World’s Highest Resolution Commercial Satellite Captures First Image


Launched on September 6th,  the world’s highest resolution commercial remote sensing satellite, GeoEye-1 , released its first image today. GeoEye-1 can acquire black-and-white imagery in panchromatic mode* at a 0.41-meter ground resolution and color imagery in the multi-spectral mode* at a 1.65-meter ground resolution. That’s close enough to zoom in on the home plate of a baseball diamond, noted Mark Brender, GeoEye’s vice president of communications and marketing. GeoEye-1 will provide very high resolution imagery to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), but others only will be able to obtain imagery that is processed to half a meter [19.7 inches] ground resolution because of U.S. government restrictions.

According to Brian X. Chen (WIRED Science, 10/8/08), Google has an exclusive relationship with GeoEye, “meaning the search-engine giant will be the only online mapping site using the satellite’s photos.”

* “Panchromatic” = a single wide band in the visible part of the spectrum;  “multi-spectral” = the green, red, and infra-red bands of the electromagnetic spectrum; “pansharpening” = a suite of techniques used to fuse/merge panchromatic and multi-spectral imagery to increase the spatial resolution of the multi-spectral images (color), while simultaneously preserving the spectral information contained within the multispectral images.


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