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El mundo al instante

Centenary of the Zuiderzee Act: a Masterpiece of Engineering

The Dutch Zuiderzee Act came into force exactly 100 years ago today, on 14 June 1918. The Zuiderzee Act signalled the beginning of the works that continue to protect the heart of The Netherlands from the dangers and vagaries of the Zuiderzee, an inlet of the North Sea, to this day. This amazing feat of engineering and spatial planning was a key milestone in The Netherlands’ world-leading reputation for reclaiming land from the sea. Wim van Wegen, content manager at ‘GIM International’, was born, raised and still lives in the Noordoostpolder, one of the various polders that were constructed. He has written an article about the uniqueness of this area of reclaimed land.

I was born at the bottom of the sea. Want to fact-check this? Just compare a pre-1940s map of the Netherlands to //,3.1776206,7.42z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x47c609c3db87e4bb:0xb3a175ceffbd0a9f!8m2!3d52.132633!4d5.291266?hl=en" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a more contemporary one. The old map shows an inlet of the North Sea, the Zuiderzee. The new one reveals large parts of the Zuiderzee having been turned into land, actually no longer part of the North Sea. In 1932, a 32km-long dam (the Afsluitdijk) was completed, separating the former Zuiderzee and the North Sea. This part of the sea was turned into a lake, the IJsselmeer (also known as Lake IJssel or Lake Yssel in English).

Why 'polder' is a Dutch word

The idea behind the construction of the Afsluitdijk was to defend areas against flooding, caused by the force of the open sea. The dam is part of the Zuiderzee Works, a man-made system of dams and dikes, land reclamation and water drainage works. But it was not only about protecting the Dutch against the threats of the sea; creating new agricultural land was another driving force behind this masterpiece. A third goal was to improve water management by creating a freshwater lake.


Satellite image of the area of the Zuiderzee Works, showing the diking and draining of the IJsselmeer region.

'Polder' is a Dutch word and this is no coincidence. There is an English saying: "God created the world but the Dutch created Holland". In 1930, the Wieringermeer was the first polder of the Zuiderzee Works that was drained, even before the construction of the Afsluitdijk was completed. The Noordoostpolder (North-East Polder) followed in 1942 and then in 1957 Eastern Flevoland and in 1968 Southern Flevoland. I was born in Emmeloord, the administrative centre of the Noordoostpolder, and grew up near a small village named Bant.

The story of the Noordoostpolder is also the story of my family. In 1941, while the pumping stations were still draining, my grandfather came to the Noordoostpolder as one of the early pioneers. The workers (called polder pioneers) were housed in wooden barracks. Cultivation began from the edges of the polder, and involved a lot of hard manual labour: digging ditches and trenches, fertilising, sowing and harvesting.

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Viernes 15 de Junio del 2018

GSA requests information for procurement of EGNOS payload services

SES 5 EGNOS sat W 300x214The European GNSS Agency (GSA) has issued a request for information (RFI) in preparation for the procurement of EGNOS geostationary navigation payload services.

The EGNOS space segment is provided by commercial satellite operators on the basis of service contracts. The GEO-1, GEO-2 and GEO-3 service contracts now cover the EGNOS space segment needs, and the GEO-1 and GEO-2 services will be the first of these to end, GSA reported. The GEO-1 and GEO-2 services will be replaced by new contracts, GEO-4 and GEO-5.

GSA is planning how it will replace the services delivered by the GEO-1 and GEO-2 satellites, and it’s issuing the RFI to collect information about opportunities to embark navigation payloads on board GEO satellites launched in a suitable time frame.

According to GSA, the results of the RFI will also be used to determine the best approach for the procurement of the payload services, which may be either procured at the same time or separately. It will help GSA define the tender specifications and decide on the most appropriate time to launch invitations to tender.

In addition, GSA aims to obtain information from owners of geostationary satellites that will be available for operational service from 2021 to 2027 and able to embark a navigation payload. The agency is specifically seeking information on future satellite plans and the possibility to embark SBAS payloads in due time to ensure an operational start date from 2021 to 2027.

The RFI will also request information service availability and long-term payload reliability; the process for EGNOS payload procurement, in-orbit testing and commissioning; information on the locations of the potential hosting sites for the EGNOS radio frequency uplink stations; and, finally, information on contractual arrangements, the payment scheme, and cost estimates, GSA added.

Answers to the RFI should be sent electronically to Esta dirección de correo electrónico está protegida contra spambots. Necesita activar JavaScript para visualizarla. by Aug. 31.
Viernes 15 de Junio del 2018

Surveying and Mapping with Your Smartphone

When we interviewed Professor Thomas Kersten back in 2014, he predicted that the smartphone would become a valuable surveying instrument within just a couple of years – and he was not far wrong! Thanks to the rapid pace of technical advancement, smartphone photogrammetry now enables us to capture reality in 3D. Some smartphones come with a 3D scanning application already integrated, while others can be turned into a 3D scanner by simply downloading an app. And who knows what the next few years will bring. Will we soon see smartphones equipped with a Lidar sensor – a 3D laser scanner in your pocket? At ‘GIM International’, we’ve put together an overview of the broad range of relevant functionalities already offered by today’s smartphones. Read on to find out how you can use your smartphone for a multitude of surveying and mapping applications.

Apps for Land Administration

The use of community participation, mobile technologies and cloud storage services could create a new way of undertaking land administration activities, and ultimately lead to more secure land rights for all. Sparked by these grand visions – which were first promoted by Robin McLaren, amongst others, in the late 2000s – alternative land administration platforms are now emerging, such as, and to name but a few. Apps lie at the heart of the developments…but what do we really mean by a ‘land administration app’ and what must such an app be capable of? Here, the authors provide a brief overview. Read more...

With the growing mix of off-the-shelf and made-to-order land administration app offerings, the land sector and land professionals have an increasing number of options when undertaking the fit-for-purpose or pro-poor parts of their work.
With the growing mix of off-the-shelf and made-to-order land administration app offerings, the land sector and land professionals have an increasing number of options when undertaking the fit-for-purpose or pro-poor parts of their work.

Precisely Flexible Positioning

As users push for more capabilities, today’s location apps for smartphones and tablets are running up against frustrating limitations. Higher accuracy can increase the performance of location-aware applications, but the costs and complexity have presented barriers to entry for many potential developers and their customers. Now, the Trimble Catalyst software-defined GNSS receiver is shifting the emphasis from hardware to software and cloud-based services, and is set to bring new users to the GNSS arena. Read more here...

Customary Cadastres and Smartphone Surveys

The complex nature of customary land administration, coupled with slow, expensive and highly centralised national land registration systems, means the registration of customary land rights is oft neglected. Estimates suggest a mere 0.5% of Ghanaian customary land holdings are registered, making land grabbing in peri-urban areas easier and land management activities, such as land consolidation, highly impeded. Read on for an article showing the results of an experiment in which a smartphone app was used to enable a participatory, faster, cheaper and a more fit-for-purpose approach to rural customary land administration. Read more here...

Point Clouds from Smartphones

Smartphones are omnipresent, and many people can no longer do without them. Smartphone cameras capture images suited for generating point clouds and 3D models. Apps running on smartphones and software running on a remote server enable easy 3D modelling from multiple images. The challenge is to train and guide laymen through a proper image capture strategy using their smartphones. The authors of this article investigated the potential use of smartphones for cheap and rapid generation of point clouds and 3D models exploiting a collaborative approach. Read more here...

Bluesky Uses Mobile Phones to Create 3D Maps

Aerial mapping company Bluesky has completed a research project backed by the UK government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to develop the use of mobile phones for capturing accurate 3D spatial information. The nine-month investigation focused on the use of standard smartphone technology to capture and calibrate video footage, then convert it to 3D information. Accurate measurements of essential infrastructure, such as overhead power lines and other utility facilities, could then be extracted using specially developed algorithms and workflows. Read more here...


Bluesky using mobile phones to capture geospatial data.

Light Mobile Collection Tools for Land Administration

There is an urgent need for the administration of property and land use rights worldwide as the basis for social and economic growth. Notwithstanding the enormous investments by governments and international organisations in the development of such systems over the past decades, it is still estimated that, from a global perspective, 75% of the relations between people and their land are not documented. So which methods and techniques can be used to develop land administration systems for all, and within our generation? Light mobile collection tools may offer a solution, as presented in this proof of concept from Colombia. Read more here...
Jueves 07 de Junio del 2018

China to launch 11 more BeiDou-3 satellites this year

China will launch 11 more BeiDou-3 satellites by the end of 2018, according to the Xinhua News Agency, the official state-run press agency.

China has already launched eight BeiDou-3 satellites for its domestic BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. The satellites will provide initial services for countries and regions along the Belt and Road by the end of the year, said Wang Li, chairman of the China Satellite Navigation System Committee.

Addressing the Ninth China Satellite Navigation Conference in Harbin, capital of northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, Wang said the BeiDou system is moving to become a global service provider after offering stable and reliable time and space information for clients in the Asia-Pacific region.

China launched the first two BeiDou-3 satellites into space via a single carrier rocket in November 2017, as its self-developed BeiDou system officially began to expand into a global network.

Compared to earlier generation satellites, the BeiDou-3 is able to send signals that are more compatible with other satellite navigation systems and provide satellite-based augmentation, as well as search-and-rescue services in accordance with international standards. Its positioning accuracy has reached 2.5 to 5 meters.
Jueves 07 de Junio del 2018

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