If you have never explored the free data offered up by the USGS’ EarthExplorer, I encourage you to do so. There is a wealth of free data available for free on EarthExplorer and not just of locations in the United States. In the recent months, the USGS added 180,000 scenes of OrbView-3 imagery to the archive of EarthExplorer. OrbView-3 is no longer operational but when it was, it obtained either 1-meter panchromatic (pan) or 4-meter multispectral (MS) imagery. OrbView-3 did not have the ability to collect both pan and MS data at the same time. This dataset of 180,000 scenes ranges in date from 2003 to 2007.
Here are several tips to get you started with your search for free OrbView-3 imagery:
- You can define your area of interest using lat/long coordinates, an address, by an entire county/state or by uploading a shapefile/KMZ.
- Before you complete your archive search, be sure to select OrbView-3 in the long list of search options under the “Data Sets” tab.
- When we searched by an entire county, it took quite some time to populate the results.
- Not all of the OrbView-3 data added to EarthExplorer is of high quality. So be sure to check out the browse images (click on the mini-JPEG symbol to see these) before you download anything. When we checked for coverage over our address in Boulder, Colorado, the only OrbView-3 dataset was 100% covered in clouds!
- If you do find coverage you want to download, you will need to register with the website and login to access the data.
Brock Adam McCarty