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Sensing disasters from space
Date:10/22/2009

ompromise our health. For example, about 90% of all gas stations leak contaminants into the soil, says Prof. Ben-Dor. His new HRS can monitor gas stations and identify problematic areas. "Our space sensors combined with ground measurements and GPS data will be able to detect and map hydrocarbon contamination in real time. Within a year, we'll be able to identify these problematic areas far more quickly than with traditional methods," he says.

Seeing where Earth takes the heat

The HRS simultaneously acquires hundreds of optical images, each from a different frequency, that enable a "spectral assessment" from distances high in the air via airplanes and in orbit using satellites. This raw data is then processed by Prof. Ben Dor and his team to yield sophisticated thematic maps. "These are not regular maps at all," says Prof. Ben-Dor. "We are combining properties from the physical, chemical and optical worlds, using all the latest technologies available from these fields. Ours is one of a few leading teams in the world exploring this novel way of mapping earth."

These "soil maps" supply a bigger picture. Water bodies and sediment runoff in California. A small soil patch in a California forest after a fire. Impending monsoons and floods in China. Contaminants surrounding a factory. All these can literally be "seen" from space with the HRS.

Previous research by Prof. Ben-Dor, which focused on mapping urban heat islands from space, is now regularly used by cities and urban planners to develop projects such as "green" roofs or new parks.


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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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