Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Landsat 8 data explained

If you are new to satellite imagery, or not familiar yet with the capabilities of recently launched Landsat 8 satellite, a post by Charlie Loyd on mapbox.com blog explains in plain English how the data can be used. It’s a great read, illustrated with examples of what you get when you mix and match various “data streams” (ie. bands = colours, although not necessarily visible to human eye, represented by a specific frequency along the electromagnetic spectrum).

The 30 m resolution of Landsat 8 imagery (15m for black and white version) does not allow “peaking over the fence to your neighbour’s backyard” but it is a great source of timely information for all sorts of environmental analysis (eg. crop monitoring, determination of land characteristics)  and is very helpful in monitoring geographic extents of natural disasters (like floods or bushfires).

[Bands 7-5-1 combination revealing bushfire burn scar - bottom left ]

Landsat 8 data is available for download via:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

East coast unanimously frees data

The NSW state government has joined QLD, Vic and ACT counterparts declaring support for open data initiative. It has just released a draft open data policy which aims to make state-owned data available to the public at no charge. Where is it not possible to provide data totally free of charge, it will be provided “at a reasonable price”. If the policy is approved, datasets will be available for download from www.data.nsw.gov.au portal.

If declarations of state and territory governments prove fruitful, we soon should have roads and cadastre/address data freely available for the eastern part of Australia - unless I totally misinterpret the intension of the open data policies. The move to free access to government data started 12 years ago with the release of Spatial Data Access and Pricing Policy however, the benefits have been slow coming. Hopefully, the momentum will now accelerate as more and more government organisations open up their data vaults.

Govhack 2013 initiative gives a taste of what can be done with all that free data. The winners have just been announced… 

First spotted on Spatialsource.com.au