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Posted on January 7th, 2020

Our Changing Landscape – November Venice Floods

If you have been a regular reader of this ongoing series, you are likely to have seen that RapidEye was decommissioned at the end of 2019. So as one satellite system passes into our memories, we change the focus of this series to current events as the 3-meter PlanetScope archive offers nearly daily imagery of most locations on the planet!

Click on the image above to see an animation of 3-meter natural color PlanetScope imagery collected over Venice, Italy on November 1, November 16 and November 25, 2019. Before we chat a bit about this animation, a quick note to our readers about the November 16th image as it was pretty cloudy so we color balanced it in three sections (hence the visible hard lines across the data) to bring out as much detail as possible. In the animation, you can see flooding in low lying areas, such as the marinas on the north and south sides of Venice; but admittedly this flooding event might not have been the best choice as flood waters would have covered impermeable concrete surface (i.e. walkways) so there would be no color difference to show submerged lands. Whoops, but still some interesting imagery at least! (Images Courtesy: © Planet 2020)

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 is collecting hundreds of millions of square kilometers of 4-band 3-meter daily! In the last edition of 2019 we also featured our last article using 5-m RapidEye imagery where we said goodbye to the constellation with some amazing views of Amalia Glacier in Chile. In the first current events focused Our Changing Landscape, we feature a time series of 3-m PlanetScope imagery chronicling the November floods of Venice, Italy.

The PlanetScope Microsat Constellation

PlanetScope is a constellations of more than 150 microsats referred to 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. 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 equivalent the 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.

The November 2019 Flooding of Venice, Italy

Venice is a city many of us are familiar with and have likely dreamed of visiting as little children, so I will spare you a history of the Italian city. Venice is built on a marshy island at the north tip of the Adriatic Sea which, through natural processes, is already sinking back into the planet. When climate change is layered into this story, Venice is sinking (relative to the rising seas) at a pace of 0.2 inches per year or a full inch every five years. While a flood-protection system has been planned since 1991, the project is mired in delays and corruption so it has done little to help with the recent spate of flooding. November has seen a series of floods, one of them peaking at 74-inches which is just short of the 1966 record of 76-inches. In fact, as I write this article in late November, Venice was just hit by another round of flooding over the past weekend with water levels rising to knee depth. With multiple PlanetScope images of Venice collected in November alone, we picked the best dates to show how flooding impacted the local Venetian landscape.

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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