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Arctic: Minimum Ice Extent

1. Pipeline Third Party Encroachment Monitoring Service

Mechanical damage incurred from unauthorized third-party activities remains a leading cause of oil and gas pipeline failure, indicating the need for effective strategies to monitor encroachment over extensive sections of pipeline right-of-ways (ROWs). Conventional surveillance practices currently in use include field observations and air patrol, which are costly and limited in both spatial coverage and revisit frequency. However, the repeated coverage of large areas in short time intervals is highly desirable in order to achieve effective monitoring. Through the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Earth Observation Applications and Development Program (EOADP), C-CORE has developed operational procedures for encroachment monitoring based on RADARSAT-2 and other satellite imagery. The resulting operational near-real-time (NRT) surveillance service is called EMS (Encroachment Management Service). via+ and C-CORE are working with the Pipeline Research Council International and Alliance to commercialize and improve this service; a commercial service offering has been available to the pipeline industry since 2007. The service has also been introduced to other sectors of the utility industry, such as oil pipelines and power transmission lines. For more information, please contact and

2. National Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring System (NTEMS): Timely and Detailed National Cross Sector Monitoring for Canada

The Government of Canada identifies sustainable development as a key priority across all sectors. In addition, monitoring, reporting, and science-based policy support are core activities of several federal sectors and research organizations. Timely and detailed information on ecosystem condition and dynamics are critical for effective policy discussions and decisions concerning sustainable development. Through the CSA Government Related Initiatives Program (GRIP), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Canadian Forest Service (CFS) will generate basic and value-added information products to ensure that managers and policy makers have access to detailed, nationally consistent information that is suitable for supporting a wide range of national and international policy decisions regarding sustainable resource development, across sectors. Although each agency or organization has sector-specific objectives and information needs, these can often be supported with the same or similar data. For example, within the CFS, information is needed to support monitoring and reporting on Canada's forests, demonstrate Canada's leadership regarding forest sector sustainability, characterize attributes relevant to the valuation of ecosystem goods and services, and capture natural and anthropogenic disturbances. The project partners include NRCan-CFS, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Statistics Canada, and Environment Canada (EC). Within the CFS, the main users of this information, are the National Forest Inventory and forest Carbon Accounting programs. Based largely on pixel compositing approaches (using new and archival Landsat data), this GRIP project will create the capacity to integrate data from a variety of sensors (including RADARSAT-2 and SENTINEL-2) to create new information regarding the status, composition, and dynamics of Canada's various terrestrial ecosystems. For more information, please contact and

3. Enhancing Cropland Productivity: Mapping Net Primary Productivity of Agricultural Landscapes with RADARSAT-2

The new Growing Forward- 2 policy framework for Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector calls for innovation, competitiveness and market development to ensure Canadian producers have access to market opportunities in a competitive global economy. Enhancing cropland productivity while maintaining environmental health requires a better understanding of the linkages amongst crop production, climate variation, soil productivity and land management practices. Through the CSA GRIP, AAFC is developing a new project titled "Mapping net primary productivity (NPP) of agricultural landscapes in representative eco-regions across Canada using an integrated SAR and optical remote sensing approach". The project goal is to develop an Earth Observation (EO) based methodology to trace the historical course (1980-2010) of Canadian agricultural land productivity, to map the states of crop growth, and to offer insight for future development. Crop productivity parameterization based on integrated SAR (i.e. RADARSDAT-2, RADARSAT Constellation) and optical data will lead to operational systems that support improved crop condition assessment and yield forecasting in Canada. Many user groups, internal and external, such as federal farm payout programs, carbon and greenhouse gas accounting and reporting agencies, crop insurance administrators and market forecasters will benefit from the products developed by this project. This GRIP project is a partnership between AAFC, CSA, NRCan and Canadian universities. For more information, please communicate with and

4. Improving the Mapping of Canada's Forest Ecosystem Biomass

Spatially-explicit and accurate up-to-date volume and biomass information of Canada's forests is increasingly needed by a larger number of end-users (CFS, provincial inventory services, forest companies) for various regional, national and international reporting purposes (carbon accounting, productivity assessment and forecast, National Forest Inventory, Canada's State of Forest Report, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reporting, biodiversity assessment, bioenergy studies, etc.). Through the CSA GRIP, NRCan CFS will study and develop new methods and algorithms to map forest ecosystem's biomass using multisource spaceborne radar and optical remote sensing data. The new GRIP project titled "Combining Radarsat-2, PALSAR and multispectral optical remote sensing data for improving the mapping of Canada's forest ecosystem biomass (Multisource Biomass)" will focus on integration of Radarsat-2, PALSAR-2, Envisat ASAR, TanDEM-X, Landsat and MODIS data to improve and expand CFS capacities of mapping forest biomass at low and/or medium resolutions for regional and national mapping purposes. Particular attention is paid to non-inventoried northern regions and data/methods that can be extrapolated to all Canada in the future. New and improved biomass products developed through dynamic mapping will contribute to Government of Canada's science and policy objectives, provide better information to support land management and inform Canadians on Canada's forests. It is anticipated that resultant products will be improved biomass input into various carbon, climate change mitigation and disturbance models, provide multitemporal trends of biomass to support science, policy and forest management. For more information, please contact and

5. Addressing Agricultural Risk: Towards an Earth Observation-based Canadian Agricultural Monitoring Framework

Through the CSA GRIP, AAFC is developing a new project titled "Towards an EO-based Canadian Agricultural Monitoring Framework (AMF)". By providing the EO-based information necessary to support better policies, programs, performance measurement and market access, this GRIP initiative will support the Government of Canada's role in monitoring the environment and moving towards proactive adaptation and mitigation of risks to the agricultural sector. The high-level goals of the Canadian AMF are to:

  1. develop a monitoring framework configuration that is appropriate to meet the needs of the Canadian agriculture sector;
  2. assimilate and integrate EO data sets (i.e. RADARSAT-2, RAPID EYE, Landsat-8) comprising the best available information within the AMF grid;
  3. operationalize the modeling applications at the pixel-level scale.

The project outcomes will help AAFC maintain its competitiveness by directly addressing agricultural risk, such as those relating to the recognized threats from inter-annual climate variability (e.g. drought, floods), by providing and timely information products relating to agricultural land use, land use change and vegetation condition. This GRIP project is a partnership between AAFC, CSA, NRCan-CFS, EC and Statistics Canada. For more information, please communicate with and

6. Supporting National Agriculture Sustainability: Predictive Mapping of Soil Landscape of Canada

AAFC provides leadership in the growth and development of a competitive, innovative and sustainable Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector. Soil landscapes of Canada (SLC) data and information derived from EO is a fundamental and essential input for national sustainability metrics program in the current Growing Forward (GF 2) in AAFC. Through the CSA GRIP, AAFC is developing a new project titled "Remote Predictive Mapping of Soil Landscapes of Canada (SLC) for National-scale Sustainability Metrics and Decision Making". The goals of the project are to: further develop and apply methods of quantitative landscape segmentation; to study and develop geospatial data integration and data mining methods for predictive soil attribution and landscape mapping; and to study and apply both microwave (RADARSAT-2) and optical EO data for remote predictive mapping especially in those inaccessible areas in Canada. With the proposed renewed scale independent framework, it is expected that the produced information and data will be more confidently used for national carbon accounting, national environmental status reporting, commodity based environment footprint measurements and natural resources management and planning. Internationally the renewed SLC framework fits into the new Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) global soil and Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) geospatial data initiatives. This GRIP project is a partnership between AAFC, CSA, NRCan-Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) and Carleton University. For more information, please communicate with and

7. Enhancing Environmental Performance of the Canadian Agricultural System: Grassland Vegetation Inventory

The grasslands of Canada provide forage for the cattle industry, a diversity of flora and fauna, recreational opportunities for Canadians and habitat for wildlife. They also sequester carbon, the efficiency of which can be modified by management practices. Through the CSA GRIP, AAFC is developing a new project titled "Updating the Grassland Vegetation Inventory using Satellite Earth Observation (EO) Systems". The GRIP project directly addresses AAFC's departmental goal to "Enhance environmental performance of the Canadian agricultural system" by helping to identify the impacts of climate and anthropogenic change on native grassland resources and sustainability for the agricultural sector and Canadians at-large. The project provides an opportunity to deliver scientific information, derived from EO, to inform decision processes related to risk management (e.g. species at risk, carbon accounting) at departmental and governmental, as well as land manager and land user levels. This project will enhance the use of RADARSAT Constellation Mission EO applications within AAFC. This GRIP project is a partnership between AAFC, CSA, the Alberta Environment and Sustainability Resource Development, Prairie Conservation Forum, Royal Military College of Canada, Alberta Conservation Association, EC, Saskatchewan Province, University of Lethbridge and University of North Dakota. For more information, please communicate with and

8. Ocean Surveillance: MDA Awarded Strategic Contract by US Naval Research Laboratory

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) announced on November 20 that it has been awarded a contract valued at US$2.9 million by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). MDA will provide a RADARSAT-2 ground system for Open Ocean Surveillance, as a part of the NRL's Coalition Tactical Awareness and Response (CTAR) program. Designed to be integrated with NRL's mobile ground system tracking antenna, previously provided by MDA, the system will acquire and process RADARSAT-2 information and generate reports detailing marine activities that could be used for defence and surveillance activities. The ground system also has the capability to support other imaging satellites in support of vessel identification. Information:

9. Partnership Agreement for Exclusive Distribution of Pleiades Satellite Images in Canada

Effigis Geo-Solutions Inc. announced on December 5 it has signed an exclusive agreement to distribute satellite images from the Pleiades satellites operated by Astrium Services, a subsidiary of EADS, global leader in aeronautics. This agreement, reached with Astrium Services, North America Geo-Information Division, gives Effigis exclusive rights to the sale and distribution of Pleiades data of Canada to Canadian end users. In orbit at an altitude of nearly 700 km since they were launched in December 2011 and 2012, the Pleiades EO satellites 1A and 1B can provide imagery products of the Earth's surface with a resolution of 50 cm. With unmatched accuracy and quality, they make it possible to view landscapes in 3D and to extract a large amount of useful information in various fields: from land management, natural resource management to infrastructure monitoring.

10. From Science to Earth Observation Applications: 6th International Summer School on Radar / SAR

Science and technology is widely distributed around the world today with countries moving increasingly into higher segments of the value chain based on their cost advantages and considerable number of highly qualified personnel. To succeed in an increasingly competitive global arena, Canadians must be at the leading edge of important national and international developments that generate health, environmental, societal, and economic benefits. Fraunhofer FHR, one of the leading radar research institutes in the field of radar and SAR research, is pleased to announce that the 6th International Summer School on Radar / SAR will take place from July 4-11, 2014 in the Haus Humboldtstein, located in the Rhine Valley. One focus of the school will be SAR systems, including RADARSAT-2 applications. Students, graduate students and young scientists who wish to deepen their understanding in the field of radar and SAR techniques are cordially invited to the Summer School to apply. The mixture of lectures, practical workshops and social events contribute to the special charm of this Summer School. For more information on International Summer School on Radar / SAR please follow:

11. EO-Express Statistics

Since 2006, the CSA EO-Express newsletter informed and raised the awareness of managers, scientists and students regarding EO applications and utilizations activities. The newsletter has now more than 2800 subscribers (620 organizations). The year 2013 marked the biggest increase in membership since 2006 (+200).

12. Season's Greeting

The EO Express team wishes you happy holidays and a successful 2014. We hope that you have enjoyed the CSA EO Applications & Utilizations news and events reported in EO-Express in 2013. Your feedback and contributions to help us keep the EO and geospatial community better informed.