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Posted on April 5th, 2022

Our Changing Landscape – Cyclone Batsirai

Click on the image above to see an animation of 3-meter natural color PlanetScope imagery collected over Ambalavao, Madagascar and the surrounding region on February 2 (sorry for the missing coverage in the northeast), 7 and 14, 2022. In this animation you can see just how significant the flooding was in the southeast of Madagascar in the February 7th image as the rivers are at least four times their normal size. And even in the February 14th image, you can still see that rivers are running higher than on February 2nd and are still flush with suspended sediment. Our thoughts are with all of the residents of Madagascar as they recover from this series of cyclones. (Images Courtesy: © Planet 2022)

In this monthly feature, we span the globe to examine Our Changing Landscape with a time series of medium-resolution PlanetScope satellite imagery. The PlanetScope constellation dates back to 2016 and collects hundreds of millions of square kilometers of 4, 5 and 8-band 3-meter imagery daily! In March we checked out the devastation caused by a wildfire in our home state of Colorado, and for this edition of Our Changing Landscape we travel to nearly the exact opposite side of the world with a look at the destruction left behind by Cycle Batsirai in southern Madagascar.

The PlanetScope Microsat Constellation

PlanetScope is a constellation of more than 240 microsats (as of January 2022) referred to individually as Doves. Each Dove is able to collect up to 20,000 square kilometers (sq km) per day of 3-meter (m) 4-band multispectral (i.e. blue, green, red and near-infrared [NIR]) imagery; and newly launched SuperDoves collect 8-band multispectral adding in valuable red-edge spectral data. Across the constellation, PlanetScope is archiving more than 200 million sq km of medium-resolution imagery a day, making it the go to source for daily imagery over most locations. This massive archive dates back to 2016, offering the most complete and continuous record of spatial data on the planet since the start of the constellation’s ongoing launch schedule. Collecting 3-meter multispectral imagery is the equivalent of ‘high-resolution’ multispectral data imaged by a 75-centimer (cm) satellite (as this satellite would feature 75-cm panchromatic and 3-m multispectral), making PlanetScope an extremely competitively priced option at just $1.80 per sq km. With well registered images and nearly daily collections of most locations, PlanetScope is the ideal imagery source for this current-events focused series, Our Changing Landscape.

Cyclone Batsirai Batters Southern Madagascar

Having spent some three months in central Madagascar (by the way it is Brock who pens this article), the world’s fourth largest island nation is near and dear to my heart. And 2022 has been a tough year to say the least for Madagascar as the nation has been pounded by a series of storms and even cyclones, with the fourth cyclone just hitting the island. The focus of this article is on the second storm, Cyclone Batsirai, which hit southern Madagascar during the night of February 6th. Cyclone Batsirai made landfall as a Category 3 storm with sustained wind speeds of 115 miles per hour (mph), moving across the island in a southwest direction. In its wake, Cyclone Batsirai impacted more than 112,000 people, with at least 92 dead and over 60,000 displaced from their homes. Now it is time to turn to the 3-meter PlanetScope archive to get a sense of the destruction caused around Ambalavao which is in one of the hardest hit regions of Madagascar.

If you would like to find out more about using 3-meter PlanetScope imagery for your academic studies, engineering projects or any landscape analysis, let us know at or (303) 993-3863.

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