Studying Forest Fires using Remote Sensing and NASA data: NASA DEVELOP 2013!
One of NASA’s applied sciences development program – NASA DEVELOP aims at getting young researchers to highlight fresh applications of Earth Observation data and increase understanding of how NASA’s Remote Sensing products can be used to serve the community. The second Virtual Poster Session (VPS) of 2013 (under the NASA DEVELOP program) saw 141 young researchers from across the globe to collaborate on 30 projects under 6 different themes ranging from Monitoring Earth’s Water Sources, Sustainable Agriculture, Forest Ecosystem, Air Pollution Monitoring, Climate and Energy and Natural Disaster Prevention and Monitoring.
One of the persistent problems that plague the world and our biodiversity – Forest Fires! The research work emerging out of the NASA DEVELOP seeking to tackle that was “Studying Wild Fires in Coahuila, Mexico using NASA’s Earth Observations” by a six member team.
Instead of writing about the research and its interesting stuff myself, I decided to ask Ms. Rohini, one of the members of the research team to answer some of the questions I had.. Here’s what she had to say
Studying Forest Fires using Remote Sensing might be something that been around for a while but somehow it seems the awareness of utilizing such systems for preventing them still leaves a lot to be desired. It’s projects like these that will help bridge the gap between the potential of Remote Sensing and its real utilization on ground.
What do you people think about this project? Let us know! And if you have a few questions for the team yourselves, click on this link to post your questions to the Ms. Rohini and her team.
Oh and yeah, if you are working on utilizing geospatial technology for new and novel applications, we would love to hear from you 🙂
Location data points from Cellphone usage: compromising your location!
Could your mobile phone be used to track you even if the data is anonymous? “Unique in the Crowd: The privacy bounds of human mobility” is not only an interesting piece of research, its something that all of us were certain was possible, even practiced but never really thought could be proved.
Although the wide spread use of sensor-studded cellphones have led to a wealth of information from apps that help community scientific experiments to voluntary geographic data collection that can help combat emergency and natural disasters but until today we believe that being anonymous meant that your location information was not being compromised or in other words it is not possible to hunt you down using such anonymous data. But guess what? We were all wrong! Wondering it should be difficult to do so right? Just how hard could it to be identify the identity of one anonymous cellphone user in a database that will contain millions of such records.. Apparently not so difficult.
The research says that just 4 random points from our mobile phone’s location data is enough to put a name to 95% of the data in a cellphone database that is technically anomymized i.e. the data does not have any individual identification fields. Highly vindicating the growing concern that data available in the public domain – cellphone location information is not as anonymous as previously thought!
The research was carried out by researchers at MIT and the Université Catholique de Louvain, in Belgium. They had analyzed data of over a million cellphone users in a small European country over a span of 15 months and found that just four points of reference, with fairly low spatial and temporal resolution, was enough to uniquely identify 95 percent of the cellphone users.
In other words, to extract the complete location information for a single person from an “anonymized” data set of more than a million people, all you would need to do is place him or her within a couple of hundred yards of a cellphone transmitter, sometime over the course of an hour, four times in one year. A few Twitter posts would probably provide all the information you needed, if they contained specific information about the person’s whereabouts. – MIT News
The research adds more to the privacy debate that has been gathering steam over the last couple of months! What do you geo people think about this? Bottomline: Location data points from Cellphone usage is definitely comprising your location!