Posted on March 4th, 2014

The Afternoon Collection High Resolution Satellite – KOMPSAT-3

Many of our readers likely have not heard of KOMPSAT-3. If you are one of them, we suggest you think about it for your next project requiring high resolution satellite imagery. And in particular, for those of you who work with vegetation and/or spectral analysis as KOMPSAT-3 is the only high resolution satellite in the world to collect data in the afternoon. Further, KOMPSAT-3 has the highest data quantization of any satellite on the market.

70-cm natural color images collected by KOMPSAT-3 on July 13, 2013 over San Francisco, California, USA. This imagery has been photo enhanced by Apollo Mapping. Additional samples of color 70-cm KOMPSAT-3 imagery can be found here

If you are not familiar with KOMPSAT-3, here is a summary of the key satellite specifications:

  • Launch Date: May 17, 2012, 16:39 UTC
  • Spectral Bands:
    • Panchromatic
    • 4-band multispectral (blue, green, red and near-infrared)
  • Sensor Resolution:
    • At nadir – 70-cm panchromatic & 2.8-m multispectral
    • 20° off-nadir – 82-cm panchromatic & 3.28-m multispectral
    • 30° off-nadir – 1.02-m panchromatic & 4.08-m multispectral
    • 45° off-nadir – 2.11-m panchromatic & 8.44-m multispectral
  • Dynamic Range: 14-bits
  • Revisit Frequency: (at 40°N)
    • 1.4 days (< 45° off-nadir)
    • 4.1 days (< 20° off-nadir)
  • Mean Local Crossing Time: 13:30 local time (approximate; across lit side of Earth)
  • Footprint Width: 16 km (at nadir)
  • Maximum Collection Geometry:
    • Mono, strip mode – 16 km x 4,000 km (1 strip wide)
    • Mono, wide area mode – 48 km x 100 km (3 strips wide)
    • Stereo, single pass mode – 16 km x 200 km (2 pairs wide)
  • Daily Collection Capacity: 300,000 sq km
  • Georeferenced Horizontal Accuracy: 48.5-m CE90 (global average, dependent on terrain)

Having worked with various sample images, we are impressed with the crispness of KOMPSAT-3 data and its color reproduction. We feel that KOMPSAT-3 separates itself from other high-resolution satellites in two key ways:

(1)  14-bit depth which is important for spectral analysis. With 14-bit depth data, KOMPSAT-3 has a maximum digital number (or pixel value) range of 16,384 units. Compared with the maximum digital number range of 4,096 for Pléiades 1 and then 2,048 for the other high-resolution satellites in orbit, this is a significant advantage for you remote-sensing academics and professionals out there.

(2)  A 1:30 PM local collection time. All other high-resolution satellites collect imagery during the mid-morning, so an afternoon collection time can be an advantage in persistently cloudy areas like tropical islands. This is also an advantage for vegetation analysis as chlorophyll concentrations change though out the day; so coupling KOMPSAT-3 with imagery collected during the morning can give researchers a more complete picture of plant health.

If you are interested in pricing, coverage and/or have any additional questions about KOMPSAT-3 data, please let the Apollo Mapping sales team at or (303) 993-3863.

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2 responses to “The Afternoon Collection High Resolution Satellite – KOMPSAT-3”

  1. jim murphy says:

    looking for shipwrecks in lake erie

    • Admin says:

      Thanks for the comment Jim – at this time, there is no optical satellite that can see to the bottom of a murky lake such as Lake Erie. My suggestion is active sonar that you would use from a boat platform. Good luck in your hunt.

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