National Park Service Fighting Wildfires with UAV Technology

An interesting read on the merits of UAV (drone) technology in the battle against wildfires. Sadly, the media often has focused on the pitfalls of UAV hobbyists grounding aerial attacks on fires, however, there’s also the upside of the industry that has joined the battle.  This from KUOW… The National Park Service used a borrowed surveillance dronethis past week over the long-burning Paradise Fire in Olympic National Park. The Boeing Company’s unmanned aircraft subsidiary Insitu provided the drone and two professional pilots at no charge for a demonstration. The nearly 50-pound, catapult-launchedScanEagle plane flew on six days — both day and night.

Insitu operator Joseph Cooper prepares the ScanEagle UAS for launch to surveil the Paradise Fire in Olympic National Park earlier this August.

Insitu operator Joseph Cooper prepares the ScanEagle UAS for launch to surveil the Paradise Fire in Olympic National Park earlier this August.

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New Elevation for Denali – Nation’s Highest Peak

With this slightly lower elevation, has the tallest mountain in North America shrunk? No, but advances in technology to better measure the elevation at the surface of the Earth have resulted in a more accurate summit height of Alaska’s natural treasure. The revised official height for “the high one” has been measured at 20,310 feet, just 10 feet less than the previous elevation of 20,320 feet which was established using 1950’s era technology. The USGS partnered with NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS), Dewberry,  CompassData,(a subcontractor to Dewberry), the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and the Denali National Park to conduct a precise Global Positioning System (GPS)measurement of a specific point at the mountain’s peak in late June.

New Elevation for Nation’s Highest Peak

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Obi Worldphone SF1 & SJ1.5 smartphones Launched

Looking for a fine, Android WorldPhone solution?? Look no more… oh, andit starts at just $199! Obi and Ammunition celebrate the launch of Obi Worldphone SF1 & SJ1.5 smartphones at Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco. Obi Worldphone co-founder John Sculley, former head of Apple and Pepsi-Cola and an international investor in consumer tech companies, and Robert Brunner, founder and partner in the world-acclaimed Ammunition design firm collaborated to create elegant design at attractive prices for select markets the world over. Introducing them is Satjiv Chahil, Global Marketing & Innovations Advisor to Obi. See more about the device in the official launch PR

Esri Shares Tropical Storm Erika Interactive Map

Here we are again with hurricane season upon us and just in time to monitor the extreme weather, Esri has shared a story map to help monitor  Tropical Storm Erika. This interactive map features live data from NOAA showing Erika’s projected path, as well as storm watches, warnings, and storm surge information. You can also explore geotagged social media from Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube related to the storm.

Stay safe this season to all of our friends who live and work in hurricane prone parts of the country!

Rugged Hardware Tip – A Handheld Built For Extremes

Here’s a gadget tip for any of you that work in remote forests, urban jungles, dry desert regions, or isolated wetland areas – the Trimble Nomad® 1050 series of handheld. These ultra-rugged and field-proven handhelds are ideal for carrying out GIS data collection and inspection activities just about anywhere.

Trimble Nomad series

Trimble Nomad series

Some of the key featured include:


  • Work productively in challenging environments on ultra-rugged IP68-rated handhelds that meet rigorous MIL-STD-810G military standards
  • Work for longer in the field with the 15 hour battery life that provides continuous use, even in cold temperatures
  • Process field data faster with a powerful 1 GHz processor
  • Store substantial amounts of data and images with the Nomad’s 8 GB of built-in storage plus 512 MB Ram
  • Maintain field compatibility with your back-office apps using the latest Microsoft® Windows® Embedded Handheld version 6.5 operating system
  • Capture high resolution images for maintenance and repair applications with the 5 megapixel integrated camera with flash and geo-tagging capabilities
  • Easily track assets using the optional 1D/2D integrated barcode scanner
  • Connect from the field back to the office via an optional integrated 3.75G dual-band GSM/CDMA wireless cellular modem with internal cellular antenna

See more info HERE

See also the Spec Sheet / white paper {PDF}

Keywords: Trimble, Nomad, GPS, rugged, mobile, data collector


UAV cinematography and Geotech in ABC News Animas River EPA Spill Story

I caught wind of an impressive use of technology in a recent ABC news story covering the EPA spill in the Animis River in Colorado. The story uses Google maps technology to show the area extent but even more impressive is the UAV captured video providing an incredible perspective to convey to the viewers the damage that has resulted to the affected areas. The UAV videography technology was provided by  Terra Imaging jump directly to the video HERE


HitchBOT Journey Across America Comes to a Sudden end in Philly

So, you may be wondering, what’s up with that cool, little robot that’s hitching across America this summer? Recall early in July we shared the official pre-trip announcement titled “Canadian hitchhiking robot to cross the U.S., relying solely on the kindness of strangers“. Well, I guess not all strangers are kind as Tripbot’s journey has come to a sudden end, sadly, this means that USA won’t get to experience all the fun that could have been!

HitchBot is coming to America! [Read more…]