The High-Resolution Arctic; The Ubiquity of Sub-Meter Imagery in American Science

Friday, 19 December 2014: 5:00 PM
Paul J Morin, Polar Geospatial Center, St Paul, MN, United States
There has been significant progress in the access and use of sub-meter commercial imagery and derived high-level products for use in US federally funded Arctic science. All imagery from six DigitalGlobe satellites has been licensed by the US Federal Government including everything collected in the Arctic.

In the past year, a number of new capabilities have become available. The restriction of the minimum civilian resolution of 50cm has been reduced to 25cm. A sixth satellite, WorldView-3, is scheduled for launch in August 2014. Automated production of 2m posting Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) has been developed and is part of the Polar Geospatial Center (PGC) workflow. In fact, 2m posting DEMs are considered an “on-demand” product at PGC and are available almost anywhere at the poles.

The PGC has developed automated procedures to produce a number of standardized high-value products. This includes imagery that is orthorectified using best available DEMs, mosaics of this imagery for large geographic areas, and 2m posting DEMs for key areas in Alaska, Siberia and Greenland.

The volume of the imagery collection and data flow from the satellites illustrates a number of questions that will follow us for the foreseeable future: e.g., How does the science community take advantage of petabytes of unprocessed imagery? Which products should be delivered? How much accuracy and precision is enough for first processing pass?