Each week GeoDataPoint finds a selection of good reads related to hot topics in the geospatial community. This week, find out about NASA's new airborne mission to measure the snowpack of major mountain watersheds in California; learn why drones may be reshaping the mining industry; and read about a Houston missing-persons search group fighting an FAA order to stop using unmanned aircraft.

  • An article in the Washington Post details NASA's new airborne mission: "NASA fixed a lumbering twin-engine plane with high-tech equipment to make regular snow surveys, starting last weekend in drought-stricken California before the weather front expected to bring snow to the Sierra this week. At an altitude of up to 20,000 feet, the so-called Airborne Snow Observatory measures snowpack’s depth and water content with precision."
     
  • From the Bloomberg News report titled "Drones Join Robots in High-Tech Future for Risky Mines": "A technology boom in robots, drones, driverless trucks and pilotless trains is beginning to reshape one of the world’s most labor-intensive industries, portending automation of logistics, supply chains and mapping and allowing development of mines in regions once thought too dangerous or remote to exploit."
     
  • Forbes tech writer Kashmir Hill says: "A volunteer search-and-rescue team out of Houston is doing its best to make the FAA’s restrictions on drone use look really, really bad. The Texas EquuSearch Mounted Search and Recovery Team has retained drone lawyer Brendan Schulman (who famously got a judge to issue a ruling last month questioning the FAA’s drone authority) to write an angry letter to the FAA letting it know that the group will sue if the airspace-regulating agency doesn’t let it do what it wants with its search-and-rescue drones. And what it wants to do is find missing persons, an incredibly sympathetic drone use case."