Friday, March 21, 2014

Setting new frontiers in Earth monitoring : or how new satellites are going to change our lifes

This morning i was discussing small scale study area maps with a colleague of mine. Very soon the discussion drifted to high resolution images. He draw my attention to this New York times article about a start-up that is about to launch low cost satellites, to collect new images of Earth.

Unlike the satellite that we use today, it will be possible to have an image of every location on earth every day, allowing to monitor earth on a daily base.  In addition, the satellite will fly on lower elevation than the current satellites, so give us more detailed images.

Why is this so cool?
Yes i can do more accurate maps of my study sites, but I wonder if anyone is really waiting for them. But the big revolution is that this technology allows to count trees or check how rivers are changing on a daily base. It means that one can monitor for example deforestation in the Amazon daily and intervene faster if there is illegal logging takes place, or monitor floods and plan rescue in a more efficient way, or support precision agriculture in the developed world... And God knows, maybe we would have found the missing Malaysian aircraft faster?

In any case i am looking forward to see this new product on market hoping that it will be easily accessible for science in the developing world, so that we can operationalize the content of these images for the poor.

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