BLM website incorporates survey plats; USGS and NASA select Landsat data continuity mission science team; ASPRS announces provisional certification program; Denver launches online geospatial network; and India voices concern with Galileo.

BLM-ES GLO System Manager John Butterfield scans survey plats for the BLM Internet archives.

BLM Website Incorporates Survey Plats

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), in an effort to make land records more accessible to the public, is adding survey plats and other data to its website. According to Michael Nedd, state director of the BLM-Eastern States (BLM-ES), "BLM is working collaboratively among the state offices to determine the best way to provide survey plats, patents, field notes and other information to the public in a "˜one-stop' shop model, in a consistent manner."

At press time, the General Land Office (GLO) Records website had added historical and current cadastral survey plats for Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi and Oklahoma and current survey information performed for other federal agencies from the 13 original colonies. The data and images capturing historic and current land survey plats are available

The GLO Records website is continuously adding state documents to its archives. Currently, the BLM is scanning the original field notes for Oklahoma and survey plats for Louisiana, and hopes to have them available to the public in the spring of 2007.

According to John Butterfield, BLM-ES GLO system manager, providing online access to all of these historic records opens up a new audience of public users who previously were excluded because of the burden associated with viewing the documents in person at the BLM's vaults in Springfield, Va. "This system allows the BLM to better preserve these captivating pieces of United States history by limiting human contact with the originals while opening up access to anyone with an Internet connection," Butterfield says.

USGS and NASA Select Landsat Data Continuity Mission Science Team

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), announced on Oct. 16, 2006, that the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) science team has been selected. Since 1972, the Landsat program has supplied Earth-observing satellites to take specialized digital photographs of the Earth's continents and surrounding coastal regions, enabling people to study the earth and evaluate the dynamic changes caused by both natural processes and human practices.

Now the LDCM's objective is to ensure the continued collection of data through Landsat satellites. It will continue to obtain valuable data and imagery to be used in agriculture, education, business, science and government. Expected to launch in 2010, the LDCM is designed to supply Landsat-like data from the next generation of Earth-observing satellites and will cooperate with other Earth-observing missions, both nationally and internationally. According to the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992, the LDCM will serve "the civilian, national security, commercial, and foreign policy interests of the United States," and "incorporate system enhancements...which may potentially yield a system that is less expensive to build and operate and more responsive to users."

To execute the LDCM's goals, a team of scientists and engineers has been assembled from USGS leadership, USGS and NASA scientists and a group of external scientists and satellite data applications specialists. The team's purpose is to advise the USGS and NASA on issues critical to the success of the LDCM and recommend strategies for the effective use of archived data from Landsat sensors.

ASPRS Announces Provisional Certification Program

The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) developed a Provisional Certification program in photogrammetry, remote sensing and GIS/LIS available to graduating students in the spatial sciences. The program provides students with the opportunity to take the ASPRS certification exam as they are finishing their studies to become provisionally certified until they enter the workforce. Once students enter the workforce and meet job experience requirements, they become fully certified. Having both provisional certification and a defined career path is a significant advantage when seeking employment. Students who take advantage of this program are provided with a professional and educational environment to develop their careers.

The first university to offer ASPRS Provisional Certification is North Carolina Central University (NCCU). ASPRS is working on implementing the program with other universities that offer spatial technology education. Details of the Provisional Certification Program can be found online

The GIWIS website provides information on the geospatial industry in Denver, including educational resources, job data and salary information in the Denver area.

Denver Launches Online Geospatial Network

The city of Denver, Colo. launched the Geospatial Industry Workforce Information System (GIWIS) as the first online geospatial workforce information network in the United States. The GIWIS pilot project offers a website for finding jobs, qualified employees, educational resources, schools, industry data and salary information in the Denver area.

The site is funded by a grant from the Department of Labor and was designed by the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) and the Association of American Geographers (AAG). As a pilot project, the GIWIS aims to develop solutions to meet workforce challenges and labor shortages facing the geospatial industry and acts as a model site for other cities. The GIWIS site can be accessed

India Voices Concern with Galileo

In October, India voiced security concerns with its participation in Galileo, a global navigation satellite system being developed by the European Union (EU) and European Space Agency (ESA). India fears that its sensitive data might not be adequately protected from individuals and other nations participating in the Galileo enterprise.

India signed up to participate in the 30-satellite program in September 2005, but progress was stalled at the fall 2006 summit meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with EU leaders in Helsinki, Finland. Indian concerns with Galileo relate to the access that the satellite system will have to all manner of geographical and tactical locations in the country, and the uncertainty of the users of this data.