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Posted on December 5th, 2017

Our Changing Landscape – The Dalian Sports Center

In this monthly feature, we span the globe to examine Our Changing Landscape with a time series of medium resolution RapidEye satellite imagery. The RapidEye archive dates back to late 2008 and already contains more than 13 billion square kilometers of data. In October (sorry we missed November due to technical issues with samples), we found ourselves back in North Korea with a look at an industrial city, and for this month we stay in Asia to check out the construction of a mega-sports complex, Dalian Sports Center in Dalian, China.

The RapidEye Constellation

RapidEye is a constellation of five 5-meter medium resolution satellites each offering five spectral bands of information. The RapidEye constellation offers daily revisits to every location on the planet with a huge footprint that is 77-km wide. The data is priced competitively with a starting cost of $1.28 per square kilometer for all five spectral bands – academics do receive discounts. RapidEye adds a fifth band, the red edge, to the ‘traditional’ multispectral set of blue, green, red and near-infrared (NIR). The additional spectral data in the red edge band allows users to extract more useful land ‘information’ than can be from traditional 4-band imagery sources. When RapidEye imagery is ordered as a Level 3A Orthorectified product, images from multiple dates are extremely well registered, making it the ideal data source for Our Changing Landscape.

The Construction of the Dalian Sports Center

Click on the image above to see an animation of 5-meter natural color RapidEye imagery collected over the Dalian Sports Center on June 22, 2009, November 19, 2011, September 1, 2013 and March 10, 2017. In this animation, you can see that the land where the Dalian Sports Center will be is little more than bare soil and a few small buildings in June 2009. Over the next eight years, you can see the sports complex is built as well as a vast number of construction projects which were started and some finished over this time span. All in all, this area of China is obviously growing and changing very rapidly! (Images Courtesy: Planet @ 2017)

The Dalian Sports Center is located in central China along its eastern coast with the Yellow Sea in the peninsula town of Dalian. Dalian is a major seaport town with about 6.7 million residents in the province of Liaoning. The Dalian Sports Center is a world-class athletic venue featuring an 80,000 seat stadium, a 10,000 seat tennis stadium (the seating figures vary depending on the source), swimming pools, baseball diamonds, tracks, a 30-story hotel and so much more. The complex is just 2.6 miles (~ 4.2 kilometers) to the ocean in a westerly direction and then 4.6 miles (~ 7.4 kilometers) to the east.

Construction on the Dalian Sports Center started in May 2009 and was completed by April 2013 – designed by Nadel Architecture and Planning, the sports complex is reported to have cost more than $1.5 billion to build! Similar to the widely known Water Cube used in the 2008 Summer Olympics, the outside of the large stadium is ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) which is a better insulator than glass and also transmits more light. Close by is an 18,000 seat indoor stadium for basketball, volleyball and more, its façade features gentle arching lines that represent the strong muscles of an athlete’s core. There is an s-shaped path that connects the various venues at the Dalian Sports Center, mimicking our tendons which run between the muscles we use when at play. In all, the megasports complex is an architectural masterpiece with forethought given to the design of each of its various facilities. Now that your interest is piqued, it is time to turn the 5-meter RapidEye archive to see how construction (and perhaps recent changes) on the 203-acre Dalian Sports Center proceeded from 2009 to now – enjoy!

If you would like to find out more about using RapidEye for your academic studies, engineering projects or any landscape analysis, let us know at or (303) 993-3863.

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