Earth Observation from Space

  • Mathias Lemmens
Part of the Geotechnologies and the Environment book series (GEOTECH, volume 5)


Permanent observation of the Earth from space started in the early 1970s. It is a method of collecting synoptic imagery of (nearly) the whole globe. During the first 20 years the emphasis was on development of the technology and strategic applications in a strong national context. In the late 1980s, a process of change of mindset started and Earth observation from space gradually moved away from governmental umbrellas to commercialisation and privatisation. Since the turn of the millennium many Earth observation satellites equipped with advanced imaging sensors have been launched. Satellite images with high spatial resolution provide an up-to-date and cost-effective means of producing image maps, derived topographic maps and cadastral maps for all areas of the world. The ability to extract from 5-m to 50-cm imagery a wide variety of topographic data and to locate features at an absolute accuracy of up to 1 m or even better provides an unprecedented opportunity for the cost-effective production of accurate maps of areas ranging from small cities to entire countries.


Satellite Imagery Synthetic Aperture Radar Swath Width Panchromatic Image Advance Land Observe Satellite 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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