Company’s radar mapping system uniquely qualified to map equatorial regions worldwide
Frederick, MD (May 31, 2006) – EarthData International (EarthData) today announced the award of a $16 million contract by the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia to produce the first-ever high-resolution image and terrain maps of Papua New Guinea. The Australian Government is funding the project under a memorandum of understanding with the government of Papua New Guinea.
EarthData will deploy its GeoSAR radar mapping system to complete airborne data acquisitions over the 318,000-square-kilometer area. Mounted on a jet aircraft and using two radar bands simultaneously, the GeoSAR system will fly over the area and collect extremely accurate images and three-dimensional models of the forest canopy surface, as well as the terrain beneath the canopy. The resulting data will be used with standard geographic information system (GIS) software to support decision-making in a variety of land management and engineering applications.
“GeoSAR is uniquely qualified for this project,” said EarthData CEO Anne Hale Miglarese. “In equatorial regions such as Papua New Guinea, dense vegetation and year-round cloud cover make conventional mapping techniques impossible or cost-prohibitive. The GeoSAR mapping system solves this problem; it is capable of mapping thousands of square kilometers at a time, day or night, and in almost any weather condition to deliver mapping data of a scale, accuracy, and completeness never before possible for this type of topography.” Once the 2-month aerial data collection phase is completed in July 2006, product delivery will be staged over the remainder of 2006 with final deliveries by June 2007, at which time the majority of the country will be newly mapped.
After 2 years of successfully completing GeoSAR mapping projects in the United States and South America, the Papua New Guinea project is EarthData’s first GeoSAR mapping project in the Asia Pacific region. “The quality and clarity of the GeoSAR end products excited us,” said Liz Milne, the Australian Government’s team leader for this project. “The system’s unique capabilities—offering both tree top surface data, as well as ground level data beneath the vegetation—combined with the company’s track record on large international mapping projects, sealed our decision to work with EarthData.” PNG was last mapped 30 years ago by the Royal Australian Army Survey Corps using methods considered to be state-of-the-art at that time.
To complement the radar image maps and terrain models with detailed infrastructure information, Fugro Spatial Solutions Pty Ltd. of Perth, Australia, a team member on this contract, will be responsible for the acquisition of aerial photography over critical infrastructure in 35 individual sites throughout Papua New Guinea. Horizon Geoscience Consultants, of Sydney, Australia, EarthData’s strategic partner in the Asia Pacific region for the past 2 years, will provide local project management support, as well as training to Australian Government staff on radar data interpretation.