The U.N. is also using GIS to help resolve disputes over the location of international boundaries. The U.N. Cartographic Section is developing the U.N. International Boundary Information System (UNIBIS), a worldwide geographic database of international boundaries.
As of the end of 2010, 13 U.N. peacekeeping missions around the world use systems that integrate location information with satellite imagery, referred to as geographic information systems (GIS), as part of daily operations.
In May 2010, a researcher at Purdue University used a combination of NASA satellite imagery and information from Google Earth to determine that North Korea was conducting illegal logging operations in a U.N.-protected forest.
The Open Initiative on the Use of Space Technologies to Support the World Heritage Convention is a program sponsored by ESA and the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Open Initiative focuses on the use of satellite imagery to identify and protect U.N.-designated world heritage sites and alert local authorities to changes that could pose a threat to those sites.
The same wide perspective that allows satellites to track the effects of an insect infestation helps forest managers and emergency response agencies to monitor and respond to forest and wildfires. In August 2010, the United Nations’ (U.N.) Food and Agriculture Organization, in partnership with the University of Maryland, launched the Global Fire Information Management System.
The ISS is the only crewed space station in orbit. Due to be completed in 2011, the ISS is also the most active and massive space station ever deployed. NASA, a main contributor, received $## billion for the ISS in fiscal year (FY) 2010 compared to $## billion approved by Congress in FY 2009. This funding does not include flight or ground operations costs of shuttle flights to and from the ISS. Two new modules were added to the ISS during 2010. In February, Space Shuttle Endeavour delivered the Tranquility module, which contains life support systems and a unique seven-windowed cupola from which astronauts can conduct robotic operations.
Note: This section’s exhibits are from The Space Report 2010. Countries are increasingly pursuing active space programs as political leaders come to view space as a critical component of national development. In 1960 the United States and the Soviet Union were the world’s only spacefaring n… This article is for subscribers. Please sign up…
Since 1999, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime has made extensive use of satellite imagery in its Illicit Crop Monitoring Programme (ICPM), helping national governments and the international community monitor and track the production of illicit crops.
In the hours and days after a natural disaster occurs, satellite communications serve a vital role in coordinating humanitarian response when terrestrial communications systems are overwhelmed with heavy call traffic or rendered inactive due to damage.
As nations around the world increase investment in both space activity and space human capital infrastructure, traditional models of space education and workforce development are increasingly being supplemented by newer approaches. These approaches emphasize the potential for international space education cooperation and focus on engaging student interest in space at an early age.