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The first image from Japan’s new weather satellite, MTSAT-1R, has now been successfully received and processed by the new ground facilities at the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)’s Hatoyama centre, 100km north of Tokyo.

The first image from Japan’s new weather satellite, MTSAT-1R, has
now been successfully received and processed by the new ground
facilities at the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)’s Hatoyama centre,
100km north of Tokyo.

MTSAT-1R was launched on 26 February 2005 to provide regular weather
images and data over the East Asia region. The facilities to process
data and correct them for dissemination to the user community were
supplied by LogicaCMG under contract to NEC Toshiba Space Systems, Ltd.
(NTSpace).

The payload data ground segment processes the MTSAT-1R images in
real-time, applying radiometric calibration, removing minor distortions
by automatically analysing landmark features in the image, and then
disseminating the corrected images to users within a few minutes.

Mr Takashi Ohshima, Head, Office of Meteorological Satellite Planning,
of JMA said “This successful processing of images is an important
milestone in the MTSAT programme to replace the Geostationary
Meteorological Satellite (GMS) series covering the East Asia and the
Western Pacific regions.”

Mr Hideki Kimura, MTSAT-1R image data processing system manager, of
NTSpace said “The ground facilities are crucial to ensuring that
MTSAT-1R data meets the timeliness and quality requirements of the
meteorological user community. The complex real-time software required
to process the MTSAT-1R images was supplied and supported by LogicaCMG
and is significantly more sophisticated than the software for previous
series of Japanese weather satellites. The performance of the whole
MTSAT-1R system including the ground facilities is a new breakthrough
in weather satellites.”

LogicaCMG credits

Picture shows LogicaCMG landmark processing.
Note that the scale of the arrows is exaggerated compared to the MTSAT-1R image scale

NPA supports the MapAction Asian tsunami relief effort with expertise

NPA expert and MapAction volunteer, Nicola Capes was deployed to Sri
Lanka where she provided GIS and mapping services and advice to NGO‘s
in the field for the tsunami relief effort. Field information was
gathered with GPS for integration into the GIS to create quality maps
for Government agencies, UN (including Kofi Annan and team) and NGOs,
to show where the problems lay, what relief aid was needed and how to
get it there. MapAction are a charity providing rapid response mapping
services in disaster areas and development programmes and are part of
the GMES Respond consortium for global humanitarian mapping. Read
Nicola‘s account in GeoConnexion, March 2005 ‘Lending a helping hand’ and in ‘Spotlight’.

With growing involvement in disaster and risk management, NPA are at the forefront in the application of satellite SAR Interferometry (InSAR) for ground displacement and subsidence detection.

With growing involvement in disaster and risk management, NPA are
at the forefront in the application of satellite SAR Interferometry
(InSAR) for ground displacement and subsidence detection. Stage 1 of
Terrafirma, the Pan-European Ground Motion Information Service of the
ESA GMES Service Element Programme, is now complete under NPA’s lead.
Initially the service focuses on urban subsidence but will include
earthquake zones, landslides, coastlines and flood plains, in support
of policies aimed at saving lives, improving safety and reducing
economic loss. The project utilises PSI (Persistent Scatterer
Interferometry) to detect millimetric ground motion displacements from
multiple radar scenes. NPA Chairman Nigel Press together with Dr.Chris
Browitt, seismologist with British Geological Survey, were interviewed
live on BBC Radio 4‘s Material World programme featuring InSAR and
Terrafirma. To hear the March 10th broadcast via web go to BBC Listen
again”
.

Paris, April 6, 2005 – Jason-1 satellite with its altimetry payload and the MERIS hyperspectral instrument onboard ESA‘s Envisat have simultaneously celebrated the completion of three years in flight, in December 2004 for Jason and in February 2005 for Meris. Both provide key Oceanography products, and an user-oriented workshop took place in Cannes for the event end of March.

Paris, April 6, 2005 – Jason-1 satellite with its altimetry payload and the MERIS hyperspectral instrument onboard ESA‘s Envisat have simultaneously celebrated the completion of three years in flight, in December 2004 for Jason and in February 2005 for Meris. Both provide key Oceanography products, and an user-oriented workshop took place in Cannes for the event end of March.

This allowed main players within the Oceanography community to meet (being either from agencies from Cnes to NASA, or actual end-users -ACRI, LTMG, Ifremer, universities…), and to have fruitful exchanges on the uses of existing sensors (Envisat and Jason-1) and about the future (US development plans, European GMES Sentinel-3).

The main findings are the following:

Owing to Envisat/Meris and Jason, Europe has demonstrated its capability to build reliable instruments, spacecrafts and system tools.
Today the only programmable hyperspectral instrument in flight, MERIS demonstrates the best availability among the whole Envisat payload with just not a single outage in three years. Similarly, the Proteus/Jason satellite demonstrates an outstanding availability and has been designed as part of a versatile batch procurement in order to reduce costs –“more science for the money”.

Operational Oceanography is on its way
Very efficient system and processing tools are now in place that ensure a regular and timely data extraction, merging and diffusion: the complete chain is now mature, and this for multiple applications, from chlorophyll index to hydrology basin monitoring to fish management.

The issue is about Continuity of Oceanography from Space
While many end-users make tremendous efforts to merge data even from very different satellites, and develop very promising (pre)-operational services , the high regularity of today‘s products critically depends on renewing the current space capacity: this indeed is generally well identified in all european institutions but the issue lies with the actual in-orbit replenishment schedule.

Oceanography and hydrology applications (like those presented by LTMG or Mercator) will be considered as dependable on a regular basis and trigger more users only if the continuity of current services is secured.
The general agreement is that numerous applications are definitely turning operational, and this is why all participants unanimously called for GMES Sentinel 3 to get prioritary attention from Europe decision makers.

AlcatelAlcatel Space Press Contact:
Sandrine BIELECKI
Tel (office): 04 92 92 70 94 – fax (office): 04 92 92 33 10
Email