Major Headlines in GIS for 2018

By Jessica Lort 

GIS (Geographic Information Systems) aids a lot of scientific research and businesses around the world. It has become an important tool to assist us in reaching objectives. Below are a few major headlines where GIS played a major role in 2018.

Boundless Anywhere Partners with the United Nations

A new mobile application has been released called Boundless Anywhere. It is an opensource, scalable GIS application

Boundless has partnered up with the UN (United Nations) to support its Open GIS initiative.

Data from NASA’s SMAP is Now Being Utilized

In 2015, NASA launched the Soil Moisture Active Passive(SMAP) mission, which is a satellite mission to measure and map the water content in soils worldwide. On June 4th, the data from this mission will be used operationally to monitor croplands and make crop forecasts. It is also used to report and analyze regional droughts and floods, to analyze soil moisture, temperature, precipitation, and vegetation health with improved accuracy.

The Cause of Earth’s Wobble

The Earth’s axis has drifted 4 inches over the past 100 years. NASA has determined that the primary cause of this shift is the decrease in Greenland’s ice mass. The amount of ice that has melted equates to about 7,500 gigatons. Changes in Earth’s wobble may impact the accuracy of satellite tools such as GPS.

The Fastest Moving Fault Line is Mapped

One of the fastest, possibly the fastest moving, underwater fault lines is the first to be comprehensively mapped in high resolution. This fault line is the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault system which is 746 miles long extending from Vancouver Island, Canada to the Fairweather Range of southeast Alaska. The fault line has a slip rate of over 2 inches per year and has generated 6 earthquakes that exceed a magnitude greater than 7 in the last century. This fault line is problematic for the growing populations across southeastern Alaska, tourists, and seafloor structure which is important for Alaska’s communications and offshore energy industries.

China is First to Globally Map CO2

In 2016, China launched TanSat which is a greenhouse gas-monitoring satellite. It is the third satellite to measure CO2 with hyperspectral imaging. It can locate carbon dioxide flux, which is where on Earth’s surface carbon can be released or absorbed. Now, using data from TanSat, China has published the first global CO2 maps.

The First Broadband Satellite has been Launched

SpaceX is the first the launch a broadband satellite. In fact, they have launched 2 satellites. These satellites are unique because they use microsatellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) while most internet satellites are in geostationary orbit.