Point of Beginning

Newsline-November 2007

November 1, 2007
University of Florida Offers Laser Scanning Education; DigitalGlobe Launches Next-generation Satellite; White House Removes Selective Availability; \Memorial Scholarship Honors Industry Figure; and Lockheed Martin Releases Pro-posal for Next GPS Constellation.

Students and faculty from the University of Florida’s geomatics program watch as personnel from Southern Laser demonstrate how to use a Trimble GS200 3D laser scanner.


University of Florida Offers Laser Scanning Education

The University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville is implementing laser scanning training into its geomatics program. In August, Trimble dealer Southern Laser of Lutz, Fla., donated a Trimble GS200 3D laser scanner to the program and delivered it to the university grounds.

Joe Schneiderwind, survey sales manager for Southern Laser, was the impetus behind the donation. “I like to help surveying programs out around Florida,” Schneiderwind says. “Traveling around the state, I was amazed to see that universities like UF were using outdated equipment.”

Bon Dewitt, director of the UF geomatics program, is thrilled to have the scanner as a teaching tool. “Laser scanning is the way of the future in terms of doing topographic and other industrial survey application work,” he says. “We want to stay current with what we’re teaching our students. It’s important for them to get exposure with this technology.”

Since the delivery of the scanner in August, UF faculty has received encouraging feedback from undergraduate and graduate students alike on the inclusion of laser scanning technology in their curriculum. “A group of students came out to watch Southern Laser deliver the laser scanner,” Dewitt says. “[The students] are fired up about it.”

Schneiderwind adds: “When we delivered the scanner to the campus, I asked, ‘Who’d like to use the scanner?’ and several students jumped right in. It’s important for students to learn how to scan in the field, then learn the office survey work, including the manipulation of point cloud data, back in the classroom.”

With delivery of the scanner complete, Southern Laser personnel have begun training UF faculty. “Southern Laser is teaching us how to use the scanner as well as the CAD software,” Dewitt says. “Once we (the faculty) get up to speed, we’ll start incorporating [laser scanning] education into the classes.” Implementation is expected in time for spring classes.

According to Schneiderwind, the inclusion of laser scanning education will not end with the University of Florida. Schneiderwind and Southern Laser will continue to help integrate the latest technology into surveying programs across the state. “After twenty-one years in the field, I feel that it’s important to do my part to help get new technology into students’ hands,” he says.

DigitalGlobe’s next-generation commercial satellite, WorldView-1, was launched in September from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Photo courtesy of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

DigitalGlobe Launches Next-generation Satellite

On September 18, DigitalGlobe’s next-generation commercial satellite--WorldView-1--was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The satellite was designed, built and tested by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and was in production at its Boulder, Colo., facility for several years. The Space Systems Division of Rochester, N.Y.-based ITT Corporation provided the remote sensing system, or the “eyes” of WorldView-1 to obtain high-resolution imagery.

The satellite is anticipated to collect images with 50-centimeter panchromatic resolution with an average revisit time of 1.7 days. Operating at an altitude of 496 kilometers, DigitalGlobe expects WorldView-1 to be capable of collecting up to 750,000 square kilometers (290,000 square miles) of half-meter imagery per day. The satellite is also equipped with geo-location accuracy capabilities and is capable of quickly collecting, storing and downloading updated global imagery products for businesses and individuals around the world.

WorldView-1 is the first of two next-generation satellites planned for launch as part of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) NextView program. The program ensures that the NGA has access to commercial imagery to provide timely and accurate geospatial intelligence for national security.

At press time, WorldView-1 was undergoing a calibration and inspection period before delivering imagery.

White House Removes Selective Availability

In September, President Bush and the U.S. Department of Defense agreed to permanently turn off Selective Availability (SA), the intentional degradation of the civil GPS signal. This decision puts an end to building GPS III satellites with SA capabilities. Although the U.S. government turned off SA indefinitely in May 2000, the White House reports that “this new action will result in the removal of SA capabilities, thereby eliminating a source of uncertainty in GPS performance that has been of concern to civil GPS users worldwide.”

Memorial Scholarship Honors Industry Figure

The American Society for Photogram-metry & Remote Sensing (ASPRS), in cooperation with the Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS) and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), established the Francis H. Moffitt Scholarship Award for undergraduate and graduate students in surveying and photogrammetry disciplines that lead to careers in geospatial technologies.

The memorial scholarship consists of a $2,000 check, a certificate of recognition and a one-year student or associate membership in ASPRS. The award was created in honor of the late Francis Moffitt, professor of civil engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and a prominent name in the field of surveying and photogrammetry. Throughout his career, Moffitt served as national director for ACSM, president of ASPRS and MAPPS, and authored surveying textbooks including Surveying and Photogrammetry, which provide the basic fundamentals of these sciences to students.

The first award is anticipated to be presented at the 2008 ASPRS Conference in Portland, Ore. Additional information about the Francis H. Moffitt Memorial Scholarship and other awards offered by the ASPRS Foundation can be found at www.asprsfoundation.org.

Lockheed Martin Releases Pro-posal for Next GPS Constellation

In August, Lockheed Martin, along with the support of ITT Corporation and General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, submitted a proposal to design and build GPS Block III, the next-generation U.S. Air Force GPS Space Segment program. The proposal is for a multi-billion dollar contract scheduled to be awarded in late 2007 by the GPS Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center at the Los Angeles Air Force Base.

The program is intended to feature a cross-linked command and control architecture, allowing the entire GPS constellation to be updated simultaneously from a single ground station, which will improve position, navigation and timing services for military and civil users. According to Lockheed Martin, the proposal includes eight GPS IIIA satellites with the first launch anticipated in 2013. Additionally, eight GPS IIIB and 16 GPS IIIC satellites are planned for future launches, each including additional capabilities for users.