Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Is your House Safe?

Many buildings have collapsed in Nigeria in the past months  and many lives lost.

* Do not use substandard building material.

*Ensure you use correct mix ratio.

*When you build, ensure you use qualified professionals.

*Remember it's your duty to stay safe.

* Save our Environment!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Lagos State Government To Seal Houses that Displays Clothes Outside Indiscriminately

The state Commissioner for Environment, Mr Tunji Bello yesterday after the monthly sanitation exercise said, the State Government will seal up any building where residents display their clothes outside indiscriminately.
According to him, spreading of washed clothes on fences, frontage of buildings and bridge railings have become the norm in some parts of the state and the practice constitutes a nuisance to the environment. Tough actions would be taken against erring persons. Houses where compound residents also hang their clothes outside will be sealed, Mr Bello concluded.
LAWMA officials have also been directed to pack those clothes as refuse wherever they see them.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Fundamentals of GPS Part 1

What exactly is GPS?
By now, most of us have come into contact with some form of GPS. They are in our cars, sometimes on the dashboard and sometimes in the glove compartment; they are in our smartphones and even being attached to children. Oh, the humanity! We have various GPS devices used for precise or approximate positioning.

GPS, or the Global Positioning System, is a satellite navigation system that provides positioning and clock time to the terrestrial user.The system consists of more than just satellites. While the satellites make up the space segment, the system also includes a control segment that monitors and maintains the satellites, as well as the user segment that gets to have all the fun.

When most people think of GPS, they think of the United States NAVSTAR (NAVigational System Time And Ranging) constellation. However, although GPS was the brainchild of the U.S. Department of Defense, other space-based satellite positioning systems are in existence or are slated for development, most notably the GLONASS system created by the former Soviet Union and the Galileo system recently approved for funding by the European Union.

Where, when, how and why
The U.S. Department of Defense created NAVSTAR to work optimally with a constellation of 24 satellites.NAVSTAR was declared fully functional on April 27, 1995 with a constellation of 24 Block II and Block IIA satellites. Unofficially, NAVSTAR became fully operational December 8, 1993 with a mix of Block II, IIA and the original concept validation Block I satellites; 28 Block II, IIA and IIR satellites are currently in orbit and operational.

Each of the 28 NAVSTAR Space Vehicles (SVs) is equipped with two channels: L1 and L2.The L1 channel produces a Carrier Phase signal at 1575.42 MHz as well as a C/A and P(Y) code - all this jargon is explained below. The L2 channel produces a Carrier Phase signal of 1227.6 MHz , but only P(Y) Code. Currently, there are plans in progress to implement an additional civilian code on the L2 band as well as the creation of a brand new L5, but that is for another article.

Carrier Phase: GPS uses microwaves, and just like all light and radio waves, each signal has a unique frequency and wavelength. Although these waves do a great job of penetrating the atmosphere, they are still not capable of cooking a burrito from orbit.

C/A and the P(Y) Code: Binary data that is modulated or "superimposed" on the carrier signal is referred to as Code.
Two main forms of code are used with NAVSTAR GPS: C/A or Coarse/Acquisition Code (also known as the civilian code), is modulated and repeated on the L1 wave every millisecond; the P-Code, or Precise Code, is modulated on both the L1 and L2 waves and is repeated every seven days.

How Code Works
While the GPS receiver is listening to the satellites, it is also downloading information about the satellites' orbit and trajectory. An almanac is transmitted every 12.5 minutes and contains approximate orbits for the constellation, as well as atmospheric modeling. The ephemeris is transmitted every 30 seconds and contains shorter, more precise trajectory data for a given satellite.

Philosophy and Math
Each satellite produces a unique code sequence of ones and zeroes.By matching the time difference of the code generated by the satellite's atomic clock and the user's clock (not so atomic), the GPS receiver is able to match the code and calculate a time difference. Based on the calculated time difference and known value of the speed of light, the distance between the SV and the receiver can be determined (speed of light multiplied by time.) Because of the clocks' discrepancy, the slowing of light through the atmosphere and slight inaccuracy of the transmitted almanac, we call this distance a pseudorange.

The receiver position can then be calculated by intersecting distances from multiple satellites. Three satellites are required to determine a 2-dimensional position and four or more are necessary for 3D.

Interesting huh? Watch out for Fundamentals of GPS Part 2

Thursday, 25 July 2013

NAGIS Staffs Receives Training on ICT, Survey and Mapping

Partners in the implementing Nasarawa Development Platform (NDP), an initiation of the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development, have commenced the training of staffs recruited to man the state’s computerized lands administration system called Nasarawa Geographic Information Systems (NAGIS), at the newly commissioned complex of the project in Mararaba.
Siraj Consulting Engineers, Aeroprecisa, and GIS Transport, partners in the totality of the 24-month period project to execute Geographic Information System (GIS), and Digital Aerial Mapping (DAM), all expected to turn Nasarawa into a twin city to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is providing the training as part of the essentials needed to commence services at the newly commissioned complex.
 The complex, projected to take 100 staffs – both professional and non-professional alike – by the time the partners complete the recruitment exercise in the next one year, came to life on June 30 after Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura and former FCT minister, Mallam Nasir el’Rufai commissioned it to become the second after the FCTA’s computerized lands administration system called AGIS.
But NAGIS complex, a replica of AGIS was described by el’Rufai, who pioneered this system in the country as far surpassing the latter in terms of facilities and scope which include GIS, DAM and cities planning, just as Surveyor General of the Federation, Nigeria (SGOF), Professor Peter Nwilo and members of the Surveyors Council of Nigeria (SUCON) ranked Nasarawa State top among the 36 states and the FCT in the implementation of lands reforms to conform with world best practices through the NDP initiative of the implementing partners.
The staffing of the complex commenced with the compulsory training exercise as part of the induction needed to give the staffs the basic preparation for their start.
Roland Klaus, General Manager of GIS Transport told Daily Trust that eight staffs, making up the first batch of recruits at the complex have been trained in basic ICT, survey and digitizing map making and reading as well as administration.
“Regardless of their posting, our staffs have to undergo basic training in all these areas for them to man the complex”, said Mr. Klaus, who also said the staffs were sent on field training in environment, data capturing and proper street maps, said.
The curricular for the training was prepared by Esna Swart of Aeroprecisa, while the training was handled by consultants in various fields including Roland Klaus, Heiko Howey, Ibrahim Khoury and Tiffany Okewole of GIS Transport, and Vincent Onwumere, a surveyor with Aeroprecisa, and the Project Manager, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibril, who is also a Senior Special Assistant to the governor.
As Reported by Dailytrust

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Say Cheese: The Earth and the Moon Pictured from Saturn

Nasa has released photos of the Earth and Moon taken by a spacecraft orbiting Saturn - nearly a billion miles away.

Our planet and its only satellite appear only as dots in the picture, which was taken by the Cassini spacecraft on 19 July.

Scientists wanted to pay homage to the "Pale Blue Dot" image captured by the Voyager 1 probe in 1990.

This was the first time people knew in advance that their long distance picture was being taken.

As part of the event launched by Nasa, people were asked to wave in what Carolyn Porco, who leads Cassini's camera team, described as an "interplanetary cosmic photo session".

"It thrills me no end that people all over the world took a break from their normal activities to go outside and celebrate the interplanetary salute between robot and maker that these images represent," said Dr Porco, from the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

The wide-angle image is part of a larger mosaic - or multi-image portrait - that imaging scientists are putting together of the entire Saturn system.

Pictures of Earth from the outer Solar System are rare because, from that distance, Earth is very close to the bright Sun.

Just as a person can damage their retina by looking directly at the Sun, a camera's sensitive detectors can be damaged by the bright rays.

These images were taken when the sun had moved behind the planet Saturn from the spacecraft's point of view, blocking out most of the light.

Earthquake hits China's Gansu Province

Two powerful earthquakes have struck China's north-west Gansu province, killing at least 75 people and leaving more than 400 others injured.

The first earthquake near Dingxi city had a magnitude of 5.98 and was shallow, with a depth of just 9.8 km (6 miles), the US Geological Survey said.

Just over an hour later, a magnitude 5.6 quake hit the same area, it added.

In 2008, an earthquake in Sichuan province left up to 90,000 people dead and millions homeless.
The area has been hit by 371 aftershocks, according to the Earthquake Administration of Gansu province.

Tremors were felt in the provincial capital, Lanzhou, and as far away as Xian, 400km (250 miles) to the east.

At least 5,600 houses in the province's Zhangxian county are seriously damaged and 380 have collapsed, while some areas suffered from power cuts or mobile communications being disrupted, the earthquake administration added.

"Many have been injured by collapsed houses," a doctor based in Minxian county was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying. "Many villagers have gone to local hospitals along the roads."

The earthquake has caused a direct economic loss of 198 million yuan ($32m; £21m), the Dingxi government said on its microblog.

Source:.BBC news

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

India successfully Begins Regional Navigation Satellite System Project by Launching IRNSS 1-A

A decade ago, Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) were starting to explore the possibility of having an Indian alternative to the GPS system, at least at a regional scale. A dream and a vision by the world’s largest democracy to have its own satellite navigation system is now taking shape in the form of ” The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) 
The first satellite of the 7 satellite constellation, IRNSS 1A has been launched successfully from Sathish Dawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. It was a perfect launch during the midnight of July 1st! IRNSS 1-A is officially India’s first dedicated Navigation Satellite! ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV – 22 successful placed IRNSS 1-A in its orbit, the launch vehicle was previously used for launching Chandrayaan -1 (India’s Moon Mission). 

Lighting-up a low Carbon Future for Nigeria

The lights are going on all over Africa, home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Overall, that is great news. Children can study at night without breathing harmful or environmentally damaging kerosene fumes; the sense of security in poor communities, where people live in fear when night falls, is hugely increased; productivity for businesses improves as they can stay open later; and commonplace fires, caused by fallen candles or spilt fuels, become rare.
However, unless energy efficient lighting is adopted, carbon emissions from an expected increase in electricity consumption of between 60-70 per cent by 2030 could lead to disastrous effects on efforts to fight climate change globally.
Few actions could reduce carbon emissions as inexpensively and easily as the phase-out of inefficient lighting and making sure that any new lighting uses environmentally sustainable technology.
West Africa has become the latest region to drive efforts to promote energy efficient lighting. A complete transition in that area could produce annual energy savings of 2.4 terawatt hours, approximately 6.75 per cent of total electricity consumption. The savings would be enough to supply the total annual electricity needs of at least 1.2 million households. Continue reading after cut

Cooking Smoke: Nigeria’s silent killer

The Energy Commission of Nigeria and the International Centre for Energy, Environment & Development have entered into a strategic partnership aimed at reducing the rising mortality associated with smoke from firewood.
Both organisations hope to build capacity in the country to provide scientific testing of stoves.  A Memoranda of Understanding signed by the organisation would see to the establishment of the National Clean Cookstoves Development and Testing Laboratory at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The collaboration according to a statement issued by ICEED would assist in the development of technical standards for stoves manufactured or imported into Nigeria; provision of testing and certification services related to stove technical quality, indoor air pollution, and energy efficiency; assist stove developers in improving skills for local stove design and construction methods.
Other aims include conducting research and development in collaboration with Nigerian and international research institutes and laboratories; establishment and strengthen linkages between the laboratory and the stove industry; maintaining appropriate liaison with relevant regulatory and statutory agencies; support capacity building of other national research and development institutions in stove design and production and to serve as a national demonstration centre for clean cooking technologies.
Written by Alex Abutu
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