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 14 billion square kilometers of data. If you have read our newsletter before, you know we can get stuck on topics as we are here again so from Okjökull Glacier in Iceland we travel to the Southern Hemisphere for this Our Changing Landscape to Amalia Glacier in southern Chile.
The RapidEye Constellation
RapidEye is a constellation of five 5-meter (m) 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 Recession of Amalia Glacier, Chile
The Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the second largest continuous ice field outside of the polar icecaps, second only to Greenland. The ice field covers some 12,000 square kilometer (~ 4,600 square miles) of the Andes, running mainly north to south along the Chile – Argentina border. Located 400 kilometers (~ 250 miles) northwest of Santa Cruz, Argentina is Bernardo O’Higgins National Park which is home to one of the most incredible glaciers we have ever seen in imagery, Amalia. Also known as Skua Glacier, the ice mass partially surrounds the northern half of Reclus and terminates in Sarmiento Channel. While we could try and focus on the shrinking of Amalia as it is receding along with the other glaciers in the world, admittedly it was difficult to find many scientific details about it. According to this resource, the glacier retreated at a very rapid rate from 1945 to 1975, losing nearly 270 meters (~ 885 feet) each year. Regardless of its rate of recession or future prospects of survival in our constantly warming climate, sometimes you have to sit back and just enjoy the imagery we peruse daily at Apollo Mapping – we hope you ‘enjoy’ (with a tear for the environment) these 5-meter RapidEye images as much as we did!
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 [email protected] or (303) 993-3863.