Various products derived from ALOS are expected to contribute widely to the advancement of science as well as to application fields such as natural resource management, disaster monitoring and damage mitigation, and regional development and planning. The ALOS science program seeks to promote both "scientific" and"application" researches. Application researches are expected to provide data products and algorithmic products for near-term practical uses. The ALOS science program sets research development targets for ALOS data utilization and its algorithm development for data products.
Greenhouse gas emissions can be clearly recognized as a global problem. However, global environment problems also have natural resource problem aspects, such as food supply.
A global food crisis may not occur suddenly. Instead, sneaking shortage and resulting price rise of major crops may apply pressures to relatively vulnerable areas, which may slowly lead to instability in global food trade systems worldwide. For instance, the current civil wars in Africa are fundamentally related to long-term poverty due to land resource degradation and water resource deficiencies. Moreover, devastation from the wars causes additional problems such as large numbers of refugees. These land and water resource problem may lead to instability of the world political system and , therefore, cause difficulties to individual countries worldwide.
To alleviate and eventually solve these problems, it is necessary to continuously obtain local information on land, water, and vegetation resources at global scale. Ecosystem preservation and genetic resource protection are also influential subjects, which also require a steady flow of local data acquired globally. So far, it is widely believed that low-resolution data is enough for global problems. In fact, high-resolution data, which is useful for local area, should be acquired globally to cope with the problem. Moreover, this is now becoming technically possible.
2) Think Globally and Act Locally: Establishing Global
Environment Measures Corresponding to Local Needs.
Consequently, it is necessary to obtain local data to conduct policy globally. In particular, policy issues such as preservation of land and water resources, stabilization of food production by sustainable use of land and water resources, disaster risk mitigation, and various species' preservation by ecosystem conservation should be addressed on a regional basis. Therefore regional data that covers the globe and reflects local needs is necessary to develop realizable policies balancing global viewpoints and regional needs.
3) Popularization of GIS (Geographic Information
Popularization of GIS also means that ordinary users can have powerful data processing capability. If it becomes easy to obtain data together with necessary software and input parameters as well through the network, not a small part of the data processing can be conducted by users, which will greatly contribute to reducing processing load of the primary data distributors. High level processing software can be distributed over the net as well, to promote efficient and effective use of the data.
4) ALOS Mission Concept
Information on current status and changes of environmental resources such as soil, water, and vegetation (from forest to farmland) are the basis in analyzing these issues. Though quality of soil may not be easy to acquire by remote sensing, risk of soil degradation caused by erosion is governed by climatic and topographical factors. Regarding water circulation and vegetation, climatic and topographical factors are dominant as well. It is also the case with disaster risks. Of course, information on how people use land (land use Information) is indispensable. Although the climate data may be excluded just because it cannot be directly observed from satellite, it could be concluded that topographic information would be the core part of the common information basis.
Figure 1 illustrates the percentage cover of topographic maps by major regions. It can be found that the percentage cover of 1:1000 to 1:31,600 topographic maps is very low in developing areas such as Africa and Asia. As a matter of fact, topographic maps of this range of scales, mainly 1:25,000 maps are essential for environment conservation planning, resource management and development planning from regional to national scales. They also play central roles in formulating ODA for developing countries. So far, only "temporal" solutions have been explored to meet the information demand. Individual projects might generate a very minimum amount of data for their own purposes or could not help using out-of-dated paper maps might be used. In some cases, satellite imagery might be used as an insufficient substitute. On the other hands, topographic information equivalent to 1:25000 maps can be acquired by satellite observation very efficiently over the continents.
With these backgrounds, mission concept of ALOS (Advanced Land
Observation Satellite) was defined as below.
(1) Generate topographic data as SDI (Spatial Data
Infrastructure) at the global scale.
(2) Support "sustainable" development at local to
regional scale through monitoring global environmental
(3) Monitor major disasters at the global scale.
(4) Exploration of non-renewable resources
(5) Technological development for the future earth
Images and text courtesy of JAXA.
Related (Key) Documentation