Earth Observation

Earth Observation (EO) can be defined as the gathering, and interpreting, of information about the planet’s resources and behaviour using a variety of airborne and satellite remote sensing techniques.

Earth Observation technically began in the 19th Century when Gaspard-Felix Tournachon took photographs of Paris from his balloon in 1858; and Alfred Nobel designed a system to take aerial photographs from a rocket. Sadly, Nobel died four months before his design took the first photographs in April 1897.

Developments in computing in the mid-20th century gave birth to satellite based EO; with the launch of Explorer VII in 1959, which was designed to measure the amount of heat reflected by the earth, and in 1960 when the TIROS 1 weather satellite was sent up to produce daily cloud formations. In 1972 the Earth Resources Technology Satellite was launched, which was the first real mapping satellite; over the last forty years a variety of satellites have been launched by international space agencies and commercial organisations.

As the number of satellites have increased, so has the technology; enabling different sensors to be in orbit, improved frequency of data collected on each place on earth, greater availability of spectral bands and enhanced spatial resolution. This means that there is a richness of EO numerical data and satellite imagery available today, which can help with managing natural resources, monitoring water and land developments and supporting disasters. Some of this data is freely available, whilst for others you need to pay a fee.

Pixalytics can help you understand which data is available, where to find it, what much you need to pay and crucially how to correctly and accurately interpret the data, to provide you with the answers you need. We can also help you develop in-situ sensors and mathematical models to verify the quality, and accuracy, of the information.