A Belgian satellite is mapping the Earth's vegetation
Each day, 200,000 people are born on Earth. By 2060, the world population will have reached 10 billion! This rapid growth is putting our planet under extreme pressure. Optimal use of natural resources is therefore essential and satellite data can help to achieve this. PROBA-V, a miniature satellite run by ESA (European Space Agency) is providing the necessary data for monitoring the vegetation on the entire Earth, enabling forecasts to be made about its evolution. This data has a spatial resolution of 1 km, 300 m and even 100 m.
PROBA-V was designed and constructed by a Belgian consortium at the initiative of the Belgian Federal Science Office (BELSPO) and ESA as the successor to the SPOT4/5 VEGETATION missions. These satellites had been monitoring the vegetation on Earth since 1998 without a single day’s interruption. Launched in May 2013, PROBA-V has been hard at work for the past three years to continue this valuable uninterrupted sequence.
The blue, red, near infrared and short-wavelength infrared spectral bands of the sensor help us to distinguish between the different types of ground cover and plant species, including agricultural crops. This enables us to track the day-to-day status of vegetation, and inform the authorities if there is a risk of crop failure, as well as monitoring the gradual spread of desertification.
BELSPO and ESA have entrusted the real-time operations of PROBA-V to the Remote Sensing Unit of the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO). Their operational image processing centre provides the processing, archiving and distribution of all PROBA-V-image products.
This world map of the Earth’s vegetation is a synthesis of 30 daily PROBA-V recordings during the month of June 2015, based on the blue, red and near infrared spectral bands, and gives an indication across the entire globe of the degree of vegetation. The seafloor is based on bathymetric data from NASA.
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