Synth Export

This just hit my desk from the excellent ISPRS Commission V on Close-Range Sensing (and check out the useful “Tips” section):

Photosynth has suddenly become a lot more interesting now that there is a useful utility to extract data from your synths! Microsoft’s Photosynth always looked very interesting and potentially powerful, but of little value as it seemed impossible to derive quantitative information from it, until now!

Synthexport is a freely available utility which allows the extraction of automatically measured XYZ coordinates and estimated camera parameter/inner orientation data. Enjoy!

For those not in the know, Photosynth is an online Microsoft service that:

…takes your photos, mashes them together and recreates a 3D scene out of them that anyone can view and move around in.

Yes its photogrammetry, but up to this point has been purely an online activity. Which makes Synth Export incredibly useful. Next step will be to start playing with this in anger.

TanDEM Mission now operational

The TanDEM mission is now operational. I blogged on the launch of TanDEM-X earlier this summer, but this link is worth a read just to highlight how unique a mission this is and also to look forward to seeing what the data is like.

Map World

Map World has been released by China’s State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping using imagery collected over the last four years. Its interesting to see another “take” on the Google Maps idea; its not bad but no where near as slick as Google’s service. The BBC provide a more detailed review with this snippet quite useful:

Within the nation’s borders, images have a 2.5m resolution in rural areas and can go down to 0.6m resolution in 300 cities. Beyond its borders, images have a 500m resolution and many nations are blank when users zoom in.

One to watch simply because its a completely different set of data.

dlgv32 Pro Viewer

FGT recently blogged about the free USGS dlgv32 Pro viewer. This provides some of the history to Global Mapper which I wasn’t aware of in my earlier post. OK, so it’s not quite the swiss army knife of RS software that Global Mapper is, but still damn useful.

Licensing Updates

Ed Parsons has a couple of useful recent blog posts on data licensing. Specifically the clarification of derived data for OS licenses and open government licensing (which might include OS OpenData but I’m not entirely clear). For the OS licensing, the key points Ed draws out are:

  • no restrictions on deriving or displaying data based on OS Opendata datasets
  • data collected by independent means (GPS, field survey) and then verified in relation to OS data is free of OS restrictions
  • licensing data for business use, are able to infer the position or create new data without restrictions as long as the new data is not a direct copy of an existing feature in the OS product

All good stuff and increases the ability to incorporate (some) OS data in to maps published at the Journal of Maps.

Credit Where Credit’s Due: developing authorship strategies in the geosciences

Smith, M.J., Jordan, C. and Walsby, J.
Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association

As research institutions seek to professionalise the workplace the use of metrics to assess an individual’s performance is becoming increasingly commonplace. For academic researchers this can be achieved through the use of publication metrics such as the number of articles published and number of citations. For non-academic professionals, such as cartographers, field assistants or database programmers, they may have limited inclusion as authors and therefore their contribution to research outputs and outcomes is more difficult to ascertain. This paper outlines the current de facto standards for authorship and proposes some potential solutions for the formal recognition of contributions by professionals to research projects. This is presented through strategies currently being trialed at the Journal of Maps and through the example of map publication at the British Geological Survey.

Google Earth Imagery Updates

The Google Earth blog is one well worth monitoring for useful titbits. This recent post explains how often imagery is updated. This is a crucial point as it is not always obvious what the currency is and how the “patch work” of dates varies. They note a policy of trying to keep all imagery less than 3 years old, although this isn’t always possible. Don’t forget that they store (historic) archive imagery and also provide a KML file showing where the updates are. Useful stuff.