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Aerial satellite images are no longer a hidden military secret or the
exclusive asset of huge organizations. Today, the advanced satellite
technology enables almost every desktop user to download and watch
bird's eye view images. From critic environmental issues to the look
of the private backyard, aerial satellite images enable free, comfortable
access to visual information from our planet.

Entire neighborhoods and property locations come to life with aerial
satellite imagery. Birdís-eye view images provide an invaluable real-life
complement to maps and property information, enabling business
professionals to view and accurately assess locations without having to
visit the sites. They can even select high-resolution satellite imagery
and aerial photography of their site or trade area.

In this fast developing market, GlobeXplorer is one of the leading
companies. GlobeXplorer images are available for more than 98
percent of the continental United States at varying resolutions, with
aerial satellite images continually updated. The vintage of major urban
area images is between one to three years. Although they are available
only as an add-on subscription option, GlobeXplorer View provides a 72
dpi images, perfect for onscreen use or copying into documents such
as PowerPoint or Word. They also add a 300 dpi image in a PDF map,
suitable for high-resolution printing.

Another important resource for aerial satellite images is EROS. The
EROS Data Center processes and stores satellite data from several
satellites. The major types are manned spacecraft photographs, taken
over limited areas of the Earth on NASA's Gemini (1965-66) and Apollo
(1968-69) Missions. Astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle, which began
flying in 1981, have taken many photographs of the Earth with hand-
held cameras. These photographs document sites of scientific interest
around the world and depict temporary phenomena such as hurricanes
and erupting volcanoes.

In 1972, the United States launched its first Earth Resources Technology
Satellite, ERTS-1, later renamed Landsat 1, for experimental global
coverage of the Earth's land masses. Landsats 2 through 5 were
launched in 1975, 1978, 1982, and 1984. Data from these satellites are
collected by sensors that measure a range of wavelengths of
electromagnetic energy reflected or emitted from the Earth. The data are
transmitted to Earth, where they are processed by computers and stored
on magnetic tape. Landsats 1-5 carried versions of a sensor called the
multispectral scanner (MSS), which collected data simultaneously from
four broad bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, from visible green
through near-infrared wavelengths.

Landsats 4 and 5 pass from north to south over the Equator at an altitude
of 705 kilometers (438 miles) each day at about 10 a.m., and their orbits
repeat coverage of the Earth, allowing the detection of change. Cloud
cover and the need to transmit data directly to ground stations affect
the amount of acceptable continuous repeat coverage.

The advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) is one of several
sensors aboard meteorological satellites operated by the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration. AVHRR data are collected in the visible,
near-infrared, and thermal-infrared portions of the electromagnetic
spectrum at a resolution of 1.1 km(about 0.68 miles). Two satellites each
make 14 passes over the Earth in a 24-hour period, one locally in the
morning and one in the afternoon. Thus, data are collected more frequently
than Landsat data, but with much coarser resolution and for much larger

The EROS Data Center has been processing 1 km-resolution data from the
AVHRR system since 1987 and using them for such applications as drought
monitoring, fire fuel assessment, and land surface characterization. The
use of these data for land management complements the traditional use of
4- and 16-km resolution AVHRR data for weather studies. Some AVHRR
data are available on CD-ROM.

Undoubtedly, the Aerial satellite imaging field will continue its fast
development, providing more and more resources, higher resolutions and
excellent quality.

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