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 December, we checked out the construction of an impressive Chinese sports complex, and for this first Our Changing Landscape of the year, we stay in Asia to observe the changing falls colors in Bukhansan (or Bukhan Mountain) National Park, South Korea.
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.
Fall Colors in Bukhansan National Park
Located in the northwest of South Korea, Bukhansan National Park was designated in 1983 as Korea’s 15th national park. The park covers about 31 square miles (80 square kilometers) to the north and west of Seoul, Korea’s largest city – Bukhansan actually means, “mountain north of the Han River,” which is the northern border of Seoul. Bukhansan National Park is divided into two sections with Bukhansan Mountain to the south, Dobongsan Mountain to the north straddling Uiryeong Pass roughly in the middle. Surrounded by major cities, Bukhansan is the world’s most visited park by unit area according to the Guinness Book of World Records, with some 5 million visitors each year.
Bukhansan National Park is an ecological treasure as it is home to more than 1,300 species of flora and fauna. Many of the trees in the park are deciduous making it a prime destination for viewing fall leaf colors; in fact, it has been called one of the best locations in the world to view the vibrant oranges, reds and yellows of fall foliage. According to a Korean tourism site, peak colors in Bukhansan National Park during 2017 were predicted to occur from October 15th to October 29th, and lucky for us, there were a plethora of nice 5-meter RapidEye images to see just how the colors of summer changed in the fall, reached peak and then faded away.
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