Archive

Posts Tagged ‘European Union’

Sentinel-1A Satellite: Transforming the analysis of earthquake data

September 8, 2014 1 comment

We’ve previously written about the launch and progress of the Sentinal-1A satellite, part of the European Union’s Copernicus earth observation project. Although still being commissioned and not yet in full production mode, the satellite recently provided radar imagery from Northern California captured before and after the Napa Valley earthquake on 24 August.

Using a technique known as ‘Synthetic aperture radar interferometry’, two images of the same area were compared to identify areas of significant change. Changes to the ground surface modify the reflected radar signal detected by the satellite, and those modified signals can be plotted as an ‘interferogram’ (Source: Radar vision maps Napa Valley earthquake.) The result is both colourful and striking; the fault responsible for the 6.0 earthquake was confirmed as the West Napa Fault, and both the scale and the extent of the surface rupture was immediately apparent.

Napa Valley Quake interferogram

Napa Valley Quaket: © Copernicus data (2014)/ESA/PPO.labs/Norut/COMET-SEOM Insarap study

Imagery like these examples captured for the Napa Valley quake looks set to transform how scientists and data analysts map and respond to earthquakes. With the launch of second Sentinel satellite (1B) in 2016, the imagery update cycle will be reduced from 12 to 6 days. The timely and open publication of high resolution data to support activities on the ground and post quake analysis after each event, should provide unprecedented monitoring of the Earth’s surface.

 

First Copernicus satellite launched – data to be made public

April 7, 2014 4 comments

Last week the European Union (EU) announced the launch of the Sentinel-1A satellite, as part of the first of six missions that will provide the framework for the Copernicus Earth Observation project. Copernicus, formerly known as GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security), aims to collect data from a variety of sources, including satellite, airborne sensors and ground stations, to support a range of applications including:

  1. Monitoring sea ice zones and the Arctic environment

  2. Assimilation of sea ice observations in the forecasting systems

  3. Surveillance of marine environment, including oil-spill monitoring and ship detection for maritime security

  4. Monitoring land surface motion risks

  5. Mapping of land surfaces: forest, water and soil, sustainable agriculture

  6. Mapping in support of humanitarian aid in crisis situations

  7. Climate monitoring

(source: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-251_en.htm)

A second satellite, Sentinel-1B, will be launched next year. Once the system is fully operational, the aim is to provide almost daily coverage for high priority areas like Europe, Canada and some shipping routes. The radar capabilities on-board the satellite mean that data can be collected independent of weather conditions, day or night.

Sentinel-1 radar vision

Sentinel-1 radar vision

Image source: http://bit.ly/1el9g6M

All of the data products collected by the Sentinel satellites are to be made publicly available as open data, free of charge, to all data users. This also includes the use of the data for commercial purposes. The Sentinel-1A satellite is expected to be operational within three months.