13 September, 2021

How is satellite imagery used?

Satellite imagery is commonly employed to monitor and measure human and natural activities on Earth. These images can cover a wide range of areas, from a single street to an entire hemisphere, using a variety of techniques to obtain the required data. 

Although satellite imagery is often associated with the term "remote sensing", this technique can also be used in other fields such as ultrasounds. The fundamental concept behind remote sensing is gathering data from a distance, which is the basic principle behind satellite imagery.

Pléiades Neo - Melbourne
Pléiades Neo 30cm satellite image of Melbourne, Australia.

Active and passive remote sensing

Remote sensing can be classified into two types: active and passive. Active remote sensing, such as Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), generates its own energy source from the sensor. The sensor emits energy beams or radio waves toward the Earth's surface, which are then reflected back to the sensor.

In contrast, passive remote sensing does not utilise an active energy source to observe or illuminate objects; it relies on natural energy sources instead. Satellite imagery processing also provides value by allowing for the extraction of insights from the data. This imagery can be used for various purposes, including creating 3D models like Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), Surface Movement Monitoring or Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), and Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) for spectral analysis.

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