UrtheCast Tech Talk


Title: "UrtheCast: Changing the way we look at the Earth"

Speaker: Peter Fox, UrtheCast

Time: Thursday, October 10, 3:30 pm

Location: Dempster 110


This presentation will start out with the UrtheCast Mission Overview; a summary of the Cameras, the imagery, the applications and benefits and an architectural overview.

A key element of UrtheCast is the Web Platform; a new model to distribute Earth Observation Data to enterprise, and to bring free or affordable imagery to researchers and social media to create an organic community of Earth Observation data users. To this end UrtheCast will provide Open Source libraries, Javascript APIs, streaming APIs and search tools.

Having addressed the mission, the data distribution and potential for application innovation we will move on to the partners who have been brought together to achieve this.  Then we will take a more detailed view of the mission phases, from launch, through docking, to the Extra Vehicular Activities.

The key elements of the "Space Segment", the cameras, will be addressed in greater detail.  The architecture of the Medium Resolution still camera and the High Resolution video camera will be examined, along with their imaging performance.

Then it is back down to Earth with a description of the "Ground Segment" and the Operations; the daily life of commanding, capturing, and downlinking the data to the ground for distribution.

The presentation will end with a brief glimpse of a future in which Earth Observation becomes a part of daily life; where individuals can monitor disasters, or changes in forests or the growth of refugee camps, simply by putting a pin on a map; and then share opinions on these events and changes through social media.

About Peter Fox:

Peter is currently the Director of Research and Development at UrtheCast.

Peter has been involved in Remote Sensing since his Ph.D. Thesis on Dynamically Focussed Phased Arrays. Before joining UrtheCast Peter was the Principal System Engineer at Kongsberg Mesotech Systems, responsible for developing new MultiBeam Imaging and Profiling Sonar Systems.

Preceding that, he was a Principal Engineer at MDA and the SAR Payload Lead Engineer on the Radarsat-2 Program; responsible for the Radar and Antenna of the world’s most sophisticated Space Based Synthetic Aperture Radar, successfully launched and operating since December 2008.

Earlier career highlights include teaching and research at Cape Town University (Engineering and Mathematics) and at SFU (Engineering), Chief Engineer at Klein Associates (the first company to commercialize the SideScan Sonar), and the discovery of the wreck of the Katsuragisan Maru in Chuuk, Micronesia; the discovery was made into a documentary for the History Channel.

About UrtheCast:

UrtheCast will provide the first HD video feed of Earth, streamed from space. This fall, two UrtheCast cameras will be strapped into a Progress cargo ship and launched to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz rocket. Once installed by Space Station astronauts, the two UrtheCast cameras will begin capturing Earth imagery and video, which will be downlinked to groundstations across the globe and streamed, near-live, to the web or distributed directly to exclusive partners like the United Nations. UrtheCast’s cameras will provide high-resolution video and imagery of Earth that will allow for the monitoring of the environment, humanitarian relief, social events, agricultural land, and more.