Category Archives: techadvisory

The spatial password

A secret spot – a potential password? Hardly anyone knows about this 5 meter high rock face in the forests outside Trondheim.

Remembering passwords takes focus and time. I want to authenticate myself without having to write in a meanlingless stream of characters. I am on a weekly basis nagged by different systems to change my paswords.

We already have several biometrically based authentications metods. Fingerprints, iris scans, selfies, hand geometry and what have you. More are probably more to come. The jury is out on several of the metods. I will leave this to the experts.

Being a geographer my favourite authentication metod will rely on spatially referenced secrets buried deep inside my mind. I want to propose a novel metod for authentication. I want to use a map to navigate to a place which has a special meaning for me. It would basically work like this:

  1. I am stating my username (written)
  2. The system then asks me to authenticate my user status by asking me for one or several geographical position.

The position could be the answer to questions like these:

  • Where did you find your wallet when you lost it in 2012?
  • Where was your father born?
  • What is your favourite place to pick blueberries?
  • Where is the secret rockface outside Trondheim?
  • Where did you spend the night the 17th of november 1995?
  • and so on…

My answer would be made not by entering a string of characters. I would answer the question by panning and zooming a map to the  particular place. My answer would be to place a pin somewhere.

The method could be strengthening by asking for a combination of several places, or by varying the required precision in my answer. The answer (coordinates backoffice) would then be used to establish a string which again is the authentication variable (password).

Here are some combinations of the screen based password:

  • One position
  • Several positions
  • User traces a path

Real position combinations

  • Actual position represents the password
  • transport between several position srepresents the password
  • A track based on movements represents the password

The method will of course have it’s weaknesses. But it could work. And if someone already made this – then please send me a link!

An other variation of this method could be physical location or relocation in a given pattern. This would of course require a positional system which can not be spoofed, but where the position and its reporting is possible to confirm.

Uganda QGIS and remote sensing workshop

qgisThis week I had the privilege of coordinating a workshop on QGIS and remote sensing in Kampala, Uganda. Our trainers were Thomas Ballatore and Shane Bradt. We were very pleased with their walkthroughs and presentations of crucial software and plugins. The training is part of the Norwegian Oil for Development Program.

The focus was of course QGIS. But to be hones BEAM Visat was a real eye-opener. Yes, I have been introduced to the software while working in an expert group on satellite imagery. We earlier this year concluded a report for the Norwegian Space Centre where BEAM Visat was mentioned as one of several crucial components for handling remote sensing data. But – the workshop provided an applied context which gave me a whole new perspective to both software and methods.

Continue reading

Converting shapefiles to Mission Planner .poly-files

15-9-plannedMission Planner by Michael Oborne is an impressive piece of software. It is used to program the open-source APM autopilot. The autopilot is used to control planes, copters and rovers. I have used Mission Planner a lot and I can not do without.

Some years ago I started making a map for the Mindland island in the archipelago of Norway using a GPS, OpenStreetMap and Bing aerial imagery. The main driver for this project was to document old place names. With the drones becoming somewhat of a hobby last year I thought it would be nice to also establish a proper open license ortophoto for the island. Mission planner has what it takes to approach such a task in a structured manner, save for one thing. The polygon tool only imports .poly-files.

When working with maps some of us tend to stick with shapefiles or geodatabases. I have made a small script which allows for the conversion of a shapefile with a geographic coordinate system (wgs84) to as many .poly files as there are objects in the shapefile. Adding the functionality to Mission Planner has been indicated as possible, but has yet to materialise. So until then the script associated with this posting remains relevant. Continue reading

Processing Sentinel 2 satellite imagery in Norway

ANB-11-05_frontpage_shadowThe second report on “Preparations for acquisition and application of optical satellite data for Norway Digital” (Gjertsen et al) written for the Norwegian Space Agency has now been published.

This report is a continuation of the work presented in the report “Preparations for acquisition and application of optical satellite data for Norway Digital” (Trollvik et al., 2012). The main goal has been to specify the requirements for a national satellite data centre for optical satellite data from the Sentinel-2 and Landsat series Earth observation satellites. The main objective of a national satellite data centre is to facilitate easy access to and use of Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8 data for Norwegian users. Continue reading

QDGC shapefiles available for national and continental scale distribution

Aqdgc_logo new set of the Quarter Degree Grid Cell shapefiles has been generated. The update is global and delivers an error fix for the country level files as well as a new product – continent level files.

The QDGC shapefiles contain center lon/lat coordinates and the QDGC string for the different squares. The files are offered down to level four. For a country around the equator level four covers around 45 square kilometers with length and height a little under seven kilometres.

Read more about the use of QDGC on this page:

The calculations/export  this time took around 60 hours computer pricessing time including generation of world fishnet with the different sizes, square area calculations, assigning QDGC strings, compression and more. Continue reading

Rekreasjonsorientert bruk av droner – 2

Quadcopter etter en litt hard landing.

Arm på quadkopter etter en litt for hard landing

OBS: Artikkelen nedenfor er nå et par år gammel. Nye lover og forskrifte han ha blitt vedtatt. Teknologien beveger seg også videre.I en tidligere posting beskrev jeg om de juridiske rammene som omfatter privat bruk av et quadkopter (drone). I denne postingen vil jeg se litt på erfaringer gjort etter om lag 20 flyvninger med et quadcopter på en avsidesliggende gård på Mindland – en øy på Helgelandskysten.

Jeg vil belyse to av de viktigste forholdene rundt utprøvingen av quadcopteret. Det er riktig å starte med sikkerhet. Deretter vil jeg se på tekniske forhold rundt denne utprøvingen.
Continue reading