The last decades have been all-around informative, and satellites have provided a wealth of information in many different areas of life. Humans possess the ability to see the state of the planet very clearly thanks to Earth Observation (EO) satellites. The positives of human existence and activities, as well as the negatives, are being followed daily and recorded by giant satellites which carry state of the art sensors. Ordinary people and organisations who want to understand our planet have always sought the help of the data recorded by these satellites.

Many people do not understand satellite images. However, it should be possible to comprehend written articles and documents such as this one. Governments and industries all over the world have become more involved in Earth Observation. So, they have used, and are using, a database containing global satellite images from over 30 years to keep up on trends on the planet. While you may think that only weather scientists use satellite data for climate modelling, foresters, miners and farmers use the same data for several other purposes. We have detailed articles here which cover some of the most relevant topics on the use of satellites and their data.

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Constant surveillance has been placed on the earth’s ecosystem, thanks to environmental satellites. The images which have been collected over an extended time show many critical changes on earth. In many ways, it shows that humans need to work together to curb environmental changes. More of that we have discussed in subsequent chapters of this site.

Geologists and exploration managers are continually benefiting from satellite imagery. Mining requires more mapping than can be done during ground surveying. Professionals in this sector have delved into unexplored regions and surveyed territories which are uncharted with the help of satellite imagery and mapping. Many deformations on the structure of the earth have also been discovered via the same means. You will find more on this topic in subsequent sections of this website.

Afforestation and deforestation have also become a sensitive topic in recent years. Many of life’s issues are dependent on the forests; biomass and carbon cycle are just a few. There are still uncertainties in the amount of worldwide biomass distribution, and it just shows how much work humans still need to do.

Spectral analysis of high-resolution satellite images enables farmers to monitor vegetation developments and other features in farming. In general, farmers can study farming operations with satellite data and GIS systems. It is important to note that accurate weather forecasts are interlinked with both crop monitoring and forest monitoring.

Earth Observation (EO) Satellites

About one-third of the operational satellites orbiting the earth are for Earth Observation purposes. So, for mining operations, forestry and crop monitoring, these satellites do provide precious data. Landsat, microsats or CubeSats; each of these satellites is launched for the purposes of Earth monitoring. They all possess similar abilities and do most of the following:

  • Take optical images
  • Radar imaging
  • Hyperspectral imaging
  • Infrared imaging
  • Multispectral imaging

However, the features and sensors which each satellite carry may vary depending on other specific purposes. The timeline for the first 50 years of spaceflight is quite elaborate. Among the most notable satellite missions is the 1957 launch of both Sputnik 1 and 2 satellites by the USSR. Since then, many agencies have participated in space missions, and launches, especially after smaller and cheaper satellites surfaced. 2007 marked the 50th anniversary of the historic launch of both Sputniks. With the government using about 97% of satellite data, the military, 49% and civilian users such as individual farmers, 50%, there is going to be a need to launch more EO satellites in the future.