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Jan 9, 2021

Artificial Intelligence Finds Hidden Roads Threatening Amazon Ecosystems

Posted by in categories: information science, mapping, robotics/AI

(Inside Science) — It took years of painstaking work for Carlos Souza and his colleagues to map out every road in the Brazilian Amazon biome. Official maps of the 4.2 million-square-kilometer region only show roads built by federal and local governments. But by carefully tracing lines on satellite images, the researchers concluded in 2016 that the true length of all the roads combined was nearly 13 times higher.

“When we don’t have a good understanding of how much roadless areas we have on the landscape, we probably will misguide any conservation plans for that territory,” said Souza, a geographer at a Brazil-based environmental nonprofit organization called Imazon.

Now, Imazon researchers have built an artificial intelligence algorithm to find such roads automatically. Currently, the algorithm is reaching about 70% accuracy, which rises to 87%-90% with some additional automated processing, said Souza. Analysts then confirm potential roads by examining the satellite images. Souza presented the research last month at a virtual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

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Dec 31, 2020

Almost Six Hundred New High-Velocity Stars Spotted in Milky Way

Posted by in categories: mapping, space

Using data from the Large Sky Area Multi-object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) and ESA’s star-mapping satellite Gaia, astronomers have discovered 591 new high-velocity stars in the halo of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Dec 30, 2020

New Brain Implant Helps Monkeys See Without Using Their Eyes

Posted by in categories: mapping, neuroscience

A pair of monkeys were able to “see” and recognize individual letter shapes generated by arrays of electrodes implanted in their brains – without using their eyes. Previously, sight-restoring implants were placed in the retina, but these new implants were placed in the visual cortex. They achieved the highest resolution yet for such technology.

The research took place at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN). The scientists wanted to develop a way to restore sight for people whose optic nerves were damaged and couldn’t benefit from retina implants. The team, led by Pieter Roelfsema, created a brain implant made of needle-like electrodes 1.5 millimeters in length. They placed it on the animals’ visual cortex, partially restoring its sight.

The visual cortex is like a cinema screen in our skull, with each area on its surface mapping to the visual field. Placing a patch of electrodes on the surface that activate like pixels will make a person “see” whatever points get activated. For example, if an L-shaped pattern of electrodes in contact with the visual cortex is activated, they will see a pixelated L.

Dec 30, 2020

Planetary Scientists Have Created a Map of Mars’ Entire Ancient River Systems

Posted by in categories: mapping, satellites

Navigating and mapping rivers has long been a central component in human exploration. Whether it was Powell exploring the Colorado’s canyons or Pizarro using the Amazon to try to find El Dorado, rivers, and our exploration of them, have been extremely important. Now, scientists have mapped out an entirely new, unique river basin. This one happens to be on an entirely different planet, and dried up billions of years ago.

Three to four billion years ago, Mars did in fact have running rivers of water. Evidence for these rivers has shown up in satellite imagery and rover samples for almost as long as we have been exploring the red planet. Since Mars has little tectonics or erosion, that evidence has remained somewhat intact until the present day.

Recently, a team of scientists developed a tool to better examine those features. They managed to stitch together an 8-trillion pixel image of the entire Martian surface. Each pixel in this incredibly detailed image represents about a 5–6 square meter area. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t seem to available to the general public just year. Whether it is or not it is sure to prove useful for a variety of research projects regarding the environment of Mars. One of the first ones, which was recently published a paper in Geology was a map of the red planet’s river “ridges”.

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Dec 22, 2020

Australian Radio Telescopes Just Completed a map of the Universe

Posted by in categories: computing, mapping, space

CSIRO has made a detailed radio survey of the southern hemisphere, and discovered a million new galaxies.


Although radio astronomy has been around since the 1930s, it is only in recent years that astronomers have been able to make high-resolution maps of the radio sky. Sky maps are difficult for radio telescopes because radio antennas need to be focused on an extremely small patch of sky to capture images in high resolution. But with modern antennas and computer processing, we can now scan the sky quickly enough to map the heavens in a reasonable amount of time.

In the northern hemisphere, the most detailed radio sky maps have been done by the Very Large Array (VLA). In the 1990s the VLA made the first full-sky surveys of the northern sky. After its upgrade in the 2000s, the observatory began the VLA Sky Survey (VLASS), which has mapped nearly 10 million radio sources.

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Dec 20, 2020

FAA gives approval for company to use swarms of drones to reforest burned areas

Posted by in categories: drones, mapping, robotics/AI

DroneSeed will be allowed to operates drones beyond visual line of sight.


DroneSeed, a company that uses fleets of drones to reforest areas burned in wildfires, received approval in October from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its heavy-lift drones to operate Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) and to expand its use of heavy-lift drone swarms to California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

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Dec 16, 2020

This is your brain on code: Researchers decipher neural mechanics of computer programming

Posted by in categories: computing, mapping, mathematics, neuroscience

“People want to know what makes someone a good programmer,” Liu said. “If we know what kind of neuro mechanisms are activated when someone is programming, we might be able to find a better training program for programmers.” By mapping the brain activity of expert computer programmers while they puzzled over code, Johns Hopkins University scientists have found the neural mechanics behind this increasingly vital skill.

Though researchers have long suspected the for computer programming would be similar to that for math or even language, this study revealed that when seasoned coders work, most happens in the network responsible for logical reasoning, though in the left brain region, which is favored by language.

“Because there are so many ways people learn programming, everything from do-it-yourself tutorials to formal courses, it’s surprising that we find such a consistent brain activation pattern across people who code,” said lead author Yun-Fei Liu, a Ph.D. student in the university’s Neuroplasticity and Development Lab. “It’s especially surprising because we know there seems to be a crucial period that usually terminates in for , but many people learn to code as adults.”

Dec 4, 2020

A New Theorem Maps Out the Limits of Quantum Physics

Posted by in categories: mapping, quantum physics

The result highlights a fundamental tension: Either the rules of quantum mechanics don’t always apply, or at least one basic assumption about reality must be wrong.

Dec 3, 2020

Scientists just mapped 1 million new galaxies, in 300 hours

Posted by in categories: mapping, space

All-sky surveys usually take years. This one took weeks.


Australian scientists tested all 36 receivers on the ASKAP radio telescope for the first time ever, mapping 85% of the sky in 300 hours.

Dec 3, 2020

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Posted by in categories: computing, mapping, quantum physics, solar power, sustainability

A new tool that uses light to map out the electronic structures of crystals could reveal the capabilities of emerging quantum materials and pave the way for advanced energy technologies and quantum computers, according to researchers at the University of Michigan, University of Regensburg and University of Marburg.

A paper on the work is published in Science.

Applications include LED lights, solar cells and artificial photosynthesis.

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