Satellite imagery became available to the public after NASA launched their first Landsat mission. Over the subsequent years, more than 100 satellites have been sent into space for various reasons. Data provided by satellites have become a reliable and significant source of information for this generation. In this article, we will talk about what you should know about satellite imagery.
What is satellite imaging?
Satellite imaging or remote sensing is the process of scanning the earth’s surface using high-flying objects like satellites, Drone Videos, and aircraft to get information about it. There are lots of satellites orbiting the earth. Each has its own purpose. Also, satellites have different kinds of sensors that pick up electromagnetic radiation reflected by objects on the earth’s surface. Satellites with active sensors emit their EM radiation and analyse the reflected waves. However, this requires a significant amount of energy.
Nevertheless, this is advantageous because the satellites can be used at any time or season. Satellites with passive sensors, on the other hand, need to be used in conjunction with the radiation emitted by the sun. Even though they require less energy, they can be used only when there is radiation from the sun.
Where to access satellite images?
Nowadays, everyone can access the latest free satellite images, but you need to know where to look. Here are some free web services to obtain updated and historical satellite images:
USGS EarthExplorer. This website has the longest record for collecting and storing free satellite images. They are among the leaders for providing remote sensing data, and their interface is user-friendly.
LandViewer. This is a free-to-use GIS database that also has a user-friendly interface. It gives you access to some of the most widely used high-resolution satellite images for free. This is one of the best sources of satellite images for new users and veterans.
Copernicus Open Access Hub
Previously known as the “Sentinels Scientific Data Hub,” this open access portal can provide you with all the sentinel data you need.
NASA Earthdata Search. This site provides you with lots of different collections of NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information (EOSDIS) data. It has lots of data that is useful to scientists or researchers. However, it is not the best source for newbies.
Remote Pixel. This is the only site where you can get satellite images without logging in or creating an account. It is an indie project created by one person and provides fast and simple services.
Now, let’s check out some of the most common and mind-blowing areas where satellite imagery can be used:
Top satellite imagery use cases
Satellites show that the oceans and seas still have lots of fish. They monitor the temperature of the sea surface and the colours of the ocean, which can be indicative of specific species of fish. Local fishers can use this data to pinpoint the location of fish, thereby saving fuel and other resources.
Space archaeological research
Since satellites are used to monitor the earth’s surface, they can also be used by archaeologists to find undiscovered artefacts and even buried civilisations.
Catching tax evader
Tax revenue agencies all around the world have started using satellites to catch tax evaders. This usually includes the use of GIS technologies for property and other types of taxes collection.
Responding to refugees and human rights crisis
There are still lots of areas where human rights are heavily violated. Remote sensing can give a detailed report of places where people are deprived of basic human rights. Also, acts like massive killings and wars can be seen on satellite imaging.
Satellite imaging and remote sensing can provide detailed information and predict the weather, soil, and crop conditions. Using this information, farmers and local governments can predict the yields from farms and take necessary actions to prevent famine.
Track urban population growth
Urban planners can use data from satellite images to monitor population growth. This can be done by tracking the development of new houses, farmers, and other properties.
Exploring and protecting the Arctic
There are lots of mineral deposits in the arctic, and different countries are racing to monopolise these natural resources. Some parts of the arctic are inaccessible, but images from satellites can provide us with their characteristics. It is also less strenuous to monitor the arctic from satellites than manually sending a team of scientists. Arctic images from satellites can also act as guides for those who are exploring.
Satellite imaging has endless applications and has become vital in making decisions for the development of human society. It helps us to be aware of our surroundings without much effort and cost.