Earth Observation with Satellites

The satellite view of our earth

Forests are being cut down, cities are expanding, the countryside is changing its features. People drastically affect Earth's ecosystem. Down on the ground, such changes and their consequences are sometimes hard to recognize. But satellites can give us the larger picture because of their higher vantage point. With the help of their extremely sensitive instruments they can see much more than we can with our eyes. Satellites make an irreplacable contribution toward altering us to dangers threatening the earth's surface and the atmosphere.

What kind of important information can satellites give us? How do we analyze their images, and how can we get hold of them? How can they be used to make a properly scaled map, like those needed for road construction, landscaping, or finding one's location out in the open countryside? You can find good answers to these and many other questions as remote sensing researchers at DLR_School_Lab Oberpfaffenhofen!

It's possible with the new satellite reception equipment at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen. It's used to receive image data from the U.S. "IKONOS" satellite. When in operation it is possible to obtain a splendid image recorded out in space of the earth far below. The image shows objects down to a meter in size; you can even see individual people! DLR, the European Space Imaging (EUSI) company, and the Gesellschaft für Angewandte Fernerkundung (GAF) cooperate in developing, operating and utilizing this new technology.

But what good is accurate observation without interpretation?

How can temperature on the ground or on the surface of water be measured with the help of satellite data? How can the vitality and growth of crops like wheat or maize be monitored? How can we go about visualizing changes occuring over time on the ground and in the atmosphere? We'll have a look at images from all kinds of sensors and investigate how they can be used, and also have a look at some of the technical principles behind image processing!

Further information

URL for this article
Links zu diesem Artikel
Texte zu diesem Artikel
Wer möchte einen eigenen Globus mit Satellitendaten der Erde bauen? (
Downloads zu diesem Artikel
Experiment description Earth Observation with Satellites (