Mapping From Space!

forestmapperForestMapper, a high-precision, airborne visible imaging system manufactured by Space Instruments, Inc. (Encinitas, CA), is hard at work sweeping across the South American sky, gathering digital data about the Amazon basin for Brazil’s national forest service, Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renovaveis (IBAMA).

IBAMA employs images collected with ForestMapper to generate regional vegetation indices, study the ecological impact of pollution, track natural disasters such as floods and fires, and even pinpoint active sites of illegal logging operations that practice selective harvesting of high-value hardwood trees such as mahogany. In Brazil, for instance, the radiometric device is helping detect the unique spectral signatures of various forms of florae, as well as find the fresh skid trails of loggers.

ForestMapper incorporates a pair of high-speed MegaPlus 1.6i CCD