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Sources of image data

Dr. Norman Kerle

INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR GEO-INFORMATION SCIENCE AND EARTH OBSERVATION

Lecture overview:
How do I go about getting data?
Different data types = different data sources
Global vs. regional vs. local
Free vs. paid data
Data providers

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How do I go about getting data?


Sequence of steps
Identify data type needed (depends on questions
asked; e.g. images, maps, GIS, etc.)
Date of (image data) acquisition (archived,
current, future [custom acquisition])
Number of datasets/images needed
Identify possible cost, check budget
Identify relevant source and search for
appropriate data (pay attention to data suitability
and quality [stereo, cloud cover])
Order data
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Is it that easy?
No, it is not
As mentioned in the lecture on spatial data,
search catalogues are fragmented, and often use
different standards
It is relatively easy (though not always cheap) to
obtain data for routine application, such as
vegetation mapping
Its is harder to get data for specific (research)
questions, for work on small, specific areas far
away from main satellite receiving stations, and
generally for countries with an underdeveloped
SDI

Lets look at some of the issues in turn


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Identify data type needed (depends on questions


asked; e.g. images, maps, GIS, etc.)
Identification of suitable data is, of course, reliant on
your understanding of both the problem at hand, as well
as geoinformation science
You have to understand fully what information you
require to answer given questions, what data source
can provide it, and how you can extract it from raw data,
and also how to combine that information with other
data sources
Realise that vast amounts of data exist in archives and
are captured by different sensors every day; at the
same time we have to deal with an increasing number
of data (and sensor) types
Your understanding of the scientific and technical
issues also allows you to decide the (I) Date of
acquisition and (II) Number of datasets in question
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Identify possible cost


Some spatial data can be obtained for free, others
are very expensive
The overall cost depends on several aspects:
Data type and extent of study area
Number of datasets (e.g. need for repeat datasets)
Need for raw or processed (value-added) data
Availability of reference data (e.g. existing GIS
databases)
Need for use of commercial image data (Landsat,
Ikonos, Quickbird, etc.)
Need for rapid custom image acquisition
Need for ground crews for collection of additional
information

Need for outside special resources (experts,


databases, etc.)
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Identify relevant source and search for appropriate


data
The multitude of available catalogues makes this
difficult
Different data types tend to be distributed by different
sources
Some issues:
Catalogues for raw or processed image data vs.
sources for thematic information based on
geoinformatics (e.g. disaster databases)
Global vs. regional vs. local data
Sensor type: satellite vs. airborne vs. ground-based
Raw image data vs. thematic data (e.g. vegetation
indices)
Raster data (images) vs. vector data
Specific data types, such as LIDAR or DEMs
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Free data
There are many free datasets available
Rule-of-thumb is that cost goes up with increasing
spatial resolution of image data, and with detail of
auxiliary datasets (maps, GIS layers)
Government-owned sensors are more likely to
provide free (or cheap) data
Cost tends to go down with age of the data
Also try governmental agencies in your country for
data
Educational facilities sometimes get access to free
data (e.g. ASTER)
Lets look at some sources of free data (though keep
in mind that the list is not complete)
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Global datasets
(1) Digital Chart of the World

ESRI dataset (http://www.esri.com/data/catalog/esri/esri_dcw.html)


Worldwide basemap of coastlines, international boundaries, cities,
airports, elevations, roads, railroads, water features, cultural
landmarks, etc.
1.7 GB on 4 CD
Was developed in 1991/1992, and national boundaries reflect
political reality as of that time,
outdated
DCW Thematic Layers (1:1,000,000-scale maps):
Political/Oceans (country boundaries)
Populated Places (urbanized areas and points)
Roads
Railroads
Aeronautical (airports)
Transportation Structures
Utilities (electrical, telephone, pipelines)
Cultural Landmarks
Ocean Features
Drainage (inland water)
Supplemental Drainage
Hypsography (contour lines and elevation zones)
Supplemental Hypsography
Land Cover
Physiography (land forms)
Vegetation (US only)
Data Quality

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Global datasets
Digital Chart of the World data are also available from different
online-sites, e.g. Penn State University
http://www.maproom.psu.edu/dcw/

Allows you so select a country and the thematic layers you


require, and to download them ready for import into ArcInfo
or ArcView
For example, all files for Uganda come in a .zip file of about
1.2 MB

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This will allow you to download GIS data in


ARC/INFO and ARCVIEW formats.
This will allow you to view layers as GIF files,
and to copy these images to your hard drive.
This will allow you to download a file
containing a list of lat/long points for the
outline of Uganda.

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File size: 1.2 Mb

DCW data for Uganda


free and immediately
available

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Global datasets
(2) Global 1km AVHRR project

A network of 29 receiving stations collects daily data


Production of global 10-day maximum normalized
difference vegetation index (NDVI) composites since
1992
For more information see
http://edcdaac.usgs.gov/1KM/paper.html
Example for North America

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Global datasets
(3) GTOPO30

Global digital elevation model (DEM) with a horizontal grid


spacing of 30 arc seconds (appr. 1 kilometer)
Dateset is subdivided into tiles, and can be downloaded
from the LP DAAD site
(http://edcdaac.usgs.gov/gtopo30/gtopo30.html)
However, the 1 km resolution makes its utility very limited

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Better: Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM)

Created near-global DEM (ca. 80% of


landmass) with 30 m resolution (90 m for all
users), with extensive potential for disaster
management
processing of the data is ongoing
see http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/srtm/

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A comprehensive 128-page PDF-tutorial on SRTM


processing has been developed by ITC
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SRTM of Eastern Africa

http://seamless.usgs.gov/

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Africover

Developed to aid sustainable use of resources


Free vector data by country
Get full data and metadata
Visualise & download
Fosters and supports the development of SDIs
Developed a software suite to find and work with the data
(GeoVIS, AIM (for some image analysis), Dynamic Atlas,
etc.)
http://www.africover.org/index.htm
You have to register, and that registration has to be
approved (can take some time)
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Africover
Many data immediately and freely available, some on
demand

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Africover
Get the software tools for free too
http://www.africover.org/software_down.htm

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- Dynamic Maps

Check http://www.dynamicplanet.com/Support/DP_Downloads.html
for more
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- Africa Atlas

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Free satellite data


(1) AVHRR Advanced Very High Resolution
Radiometer

Polar orbiter, flying at an elevation of 833 km


Ground Field of View (GFOV) between 1.1 km (nadir) and 4.4.
km (see http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/seg/globsys/avhrr.shtml)
Excellent for vegetation studies at regional scale
Free if downloaded via FTP, either through NOAA SAA (active
archive) at www.saa.noaa.gov, or the Earth Observing System
Data Gateway at
http://edcimswww.cr.usgs.gov/pub/imswelcome/
For the EOS DG you can register for free, and also use the
site to access ASTER data (more on that later)

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Free satellite data


AVHRR Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer
Search at http://www.class.noaa.gov/ by choosing date and
location

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Free satellite data


AVHRR Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer
Results can be shown on map, and the images
downloaded
Easy to import into ERDAS Imagine or ENVI

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Example AVHRR image

The Netherlands, 8 June 2000, 14:35

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Free satellite data


(2) ASTER - Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission
and Reflection Radiometer

Flying on board of TERRA since 1999


Excellent 15-channel data
Free for educational use!
Description at http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/
Best place to get data is the Earth Observing System Data
Gateway (you also get many other data types there)
ASTER data can also be used to create digital elevation
models (vertical accuracy of approximately 25 meters, under
some circumstances 11 meters)
On how to so that, see
www.pcigeomatics.com/support/quickguide/
How_To_ASTER_DEM.pdf

Data access:http://edcimswww.cr.usgs.gov/pub/imswelcome/
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Results

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You can also request a sample image

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Download previews

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You can also check on GLOVIS: http://glovis.usgs.gov/

But best order through the EOS


data gateway
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Also look for available Landsat data

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Free satellite data


(3) MODIS - Moderate Resolution Imaging
Spectroradiometer

Flying on board of TERRA and AQUA


36 channels, acquiring data in different spatial resolutions
(250, 500 and 1000 m) excellent for synoptic/regional studies
(2330 km)
Description at http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov
Best place to get data is also the Earth Observing System Data
Gateway, also for free!
Produce a whole suite of standard products, also related to
vegetation mapping (see http://modis-land.gsfc.nasa.gov/)

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Free satellite data


(4) Older Landsat TM data

Provided by the Global Landcover Facility


(http://glcf.umiacs.umd.edu/index.shtml)

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Download for free

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SPOT Vegetation
SPOT - Satellite Pour l'Observation de la Terre

Launched in March 1998, altitude of 820 km


Wide swath of 2200 km, and resolution of 1.165 km
Observes the entire Earth every day
Has an additional band to the standard MS sensor (0.43 to
0.47m) http://www.spot-vegetation.com/

Among other
products, annual
vegetation cycles
can be monitored
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SPOT Vegetation
SPOT - Satellite Pour l'Observation de la Terre
Free SPOT Vegetation products can be obtained from
http://free.vgt.vito.be/
However, these are archived data that are at least 3
months old
More recent data are available directly from SPOT

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Geographynetwork
ESRI site that allows access to substantial datasets
http://www.geographynetwork.com/

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Geographynetwork
Gives access to data from the National GeospatialIntelligence Agency, when you do a data search

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Other sources

There are many more sources of data, though the prices tend to be
high. Also note that prices vary greatly depending on the provider and
the location. You should always compare offers from different
sources.

(1)

Governmental satellites:

Landsat series used to be very expensive (>4,000$ per scene for


TM1-5), now ca. 1,500$ for TM and 600$ for ETM+ scene

ENVISAT e.g. ASAR (900$), MERIS (700$), ERS-2 (900$)

Indian IRS-1C/1D PAN (650$), LISS III (350$)

Japanese JERS-1 1,000$ (operational from 1992 1998)

RADARSAT ca. 2,200$

(2)

Private satellites:

IKONOS prices differ between 7 and 256$/km2 , with a minimum of


often several hundred km2

Quickbird ca. 25$/km2 (64 km2 minimum for standard image)

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Interested in good overview data?

Try Google Earth


Cant download data
BUT: excellent 3D visualisation
Good for education, awareness raising, preparation for
field trips
http://earth.google.com
NOTE: need a fast connection

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Interested in good overview data?

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Interested in good overview data?

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Commercial data providers


(1)

EUIMAGE (http://www.eurimage.com/)

(2) CARTERRA/ Space Imaging


(http://www.spaceimaging.com/;
http://carterraonline.spaceimaging.com/cgibin/Carterra/phtml/login.phtml
(3) EUROMAP (http://www.euromap.de), especially
for IRS data
(4) SPOT SIRIUS Catalogue
(http://sirius.spotimage.fr/)
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In Summary
There are many sources for geo-data
Many datasets are free of charge, others are very
expensive
For many applications and research questions, different
datasets can be used, and much money can be saved by
choosing the cheapest option
If your application does not require the most current data,
check for cheaper archived data
Check with other governmental agencies or organisation
you have contacts with for already available data
Look into options to get discounts (e.g. for educational
use, as PI for data validation, etc.)
The overview presented here is not exhaustive, there
many more sources of geodata
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