Hello, and welcome to GeoSpatial Stream. I’m your host, Todd Danielson, and today’s Lead Sponsor is Esri’s Geodesign Summit.

Today’s Top Story is Drones, or the increasingly used acronym U.A.S., short for unmanned aircraft systems. In my last broadcast, I recapped the SPAR International conference I attended, and drones were everywhere. The organizers are launching a drone-focused conference later in the year, and many of the people I talked to were interested in drones’ future.

In important news, the Federal Aviation Administration now is using a “Summary Grant” process to issue approvals for a massive backlog of UAS operators. In early April 2015, the FAA issued 30 such approvals. The Secretary of Transportation can determine if low-risk UAS operators can be authorized if it already granted a previous exemption similar to the new request. Most such grants fall into the categories of film/television production and aerial data collection.

The floodgates to widespread UAS use haven’t opened completely, but they’re starting to crack, and the flood may be upon us very soon.

That was today’s Top Story. I’ll be back with more news after this interview clip from Esri’s Geodesign Summit.

If you’re looking for more information about drones, check out this column written by Sensors & Systems Editor Matt Ball. He really dives into the major developments and looks at the far-ranging implications of the latest news and government rulings. Check it out. And yes, Sensors & Systems is a proud member of V1 Media and one of our founding platforms …

In non-drone news, researchers are working in the Four Corners region of the U.S. Southwest to understand a mysterious methane concentration detected by a European satellite instrument. The greenhouse-gas measurements will be enhanced with a multipart scientific mission that includes ground, airborne and spaceborne measurements. And who doesn’t like a good science mystery?

In industry headlines, the Hexagon Imagery Program released captured airborne imagery for approximately 25 percent of the United States as well as various regions of Canada and Europe. The imagery program is expected to cover the coterminous United States by the end of the year.

Airbus Defence and Space launched its WorldDEM Digital Terrain Model, a standardized representation of bare-Earth elevations that can be made available for any point on the globe, with man-made features and vegetation stripped from the surface models.

And SimActive released Correlator3D version 6.1, now with point-cloud generation in parallel with digital surface models, with virtually no added processing time.

For today’s Final Thought, I’d like to remind you that it’s Earth Day on April 22nd, and there are many ways you can participate. You could start with the Earth Day Web site, which catalogs and provides information on many of the events happening worldwide. You could get out to the Washington, D.C., National Mall, where musicians and celebrities and celebrity musicians are holding a rally and concert. Or you could visit any of the local Earth Day events in your area. Or you could join the One Billion Trees/Seeds Planted movement, and start to grow something, literally and symbolically.

We only have one home, and we need to take good care of it. So happy Earth Day, everyone.

That’s it for this broadcast, but if you’d like to receive alerts when new GeoSpatial Stream videos are released, or sign up for additional V1 Media newsletters, please visit this Web site and register:

I’m Todd Danielson, and this … was your GeoSpatial Stream.