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Posted on June 5th, 2018

Our Changing Landscape – Chalk Mountain Wildflowers Blooms

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. In May, we unsuccessfully tried to observe coastal erosion on the West Coast of the United States, and for June we stay in the States with a look at wildflower blooms around Chalk Mountain, Texas.

Click on the image above to see an animation of 5-meter natural color RapidEye imagery collected over the Chalk Mountain, Texas area on March 1, May 1, June 29, September 3 and November 5, 2017. Striking out is never good, especially two at bats in a row, but folks that is what we have done here again, struck out. While the flower blooms around Chalk Mountain might be drive-worthy, they are not detectable with 5-m RapidEye imagery. Perhaps we choose the wrong location, perhaps the timing of the images was all wrong, or perhaps the blooms are all below the trees – whatever the explanation, sorry about that! (Images Courtesy: © Planet 2018)

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.

Chalk Mountain, Texas Wildflower Blooms

Chalk Mountain, Texas is a sleepy unincorporated community located in central Texas about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest from the edge of the Dallas-Fort Worth megalopolis. Admittedly very little can be found about the community of Chalk Mountain short of the fact it was established in the 1850s as a trading post and has been on a slow decline since then – with only a few residence left. The region is characterized by hot, humid summers and mild winters. The lands around Chalk Mountain are mainly rolling hills with grasslands, open forests and small rivers throughout. What prompted this article was a story about popular wildflower bloom drives around the state of Texas, where Chalk Mountain was one of the four areas mentioned. According to this naturalist site, there are nearly 200 plant species in Erath County which contains Chalk Mountain, so a wildflower bloom could be quite colorful. And so without much else to say about this region, it is time to check out the 5-meter RapidEye archive with the hopes of spotting a colorful wildflower bloom in action!

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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