a system for monitoring shipping from space

Tomorrow brings another conference: I'll be at the second day of Cyber Defence and Network Security 2012


The lack of aviation maps of Greenland reminds me of the British Arctic Air-Route Expedition of 1930-31 - see - which was intended to deal with the same problem. Incidentally, you'll be delighted to know that it involved leaving a Courtauld on his own for 5 months over winter on the Greenland ice cap: he ended up being iced into his tent,by then buried under the snow, and was reached just as he finished the fuel for his primus. They didn't teach us about that at Home House.

posted by: Rupert Shepherd: 11 Apr, 2012 11:06:56

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