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Feb 28, 2021

New Metamaterial Structures for Studying the Oldest Light in the Universe

Posted by in categories: cosmology, mapping, particle physics

The cosmic microwave background, or CMB, is the electromagnetic echo of the Big Bang, radiation that has been traveling through space and time since the very first atoms were born 380000 years after our universe began. Mapping minuscule variations in the CMB tells scientists about how our universe came to be and what it’s made of.

To capture the ancient, cold light from the CMB, researchers use specialized telescopes equipped with ultrasensitive cameras for detecting millimeter-wavelength signals. The next-generation cameras will contain up to 100000 superconducting detectors. Fermilab scientist and University of Chicago Associate Professor Jeff McMahon and his team have developed a new type of metamaterials-based antireflection coating for the silicon lenses used in these cameras.

“There are at least half a dozen projects that would not be possible without these,” McMahon said.

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Feb 27, 2021

Revive the map: 4D building reconstruction with machine learning

Posted by in categories: mapping, robotics/AI

A research team from Skoltech and FBK (Italy) has presented a methodology to derive 4D building models using historical maps and machine learning. The implemented method relies on geometric, neighborhood, and categorical attributes in order to predict building heights. The method is useful for understanding urban phenomena and changes that contributed to defining our cities’ actual shape. The results were published in Applied Sciences.

Feb 18, 2021

New metamaterials for studying the oldest light in the universe

Posted by in categories: cosmology, mapping, particle physics

The cosmic microwave background, or CMB, is the electromagnetic echo of the Big Bang, radiation that has been traveling through space and time since the very first atoms were born 380000 years after our universe began. Mapping minuscule variations in the CMB tells scientists about how our universe came to be and what it’s made of.

Feb 2, 2021

DeepMind’s AlphaFold Is Close to Solving One of Biology’s Greatest Challenges

Posted by in categories: biological, education, mapping, robotics/AI

OEC promoting STEM education in Africa.


If we know a protein’s structure, we can make educated guesses about its function. And by mapping thousands of protein structures, we can begin to decipher the biology of life.

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Feb 1, 2021

Could the world’s deep seas become China’s mining frontier?

Posted by in categories: chemistry, government, mapping

The researchers conducted a series of government-funded surveys from 2011 to 2020 and located potentially high-yield deposits of various essential industrial minerals from nickel to rare earths, according to a paper published in the Chinese-language Bulletin of Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry last week.


Chinese researchers have spent the last decade mapping the globe’s ocean floors looking for potential mineral deposits.

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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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