Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Finding aircraft in satellite imagery

An interesting study here on using satellite imagery to find aircraft. I have noticed them quite often in imagery we were using for coastal studies in Dublin bay (and therefore the approaches to Dublin airport - one of the busiest in Europe) but usually look on it as an error or 'noise' rather than the source of my study. The plane usually shows up as a superman-like blur in Red, Green and Blue due to imaging delays between the subsequent bands and the moving target (or possibly also due to elevation differences with the terrain underneath when creating the ortho).

They compare swath width and spectral resolution for Landsat and Sentinel to see which is best - I must give it a look for Dublin sometime.


  1. Another interesting use of satellite imagery but is there an example of a real-world application?

    1. A good question - i suppose one could be search and rescue for when aircraft are out of the range of ground based monitoring stations - for example planes that 'dissappear' although the temporal resolution would be an issue then - both of these are polar orbiting platforms.

  2. I wonder if the effects of Earth rotation on the geometry of the
    image is the cause of the right to left shift of blue to red.


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My name is Conor. I am a Lecturer at the Department of Geography at Maynooth University. These few lines will (hopefully) chart my progress through academia and the world of research.