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Land Cover, Use and Change Detection Mapping

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Land cover is the material that covers the Earth's surface, such as vegetation and water. Satellites can be used to monitor how this land cover is being used and detect changes to the land over time.

 

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Thematic Results

Billions of image pixels recorded by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission have been used to generate a high-resolution map of land-cover dynamics across Earth's landmasses. This map also depicts the month of the peak of vegetation and gives new insight into land productivity.

A new processing tool has been developed to bundle information contained in large amounts of satellite data, paving the way for the wealth of Copernicus Sentinel satellite data to be more easily incorporated into online environment-monitoring services.

With the pair of Sentinel-2 satellites now in orbit, users are looking ahead to mapping global land cover at 10 m resolution.

The Sentinel-1 satellites have shown that the Millennium Tower skyscraper in the centre of San Francisco is sinking by a few centimetres a year. Studying the city is helping scientists to improve the monitoring of urban ground movements, particularly for subsidence hotspots in Europe.

For a low-lying, densely populated country like the Netherlands, monitoring subsidence is critical. Until recently, tiny displacements in the ground beneath our feet couldn't be mapped nationally but, thanks to the Sentinel-1 mission, this is now possible.

While the growing volume of information from satellites observing Earth offers a unique opportunity for science and applications, it is sometimes difficult to make sure these complex data streams are exploited to their full potential. ESA is addressing this challenge with 'Thematic Exploitation Platforms'.

Yesterday evening members of the international Earth observation industry came together at the ddb Forum in Berlin, for the 2015 Copernicus Masters Awards Ceremony.

With the new Earth observation satellites carrying a range of technologies such as radar and multispectral imaging instruments for land, ocean and atmospheric monitoring, data are available for the next 20-30 years. However, this means little unless there are capable people handling them.

Conservation organisations and space agencies are being called on to join forces to decide how changes in biodiversity can be monitored globally. What, exactly, should be measured by satellites?

In this study the team show the usefulness of InSAR for examining surface deformation due to groundwater withdrawal and recharge in Phoenix, Arizona. Multi-track ascending and descending ERS SAR datasets from 1992-1996 and Envisat ASAR, 2003-2010 are combined to obtain vertical and horizontal (east-west) displacement time series components.

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