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Posted on January 10th, 2013

Our Changing Landscape – Changing Seasons, West Virginia

In this monthly feature, we span the globe and examine Our Changing Landscape with time series of medium resolution RapidEye satellite imagery. The RapidEye archive dates back to late 2008 and already contains more than 3 billion square kilometers of data. This month, we travel to the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia and look at the changing seasons.

Click on the image above to see an animation of 5-meter natural color imagery collected over rural West Virginia in the Allegheny Mountains. These images are from 4/6, 8/30, 10/12, 10/17 and 11/8/2010. In the August imagery, you can see the bluing affects of summer haze that is common in the Appalachia Mountain. And in the three fall images which span a single month, you can see how quickly the leaves change color and then senesce. (Images Courtesy: RapidEye)

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 a daily revisit time to every location on the planet with a huge footprint that is 77-km wide. The data is priced competitively with a base price 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 available 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 Four Seasons

Having grown up on the East Coast in the city and suburbs of Baltimore, two things I miss the most now that I live in Colorado are lush green forests and vibrant fall colors. With this in mind, we turn our attention to a deciduous forest situated along the banks of the Bear Fork in rural West Virginia. Located in Calhoun and Gilmer Counties, these forests are dominated by birch and maple species. The RapidEye images that follow were selected to show the forests in each of the four seasons – unfortunately, we were unable to locate data with snow on the ground as imagery is rarely collected deep in the winter months. Either way, these images paint a beautiful picture of the march of the seasons in West Virginia and we hope you enjoy the animation.

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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