Each week GeoDataPoint finds a selection of good reads related to hot topics in the geospatial community. This week, Google is making headlines with its purchase of solar-powered drone company Titan Aerospace; read about a University of Connecticut researcher's pioneering LiDAR project, which recently earned international acclaim for uncovering Rhode Island history; and a drone bill sparks constitutional debate in Louisiana Senate committee.


  • Google acquires drone company Titan Aerospace: "Google is buying Titan Aerospace, which manufactures solar-powered drones, in an effort to bring Internet access to the five billion people worldwide who don't have access, as well as helping to solve other global problems.
    Google announced that it had acquired the drone company on Monday, noting that its atmospheric satellites could also be used in disaster relief and assessing environmental damage. Financial terms were not disclosed.
    Before the acquisition, Titan's website cited a wide range of uses for the drones, including atmospheric and weather monitoring, disaster response and voice and data communications."


  • Uncloaking the ruins of Rhode Island’s "lost civilization:" "Katharine Johnson, a Rhode Island native and University of Connecticut researcher, recently earned international acclaim for her pioneering work with light detection and ranging (aka LiDAR). This new remote sensing technology uses laser pulses that can penetrate tree cover to map the ground.
    When she applied it to the forested hills of Connecticut and Rhode Island, stone ruins, wandering cart paths and phantom field systems materialized in such abundance as to present a lost civilization. Her research, discussed in the popular journals Archaeology, National Geographic and Science, has rekindled scholarly and public interest in the busy farms that once filled Rhode Island’s hills."


  • Drone bill sparks constitutional debate in Louisiana Senate committee: "A Louisiana Senate judiciary committee approved on Tuesday a bill that would set up laws regulating unmanned aircrafts, known with increasing awareness in recent years as drones.
    The Deterrence of Reconnaissance Over Noncriminal Entities, or DRONE Act, created by the bill, prohibits unmanned aircrafts from conducting surveillance and capturing images on private property. The bill also bans possession, use or distribution of such images."