Geospatial Round-up – June 2019

June 5th, 2019, Published in Articles: PositionIT

Demo of redundant geospatial systems

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to conduct a field demonstration of technologies with a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of six or higher, as described in the Federal Highway Administration Technology Readiness Level Guidebook, that are capable of providing backup positioning, navigation, and/or timing (PNT) services to critical infrastructure in the event of a temporary disruption to GPS. This demonstration effort is expected to encompass technologies capable of providing complementary PNT functions to GPS by either expanding PNT capabilities, including cross checks, or extending them to GPS or GNSS-denied or degraded user environments. DOT is issuing a request for information to seek levels of interest and additional information from PNT technology vendors on participation in the demonstration.

AI model for testing autonomous car safety

To enable a fully connected digital Britain, Ordnance Survey is collaborating with ten partners in a UK government-funded project called OmniCAV. OS is leading the capture, processing and serving of next generation mapping, which includes 3D geometry and information about roadside assets and their characteristics. The data will be made into a 3D model that will be entered into XPI’s simulator software to act as a virtual proving ground for running test scenarios. This high-fidelity model will be populated with realistic artificial intelligence-based road users, trained with traffic camera data. Analysis of accident data, near misses and insurance data will be used to create an extensive open-access library of virtual reality simulator scenarios to test connected and autonomous vehicles. The aim is to develop data standards and requirements to enable and accelerate the safe real-world deployment and operation of connected autonomous vehicles onto UK roads.

UAVs for fire spread modelling

New Zealand company Scion’s Fire team, together with the University of Canterbury, conducted a number of experimental burns over the past two weeks in crop stubble vegetation. The burns build on the data collected in similar fuels back in March 2018. The burns were the contingency for the next planned phase of experiments to test the new convective fire spread theory. Four experimental burns were carried out to test improved data collection methods, including determining fire rate of spread from UAV video using georeferenced ground targets. Hot targets were also used to aid quantification of aerial infrared measurements of flame and surface temperatures. Turbulence before, during and after the flame front spread past a 10 m tower was also measured using paired sonic anemometers, rather than the single anemometer used at each height. It is hoped these paired sonic measurements will aid in quantifying the scale of the turbulent eddies generated by the flame front.

Wireless communication for open pit mining

A new Wireless Communication Guideline for Open Pit Mining was recently published, which recommends best practices for installing telecommunications devices in open pit mining based on the experience of mining companies and suppliers. Interoperability is a fundamental aspect in multiple professional areas, by allowing systems to communicate and operate based on a common objective. This concept has taken special relevance in the mining sector in recent years, due to the large number of systems it has and a series of difficulties in daily operation. This guideline is the result of several challenges identified by the mining industry in a workshop held by the Council of Technological Standards for Mining “Interop”, in April 2018 and in which it was determined that the greatest impact is achieved by improving the design of the communication networks.

Mapping heat vulnerability

Community leaders and scientists from two US cities are combining public health data and heat maps to prepare residents for climate change–related health risks. Confronted with increased health risks to humans resulting from climate change, leaders within these communities are developing tools at the grassroots level to inform city planning, address needs for services, and identify areas for green infrastructure and cooling interventions. Climate change is expected to disproportionately affect vulnerable populations. By overlaying US Census demographics for sensitive populations with heat exposure variables, a team in Missoula in Montana mapped the vulnerability down to individual city blocks. The group has used the map to provide recommendations for city building codes that should alleviate the urban heat island effect. Residents in a South Bronx, New York are leading grassroots resiliency planning with similar outcomes in mind.

Ocean mapping competition winners announced

The Shell Ocean Discovery Xprize competition (which was launched in December 2015) challenged teams globally to advance deep sea technologies for autonomous, fast, high-resolution ocean exploration. It aims to accelerate innovation for the rapid and unmanned exploration of the uncharted deep sea; catalyse markets in deep ocean exploration and discovery, sustainable resource development, and protection; illuminate the most mysterious part of the planet; and ignite the public imagination. The grand prize winner, receiving $4-million, was GEBCO-NF Alumni, an international team based in the US, while KUROSHIO, from Japan, claimed $1-M as the runner-up. The winning team integrated existing technologies and ocean-mapping experience with a robust and low-cost unmanned surface vessel, the SeaKIT, along with a novel cloud-based data processing system that allows for rapid seabed visualisation, to contribute towards comprehensive mapping of the ocean floor by 2030.

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