This month, we look at the global collection of commercial optical and radar imagery collected by satellite image suppliers during the last year in order to pick out interesting patterns and insights. The available catalogues of these images are scanned and harvested multiple times per day by Geocento’s web application EarthImages, so that they can be discovered and ordered through the platform. Imagery is shown from: 21AT, Airbus, DigitalGlobe, Imagesat International, McDonald Dettwiler Associates, Planet, S I Imaging, ST Electronics and Urthecast / Deimos. It should be noted that we do not show every source of commercial imagery in this map. Planetscope imagery is absent for example because it is so dominant in terms of volume, as is radar imagery from Cosmo-Skymed which is a joint commercial-military mission.
The following map shows the distribution of commercial image collection in 2017 (click on the map for a high resolution version).
In general, we see persistent coverage from year to year in relation to the following:
• Distribution of population, in general involving more image collection along coasts and in cities.
• The distribution of economic activity, including oil fields (e.g. Gulf of Mexico and Caspian Sea) and shipping routes (e.g. east of India).
• Areas of particular hazards, such as icebergs (east of Canada) and volcanos (Hawaii).
• Areas of security concern and ongoing conflict, including North Korea and North Iraq.
Each year, new hotspots appear such as:
• Responses to man-made and natural disasters, including in 2017, Chubut (Argentina) put into a state of emergency after torrential rainfall and mudslides, the South India typhoon and hurricanes in the Caribbean.
• Security flare-ups. Eastern Ukraine remains a hotspot, but less so than last year.
We are grateful to our suppliers for making their imagery discoverable through EarthImages. Any comments and thoughts on this blog would be very welcome, do get in touch!