Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Near-Real Time Satellite Imagery

I love this site: http://earthdata.nasa.gov/data/near-real-time-data/rapid-response/modis-subsets
From there, I can keep an eye on fun things like ice-out & freeze up, monitor forest fires, check snow cover, and more. All with images that are as little as a couple of hours old.

To find the images relevant for my area (central Saskatchewan), I choose the North America subset, then roll my mouse over the images to find the ones I want, usually "Waskesiu" (covers from Lake Diefenbaker in the south to north of the Churchill River, and extending well into Manitoba to the east and Alberta to the west) or "Bratts Lake" if I'm interested in areas to the south, or "Thompson" if I'm interested in areas to the north.

From there you can choose the resolution you want, and the type of image you want. They offer several types of images which are probably very meaningful to those that know how to interpret them, but I normally stick to the True Colour images. You can also turn on layers to show fires, borders, and coasts. This is helpful to position the image with points of reference you are familiar with. You can also download the image into Google Earth which makes pinpointing less-obvious locations very easy.

Due to those pesky clouds, you may not be able to see a given area on the specific date, but you can scroll through the days to find a nice clear view.

For those who paddle the far north, this is a great way to keep an eye on whether your float plane will be able to land or not. For the rest of us, it's fun to check it out and dream of trips.

The image from yesterday, a warm day with lots of cumulonimbus, is shown below (head to the website for much better resolution, but don't expect to be able to peer into anyone's back yard).


Less than hour after I posted the above, I find another way to view the same thing, and it's pretty awesome: http://earthdata.nasa.gov/labs/worldview/