BOX 2-1

Examples of Remote Sensing Platforms

Meteosat is a European, geostationary, earth observation satellite positioned to cover Europe and Africa. It uses both visible and infrared wavelengths to display weather-oriented imaging of the planet. Meteosat is one of several geostationary satellites positioned around the equator to cover the Earth’s surface. Meteosat is operated by the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), formerly an entity of the European Space Agency.


Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) is a radiation detection imager used by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to remotely determine cloud cover and the temperature of land, water, and sea surfaces with global daily coverage at approximately 1 km spatial resolution. These polar-orbiting series of satellites provide regional and global data useful for tracking forest fires and hurricanes. The data have also been used to determine land cover based on phenological variations in vegetation.


Systeme Pour l’Observation de la Terre (SPOT) is a remote sensing system integrating a series of optical remote sensing satellites to provide Earth imagery at resolutions from 2.5 to 20 m for commercial use in various fields including land use planning, agriculture, forestry, geology, and water resources. The SPOT-VEG-ETATION sensor provides daily coverage at 1 km resolution. SPOT satellites are operated by the French Space Agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales.


Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) is an imaging spectrometer satellite that primarily measures sea color in oceans and coastal areas via solar radiation reflected by the Earth. Ocean color data provide information about the ocean carbon cycle and thermal regimes of the upper ocean. This information is useful for scientific investigations as well as management of fisheries and management of coastal zones. MERIS is funded by the European Space Agency.

been used to examine detailed environments from space. Satellite data collected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Observation System provide daily imagery of coarser spatial resolution, which is nevertheless useful for understanding seasonal events associated with agriculture and the transmission of many diseases. Such data reveal large- or small-scale patches of environmental similarity (spatial clusters of similar climate, soil, or topography are labelled “eco-



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