Chinese Remote Sensing Scientists Work for Olympics

Chinese scientists have worked for Beijing Olympic organizers through monitoring Olympic venues' landscape and surrounding environment to help ensure a smooth Olympic Games.

"Based on remote sensing data from a US satellite, we have monitored and analyzed the aerosol status in Beijing and surrounding areas, obtaining real-time information on pollution and its distribution mechanism," Lead scientist of the remote sensing project Guo Huadong said on Saturday in an interview with Xinhua that Guo's team retrieved the scientific data collected by ground receivers from the moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) which was mounted on the US satellite EOS-TERRA.

A few members of America's prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) also joined the collaboration.

"Utilizing the huge MODIS data, we can analyze reasons of pollution and suggest ways of dealing with the pollution for creating a nice Olympic environment," said Guo, who is also director of the Center for Earth Observation and Digital Earth of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

In order to effectively assess landscape changes, the scientists compared the real-time data with the high-resolution airborne images in year 2002 and 2003 in the Olympic central area as well as the Landsat, another Earth-monitoring satellite, and images from 1983 until now, said Shao Yun, another key scientist for the project.

Financed by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology funds, the environmental remote sensing monitoring system for the 2008 Olympic Games was initiated for the dynamic inspection and continuous observation on the Olympic venues, construction sites and surrounding areas.

Gathering data from 1998 to 2008, the system consists of stereo observation from spaceborne, airborne and ground remote sensing means. It comprehensively surveyed ecological environment, engineering construction, environmental pollution and traffic flows.

Besides the service for the Beijing Olympics, the research team also provided airborne images of Sichuan after it was devastated by a disastrous earthquake on May 12. The images were used, together with other satellite images presented by the United States, for post-disaster damage assessment.

(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2008)

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