Virtual Bali

Tue, Dec 11, 2007


I am on vacation (sort of) this week. But I did manage to get up early this morning to participate in the UN’s climate change negotiations currently underway in Bali, Indonesia via the Virtual Bali initiative from, the civil society portal in Second Life (also see the Guardian Unlimited). Dr. Walden Bello executive director of Focus on the Global South was being interviewed by Daniel Nelson (picture above) and taking questions from Second Life.

Daniel Nelson, is streamed live from Bali onto OneClimate island each day, from 12.30pm GMT, in conversation with conference goers about the progress being made.

There is a another important opportunity for Second Life residents to participate in the United Nations Climate Change event in Bali today.

Congressman Edward Markey will be in Second Life.

Congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, has decided to use Virtual Bali, on Second Life, for his speech to the UN Conference instead of spending the carbon to fly there. You can meet him and hear his presentation on the OneClimate island this Tuesday at 8pm EST, 5pm PST and 1.0 am in the UK. Or you can watch it on the web.

The National Physical Laboratory unveils the new interactive model of the remarkable TRUTHS satellite in Second Life


The new interactive model of the TRUTHS satellite was scheduled to be unveiled in Second Life to an audience at the United Nations Climate Change meeting in Bali. Unfortunately a technical hitch prevented the streaming. But, I was lucky enough to attend in Second Life as the UK National Physical Laboratory Science Fellow, Dr Nigel Fox, spoke and took questions from the Second Life audience. TRUTHS is a vital step forward for an operating system for planet earth.

TRUTHS is a concept designed at NPL, the UK national measurement institute, to help improve the accuracy and traceability of Earth Observation data used in Climate Models to predict Climate Change, and has wide support in the international science community.

The proposed Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial- and Helio-Studies (TRUTHS) mission is unique in establishing high accuracy SI traceable data in-flight – a “calibration laboratory in space”. It also offers a novel approach to the provision of key scientific data with unprecedented radiometric accuracy for Earth Observation (EO) and solar studies, which will also establish well-calibrated reference targets/standards to support other Earth Observation missions.

Recently the need for such a mission has been specifically highlighted by the United Nations GCOS (Global Climate Observing System) and WMO GSICS (Global Satellite Inter-Calibration System) committees, culminating in the call for a specific mission by the, US Academy of sciences called CLARREO (Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory) of which TRUTHS is the likely component to meet the solar spectral domain

TRUTHS will be the first satellite mission to calibrate its EO instrumentation directly to SI in orbit, overcoming the usual uncertainties associated with drifts of sensor gain and spectral shape by using an electrical rather than an optical standard as the basis of its calibration. The range of instruments flown as part of the payload will also provide accurate input data to improve atmospheric radiative transfer codes by anchoring boundary conditions, through simultaneous measurements of aerosols, particulates and radiances at various heights. Therefore, TRUTHS will significantly improve the performance and accuracy of EO missions with broad global or operational aims, as well as more dedicated missions.

TRUTHS in Second Life

TRUTHS is being exhibited in the SciLands, at the International Spaceflight Museum and with additional information at NASA CoLab. The UK’S National Physical Laboratory is represented in Second Life by Davee Commerce, Minna Runo, Nigel Comet, and Bing Villiers. You can IM them for more information.

Davee Commerce, NPL, (a.k.a. Dave Taylor in “real” life) demonstrated the fascinating new interactive model to me. I will do a longer write up in another post. This is one of the most impressive Scientific instruments to be modeled in Second Life.


The TRUTHS satellite contains two sets of instruments:

1/ to measure the Sun – total radiation arriving at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere, and spectrally resolved

2/ to measure the Earth – reflected sunlight viewed through the Earth’s atmosphere

The animations [in Second Life} show these instruments in operation. However, the principle objective of this animation is to illustrate the novel in-flight calibration concept of TRUTHS which allow an improvement in accuracy of a factor of ten over other similar sensors.

Will real data from TRUTHS be integrated into Second Life?


It was very exciting to hear Dr Nigel Fox present in Second Life. I asked him if he foresaw real data from TRUTHS ultimately being integrated into Second Life. He responded:

It may even be we take it a stage beyond that as a concept. If you think of Google Earth where people are viewing Google Earth and looking in their own back yard or their garden to see if they can see their image from the satellite data. It is perfectly possible with the TRUTHS concept that people, viewers within Second Life, could actually control the satellite and take the data themselves and put it into models, see how the whole thing works, and actually control the satellite. I could imagine having a virtual earth and satellite where we can actually show and control the thing from within the Second Life environment so scientists from around the world can use it to determine what data they want, where from, and when within the Second Life environment.


Dr. Nigel Fox also has a Podcast on Earth Observation and Climate Change on:

Here is a short bio of Dr. Nigel Fox taken from the notecard announcing the Second Life event:

Dr. Nigel Fox joined NPL from University College London in 1981 and since that time has been engaged in the establishment and dissemination of primary optical radiation measurement scales. The instrumentation and methodologies resulting from his developments and technical leadership have led to nearly two orders of magnitude reduction in uncertainty in many of these scales and their adoption worldwide throughout the metrological community. More recently he has expanded his interests to include the specific needs of the Earth Observation and associated climate change community. This has led to further international recognition within this specific sector where he represents the UK and the international metrology community as a whole in a number of key committees. Nigel has published more than 100 papers and filed two patents.

categories: Augmented Reality, crossing digital divides, digital public space, Metaverse, Mixed Reality, Virtual Citizenship, Virtual Worlds, Web 2.0, Web 3D, Web3.D, World 2.0

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  1. The Grid Live Says:

    Second Life News for December 11, 2007…

    From: Second Life colleges Quote from the site – Syracuse-area colleges are creating branch campuses in Second Life, a virtual world where members meet, shop, travel and interact through their avatars.
    From: G4 ‘Second Life’ Sp…

  2. The Grid Live » Second Life News for December 11, 2007 Says:

    [...] UgoTrade Virtual Bali Quote from the site – I am on vacation (sort of) this week. But I did manage to get up early this [...]

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