Satellite imagery is used in many sectors of human activity. Environmental monitoring, precision agriculture, various types of business — this is far from the entire list of domains in which satellite data is used to analyze, control, and improve situations. This piece will find information on satellite data innovations, images, and other essential parameters for using this data.
Satellite Data Innovations
Satellite data was previously available only to researchers who had powerful computers at their disposal. Today, in combination with cloud computing, such data is available to various government agencies and other organizations to use analytical tools to improve monitoring, service delivery, diagnostics, and other procedures.
The innovations in satellite data make it not only more accurate and valuable but also more accessible. The latter factor has a strong influence on the ways and areas of use of this data. One such innovation in remote sensing is cloud masking. This technology enables us to get clear satellite imagery even in cloudy conditions. The availability and development of satellite data benefit the observation of planet changes, management, services, and making more effective decisions in various areas of human activity.
The development of the sector for obtaining and analyzing satellite data gives people the opportunity to be more informed about weather predictions and environmental impact. It helps prevent different kinds of problems before damage is done and also benefits sustainability maintenance.
Types of Satellite Imagery
The type of satellite imagery depends on the capturing method. Passive remote sensing systems detect electromagnetic radiation and collect it using special sensors. This sensing method is carried out using natural reflected or secondary thermal radiation of objects on the Earth’s surface due to solar activity. At the same time, passive systems are not versatile for different weather conditions and climates; they will not be able to take pictures in cloudy conditions.
Active remote sensing systems use their own energy source for lighting. It means that the sensor directs a radiation beam at the Earth’s surface and receives the reflected signal. Such sensors can take measurements at any time of the day and at any time of the year.
There is another crucial parameter regarding satellite imagery, and this is resolution. This parameter means the degree of detail that we get in the image.
Low & medium resolution satellite data
You can get free access to this kind of data through the Landsat. This Earth observation mission enables us to get up-to-date imagery and return to the 70s, for example, to analyze the state of glaciers. With this data, combinations of spectral ranges and indices can be identified and analyzed as they provide a wide spectral range. At the same time, these images also have drawbacks, namely, a low level of image detail.
High resolution satellite data
Unlike the lower quality of imagery, high-resolution satellite imagery gives a chance to distinguish even minor objects. That is, you can see houses or cars on them and identify them accordingly. Various providers create high-definition archives in which images from any location on the planet can be found. This data can benefit multiple areas of human activity, including precision farming, 3D city planning, modeling, forest inventories, and more. The disadvantages, in this case, include a higher price and a smaller area of land, which is covered by high-resolution images.
Today, both paid and free satellite data sources are available. Government agencies mainly provide free data. Such sources do not allow setting higher image quality parameters while providing images of not the highest resolution. On the other hand, if you are interested in different images of the same area of the planet or want to study the research related to it, the research institutes will provide them. You can get free satellite data from Landsat or Modis by NASA or Sentinel by ESA.
Commercial sources provide access to high-resolution images, but you have to pay for them accordingly. A wide range of companies provide different datasets at different prices, and you will not find two providers alike in terms of data use terms. For example, you can pay per tile or square kilometer with discounts on wholesale purchases. You can use both data archives and request up-to-date images.