CSEOL QUICK LINKS: New users’ guides to satellite data
Last updated on 08/04/2019
The ESA data pages are bit of a candy store for anyone interested in Earth Observation – but to newcomers it can be hard to know what you need. To get your started, we’ve put together a few QUICK LINKS to simple guides for new users.
Quick description of the guide
Satellite images are like maps: they are full of useful and interesting information, provided you have a key. They can show us how much a city has changed, how well our crops are growing, where a fire is burning, or when a storm is coming. To unlock the rich information in a satellite image, you need to:
- Look for a scale
- Look for patterns, shapes, and textures
- Define the colors (including shadows)
- Find north
- Consider your prior knowledge
But the mission goes beyond data gathering from one satellite. Ten other spacecraft from U.S. agencies and other countries all carry an instrument similar to one of the two aboard the Core Observatory. In different orbits, together their precipitation data shows where precipitation is falling across the globe. Now, with GPM and the partner satellite data made public on Sept. 2, the pieces are coming together to begin producing a full multi-satellite network of rain data into a single global map updated every 30 minutes.
The aim of this guide is to help non-experts in providing a starting point in the decision process for selecting an appropriate Earth Observation (EO) solution. EO is defined as the process of acquiring observations of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere via remote sensing instruments. The acquired data is usually in the form of digital imagery. Earth’s surface can be observed from different platforms, each presenting its own advantages and limitations. Aerial platforms, for instance, generally provide the best resolutions and are very adjustable to the users’ needs, but the high cost of chartering a plane and paying the related manpower (pilots and technicians) restricts its use. Drones, also called Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), are a fast-growing technology that tackles this cost problem, but regulations and their low carrying capacity currently limits their range of activity. On the other hand, satellites allow for reliable, true global coverage even above the most remote locations enabling regular repeat observations.
Note: The Pléiades constellation is composed of two very-high-resolution optical Earth-imaging satellites. Pléiades-HR 1A and Pléiades-HR 1B provide the coverage of Earth’s surface with a repeat cycle of 26 days. Designed as a dual civil/military system, Pléiades will meet the space imagery requirements of European defence as well as civil and commercial needs. Provides 0.5m high resolution satellite image data.
The Pléiades twins are very high-resolution satellites delivering 50-cm Ortho products as a standard. SPOT 6 and 7 are designed to extend SPOT 5’s success to the 1.5 m product family. Phased on the same orbit, the constellation will enjoy unprecedented reactivity, with same-day revisit capacity anywhere on the Earth. Multiple tasking plans per day result in an unrivalled optimization of data collection: unforeseen weather changes, as well as last-minute requests, can be taken into account for a first-class level of service.