Satellite Exercise, Range of Scales

Satellite Spartial Resolution Time series Temporal Resolution at Equator Web site Things to see
GOES 500 m (and larger) Current 5 minutes
Pick GOES East
Pick GeoColor
Pick Animation loop
  • Note sunrise move across the globe
  • Note that the two poles have different lighting
  • Different bands at night (no reflected sunlight, so move to emitted TIR
MODIS on Aqua, Terra
250 m (and larger) 2000-present, MODIS
2015-present, VIIRS
1-2 days (gaps in daily coverage at equator)

Pick one of the true color base layers
Pick preview
Note what you can see with 10 km pixels
Return to main screen, and pick the nightime lights
Return to main screen, and choose a subset, and pick the resolution as 250 m (the best with this satellite)
Note you can overlay boundaries and coastlines

  • Note the daily orbital strips (west side probably not completed yet)
  • Pick previous day; note changes in the clouds, and the gaps at the equator have shifted
Sentinel-2 10 and 20 m (VIS and NIR) to 60 m (SWIR) resolution 2015 to present 10 days (5 with two satellites)

On the upper right pick Sentinel-2 L1C as the sensor

  • If the scene only has clouds, move backward (or pick a date in a better season)
  • Compare natural color and color infrared (vegetation)
  • Look at the vegetation index (also called NDVI)
  • Look at band 8 (pick custom and drag 8 to R, G, and B) the bottom.  Note that vegetation is white (strong reflectance), and water black (all absorbed)
  • Compare the resolution in Bands 8 and 12
Landsat 15 m Pan, 30 m multispectral (improved over time) 1984 to present 16 days


  • Switch to Landsat
  • Look at True color,  False color, and True color pan-sharpened.  Which has the best spatial resolution, and how do they compare with Sentinel-2?
  • Look at NDVI.  How does its color scheme comare with Sentinel-2?
  • There is not a good way to show the thermal imagery online.  Insure that you understand how you can recognize it.
Maxar (GeoEye and WorldView, commercial)
  • WorldView 3 is 0.31 m pan, 1.24 m multispectral, and 3.7 m SWR
  • Geoeye is 0.46 m pan, 1.84 m multispectral
  • Zoom in to the region you want and draw a rectangle
  • Note you have the cloud coverage, and the angle off nadir
  • Note you can filter by:
    • Number of bands, ground resolution, dates, color coverage, off Nadir, and sun elevation (shadows)

  • How does this imagery compare to the others?