The Foundation gave awards in 2007 with a total of $1,000

Measuring the lengths of the world’s longest rivers/span>
Category: Use of space technology to maintain the Earth as an Oasis
Institution: Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, Chinese Academy of Sciences

People throughout the world depend upon rivers and their tributaries for food, water, transport, and many other aspects of their daily lives. However, they are limited by inadequate scales and/or incomplete topographic maps. Even today, accurate and reliable lengths of the principal rivers have not been obtained. The length for one river is very different in various magazines, textbooks and encyclopedias etc. For example, the Nile in Africa is reported to be anywhere from 5,499 km to 6,695 km with a maximum difference of 1,196 km. And the Amazon in South America from 6,275 km to 7,025 km with a maximum difference of 750 km. These significant inconsistencies can be found in other great rivers. It is impossible to distinguish which is correct. Therefore, recalculation of the lengths with high accuracy using modern technologies is highly desirable.

A combination of satellite remote sensing images with field explorations to the river source regions was undertaken in this project. The top ten longest rivers on the Earth, the Nile, Amazon, Yangtze, Mississippi, Yenisey, Yellow, Ob, Congo, Amur and Mekong, were investigated since the project was launched in 1999. The results may represent the most accurate and reliable lengths for the great rivers that are currently achievable. The other 15 great rivers on five inhabited continents will also be investigated in the second phase of this project. It is expected to be completed in 2009. By the completion of this project, the results will be disseminated thorough geographic journals, magazines, newspapers and television program etc. Human knowledge about the Earth will be enriched greatly.

This work was also supported by China High -Tech Research and Development Project, the Special Funds of Director General of Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Funds of State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Sciences of China and State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing of China.

Maldives Whale Shark Research
Category: Use of space technology to maintain the Earth as an Oasis
Institution: Independent

There is a huge challenge in monitoring the movement of animals across the world’s oceans and understanding how their migration patterns and general movements are ordered. However, this data is vital to an understanding of life in the Earth’s oceans, which cover 75% of our planet.

This project was a showcase study of the use of satellite technology. It was focused on enhancing global understanding of whale shark (Rhincodon typus) demographics and migratory/ philopatric behaviour, with reference to the Republic of Maldives subpopulation and particular detail to satellite tracking as an aid to studying migration patterns

The project participants attached satellite tracking units to whale sharks in the Maldives. Data will be gathered by satellite (Argos satellite) each time the whale sharks surface.

The Argos system consists of additional data acquisition and relay equipment attached to the NOAA low-orbiting weather satellites, along with ground-based receivers and data processing systems. The satellite equipment will record the transmissions from our satellite tags and later download these data back to earth.