Mar 29, 2012

Experts See Threat to Environmental Intelligence in Monitoring Our Changing Earth

Estimated Article Reading Time: 3 min.

Newswise — There is a declining ability in the United States to monitor land, ocean, and atmospheric changes – at a time of increasing concern over 21st century challenges, from transnational threats and food security to climate change.

Specialists agree that environmental intelligence must be a national priority, as it is essential to protecting our citizens, economy, and national security. Lack of information – particularly from Earth-orbiting sensors and systems — could have devastating consequences, chiefly in the area of risk management.

Secure World Foundation is pleased to announce the release of the Winter 2012 issue of Imaging Notes magazine dedicated to highlighting the urgent, interrelated issues of Earth remote sensing for security, energy and the environment.

“In this age of multi-tasking we need to squeeze every bit of data possible out of current sensors, future sensors, even unclassified information gathered by classified sensors,” said Dr. Michael Simpson, Executive Director of Secure World Foundation. “No matter how brilliant they may be, scientists and analysts can’t identify solutions without data.”

Satellite data

At a time of difficult budgetary decisions, a long-term strategy for environmental intelligence is needed, one that ensures investment on the critical systems and programs upon which the world depends.

This concern is highlighted in the newly-issued magazine, with a Secure World Foundation Forum dedicated to climate change, health, and national security, written by Dr. Ray Williamson, Senior Advisor of Secure World Foundation, and editor of Imaging Notes.

The use of satellite systems to support public health, Williamson points out, is a subject that receives relatively little attention, but one that is likely to become increasingly important as climate change brings substantial environmental change to the United States and to the world, and as analytical models based on satellite data become more sophisticated.

“Now more than ever…we need the ability to monitor Earth’s environment from orbit to make use of the synoptic view that such observations provide,” Williamson said.

Wanted: national strategy

Establishing a national strategy for environmental intelligence is underscored by Laura Delgado López, an Earth Observations Associate with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in Washington, D.C.

López reports that experts agree that environmental intelligence must be a national priority, as it is essential to protecting our citizens, economy, and national security.

Also included in the Winter issue of Imaging Notes:

— An appeal to save commercial imagery, listing six virtues of imagery made via privately-operated spacecraft.

— LIght Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) is featured prominently, a rapidly evolving technology that is playing an increasingly important role in disaster management.

— How to tap geographic information systems (GIS) that integrate hardware, software, and data for preserving the treasure trove of America’s archaeological and architectural resources.

Imaging Notes is the premier publication for commercial, government and academic remote sensing professionals around the world, said Myrna James Yoo, Publisher of Imaging Notes.

“It provides objective exclusive in-depth reporting that demonstrates how remote sensing technologies and spatial information illuminate the urgent interrelated issues of the environment, energy and security,” Yoo said.

Secure World Foundation established a partnership with Imaging Notes magazine in 2009.

NOTE: Qualified professionals may receive Imaging Notes by mail or via digital subscription, free of charge in the United States.

Please go to:


For more information on monitoring climate change, health, and national security issues using space-based systems, contact:

Dr. Michael K. Simpson
Executive Director
Secure World Foundation
Phone: +1-303-554-1560
Fax: +1-303-554-1562

Dr. Ray Williamson
Senior Advisor
Secure World Foundation
Phone: +1-303-554-1560
Cell Phone: +1-303-501-0430

About Secure World Foundation

Secure World Foundation (SWF) is a private operating foundation dedicated to the secure and sustainable use of space for the benefit of Earth and all its peoples.

SWF engages with academics, policy makers, scientists and advocates in the space and international affairs communities to support steps that strengthen global space sustainability. It promotes the development of cooperative and effective use of space for the protection of Earth’s environment and human security.

The Foundation acts as a research body, convener and facilitator to advocate for promoting key space security and other space related topics and to examine their influence on governance and international development.

Secure World Foundation is headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, with offices in Washington, D.C. and Brussels, Belgium.

For access to the SWF website, please go to: