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CEOS EO HANDBOOK – MEASUREMENTS
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Multi-purpose imagery (land)


The spatial information that can be derived from satellite imagery is of value in a wide range of applications, particularly when combined with spectral information from multiple wavebands of a sensor. Satellite Earth observation is of particular value where conventional data collection techniques are difficult, such as in areas of inaccessible terrain, providing cost and time savings in data acquisition – particularly over large areas. At regional and global scales, low resolution instruments with wide coverage capability and imaging sensors on geostationary satellites are routinely exploited for their ability to provide global data on land cover and vegetation.
Detailed MeasurementDescription*InstrumentsTimeline
Active Fire Detection-1 instrument
Fire areaFraction of fire occurring in an area - Physical unit: [ % ] - Accuracy unit: [ % ].32 instruments
Glacier topographyRelates to glacier thickness typically found in mid to high latitudes with a volume/area coverage much smaller than an ice-sheet. [Unit of measurement - cm]6 instruments
Land surface imageryLevel-1 product (not a geophysical parameter). High-resolution imagery covering wavelengths in the range 0.4-1 µm (cloud-affected) or 1-10 GHz (SAR, all-weather) - Accuracy expressed as Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) at the Nyquist spatial wavelength (twice the resolution). Actually [ MTF-1 ] is used, so that smaller figures correspond to better performance, as usual.121 instruments
Surface Coherent Change DetectionTechniques that exploit the changes between two or several radar images of the same scene, in conditions where there is measurable coherence between at least a fraction of a pair of images, to detect subtle differences in the surface condition that can be related to sub-wavelength motions, surface properties changes or sub-pixel disturbances.4 instruments
* Description adapted from WMO.
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