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Eyes in the Sky
Part 2: Watching the world turn...

Buy satellite photos of your neighborhood....Recieve satellite images on your own dish antenna...Display and analyze them on your PC...Watch realtime satellite imagery via the web...

Click for larger version of this spectacular earthlights image

We continue here with more remote sensing links and info.

The first sections deal with receiving satellite imagery on your own radio receiving station. You don't have to own a ham radio license to monitor broadcasts, just the proper receiver and antenna.

Also, many government weather and research services now provide their data free over the internet. So you can track hurricanes, for example, in real time.

Build a sat station for yourself, school, or space club. Weather satellites that you can pickup include low orbiting, low resolution birds to geostationary, high resolution ones.

More remote sensing resources are given plus a section providing examples of remote sensing applications.

Satellite Imaging at Home & School
HobbySpace Radio
See our space radio pages for more information on receiving data from satellites.

3D Landsat Satellite Imaging and Secrets for Obtaining and Enhancing Free Satellite Pictures with Your Computer
Super site for the space imaging hobbyist created by Mike Brown :

" This site provides information on obtaining free or low cost Landsat, GOES, and Space Shuttle images. Also included are links to free satellite image processing software. Tip sheets will show you how to create 3D perspective views of Landsat images and how to colorize GOES weather satellite imagery.

"In the past, satellite imaging was the exclusive domain of professionals working for government or university organizations. Thanks to advances in desktop computing and the wide spread availability of the Internet, satellite imaging can now be enjoyed by an enthusiast in the comfort of one's home.

"Images from earth resource satellites, weather satellites, and the Space Shuttle in a variety of resolutions are all easy to obtain via the Internet. This site will show you where to obtain such imagery, and teach you a few techniques for image processing satellite images." - Mike Brown's Satellite Imagery website.

Capture weather satellite images in real-time with your satellite receiver and PC. Can obtain images form NOAA, GOES, and Meteosat weather satellites.

Two MultiFAX demodulators are available for an expansion slot or externally via the parallel port. Extensive software package includes satellite tracking, image capture, image enhancements, etc. MultiFAX also sells a receiver.

Remote Imaging Group
This British group

"...caters for everyone interested in remote imaging from satellites. The group which has a membership of nearly 2,500 spread across 45 countries, is keen to assist new members and provide an ongoing service to our existing membership, which includes both professional and amateur interests..."

Beginners section provides lots of info on setting up your own receiving station. Also, info on equipment.

More Sites

Realtime Weather & Remote Sensing
Satellite Real-Time Images Online  
NASA Wind Movies
Quicktime movies for different regions of the earth are available using data from the Quickscat satellite.

NASA-Interactive Global Infrared Weather Map
See half hour updates of.a global composite image from the infrared channels of four weather satellites in Geosynchronous orbit.

NASA-KSC Weather Center
Kennedy Space Center has this weather center with daily updates of satellite photos and videos of Florida area weather.
SatelliteUSMap KSCRadar RadarCompositeUSMap

NRL - Monterey
The Navel Research Laboratory's meteorological division in Monterey, California provides this site with lots of weather and remote sensing information. Check out , for example, the

Jenifer Clark's Gulfstream provides detailed weather and water temperature plots from satellite data that help the ships avoid eddies and find the fast currents to speed their travels in the Atlantic and Caribbean seas.
Satellites Guide Sailors to Bermuda - Space.com - June.20.00.

Met Office:
This UK based company offers European and world wide real time weather forecasting, maps, and weather and climate images .

It also provides a lot of nice background info such as this section on space based weather resources and on satellites.

METEOSAT at Univ. Nottingham
This group at the University of Nottingham presents the latest images downloaded from the European METEOSAT Weather Satellite

SeaWifs Biosphere Globes
See the latest multi-spectral images of the earths oceans taken by the SeaWiFS imager on Orbview 2).

RIVER and LAKE - ESA - Near real-time water level maps

The European Envisat spacecraft provides a range of remote sensing services including measurements of water levels around the world. See also the Envisat Live gallery for other near real-time environmental imagery.

Hurricane Tracking Software - Tracking The Eye
This shareware program from HurricaneSoftware.com allows you to track hurricanes in real time using data and satellite imagery downloaded from weather databases on the web. Lots of options, graphics and animation features.
More Weather Resources

Remote Sensing Resources
Comparison of Remote Sensing Satellites
This graph compares the resolution vs the swath (width of image area)
for the various remote sensing satellites in operations.
Astronet: Weather Satellites
presents this nice page of links to weather sat web sites. See also the pages on Meteorology, weather forecasts, climate andWeather Forecasts .

This NASA funded project provides students with control of a camera on the shuttle in orbit. The goal is to integrate satellite imaging into the teaching of Earth Science. Headed by Sally Ride.

Mississippi Space Commerce Initiative
A collaboration of NASA Stennis Center and several companies and universities to develop remote sensing technology and applications. Several useful pages including links to RS companies.
NASM Center for Earth and Planetary Studies
The National Air & Space Museum supports this center that uses remote sensing techniques to study both the earth and other planets. For a tutorials, galleries and othe resources see the Outreach section.
Explore the ocean basins with satellite altimeter data provided by MGG (Marine Geology & Geophysics).

Open Source Remote Sensing Effort
Large but friendly site..

"...dedicated to making remote sensing algorithms, code, and technology available to all interested parties. Resources are provided to facilitate communication and development of open source tools. It is hoped that this effort will attract participation from companies, students, professors, and agencies that are involved in remote sensing efforts."

Lots of resource sections.

Visualization of Remote Sensing Data (NASA)
These projects attempt to make remote sensing data more informative and useful to non-experts in particular. See examples of Images Movies QuicktimeVR Projects BlueMarble

Sea and Sky
Very beautiful and elaborate site dedicated to the exploration of the oceans and of space. Sea Sky

A company that provides software to do processing of remote sensing images to develop their full information potential.

Spot Image
The first private commercial remote sensing satellite company. It provides primarily images from the French SPOT satellites.

Surrey Satellite - Remote Sensing
SSTL is a spinoff company from the Univ. of Surrey group that has been a leader in the development of small satellites. Here the company shows photos from their low-cost imaging satellite.

Tromsø Satellite Station
This site from Northern Norway provides images from RadarSat and other remote sensing satellites.

Forest Fire Monitoring
Satellite observations now help to monitor and contain forest fires


Educational Sites
More RS sites

Radar Satellite Imaging

Satellite Radar imaging has become an increasingly important remote sensing tool. While the resolution is not as fine as for visible light images, radar can penetrate clouds and works at night as well as it does in the sunlight.

Snowy, icy areas such as antarctica appear as mostly a white blur in visible light imagers but show vivid detail in radar images. See Icy Continent Mapped from Space with RADARSAT - Goddard Spaceflight Center.

NASA/JPL Imaging Radar
Satellite Radar imaging has become an increasingly important remote sensing tool. While the resolution is not as fine as for visible light images, radar can penetrate clouds and works at night as well as it does in the sunlight. See the Using RADAR Data - Science and Applications page for information on this exciting RS technique.

For image databases, check out the Picture Gallery and Clickable Map of the World.

The SIR-C/X-SAR Images gallery is divided into several categories such as Ecology & Agriculture.
The RADARSAT-1 satellite is owned and operated by the Canadian Space Agency and it license the distribution of its images to a private commercial company. However, NASA launched the satellite and works closely with the CSA in the analysis of the imagary.
More Resources

Geographic Information Systems - GIS

GIS is a relatively new field that combines the many types of remote sensing data with the many types of conventional ground based information into one big multi-dimensional database. One can then create plots and maps illustrating interesting and often unexpected correlations among the various parameters.

For example, one could use such a database to relate housing density (obtained from a satellite image) versus median salary levels (obtained from census data.) Or versus toxic release sites (from environmental agencies).

Such analysis is becoming a very popular tool for many applications ranging from demographics to city planning to placement of cellular phone towers to environmental monitoring.


Remote Sensing Applications
While these are not hobbies, they provide interesting illustrations of the capabilities of satellite remote sensing.

Animal Tracking
Animal researchers and environmentalists have always needed to track creatures in the wild to investigate their behaviour and range of activities. While hiking boots and binoculars are still required tools, so now are satellites when it comes to tracking animals over long remote distances and over long periods.

Remote Sensing & Archaeology

Lost cities, roads, and other ancient constructions that were invisible from the ground have been found to "stand out" when seen from the perspective of space. Furthermore, sensors such as radar can penetrate jungle foilage or sand and also scan large areas very effectively.

Satellite Remote Sensing and Archaeology
Martin J. F. Fowler offers this very nice site with lots of information and links about using RS for archeology. Resources section (links to software and other tools) and a discussion area included.
Remote Sensing Archaeology Research at NASA
A NASA site dedicated to the use of remote sensing for archaeology.

Law Enforcement / Legal Applications

The applications of remote sensing in law enforcement, forensic, and other legal areas are growing. These can range from spotting ships at sea illegally fishing or dumping pollutants to settling real estate disputes.

Visual Forensics
This company uses d satellite terrain data to create a computer simulations for courtroom use. For example, they provided simulations to support the pilot in the case of the US Marine plane that accidentally cut the cables to a gondola in Italy, resulting in the deaths of 20 people.


Precision Farming
Farmers can now combine remote sensing data, e.g. images that indicate the water content of the soil and plants, and GPS positioning information (also from satellites, of course) to tailor their plowing, fertilizing, planting, irrigation, pest control, etc. down to the square meter.
Taking Aim
The Precision Agriculture Center at the University of Minnesota describes the techniques of precision farming. Precision Farming combines GPS and remote sensing data to tailor planting, irrigation, fertilization, etc. to particular areas within individual fields.


Remote Sensing of Seismic Activity
It might seem seem strange to go to space to predict earthquakes but, in fact, satelllite sensing may provide vital clues to detecting precursors to seismic activity. Radar and GPS systems can since movements of the earth to centimeter accuracy and thus signal slight shifts of tectonic plates that may occur before quakes. There are indications that low frequency electromagnetic radiation may be emitted from ground structures under stresses that precede a quake. Satellites may have already detected such radiation and new projects are underway to test the theories.

Other Remote Sensing Applications


The Art of C. Sergent Lindsey










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