Posted on October 1st, 2019

Our Changing Landscape – Serengeti National Park

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. During September we checked out another active volcano this time in Peru, and for the October edition of Our Changing Landscape we travel to Africa with a look at the changing seasons in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

Click on the image above to see an animation of 5-meter natural color RapidEye imagery collected over the Grumeti River in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania on May 14, June 7, July 11 and December 14, 2017. In this animation, you will see the seasons change from wet to dry and then back again. Besides the green up and die down of the vegetation surrounding the Grumeti, you can see changes in the river itself. In the dry season, it even appears that the river is dry in many places. It is also interesting to see that the trees lining the river banks of the Grumeti do stay green all season long. Very cool images even if you cannot see animals in them! (Images Courtesy: © Planet 2019)

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 Changing Seasons of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania is part of one of the world’s most protected ecosystems, the Serengeti-Mara region. Covering some 40,000 square kilometers in several East African parks, the ecosystem sees a massive annual migration of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra who move north and south between Serengeti National Park and Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya. From November to March, the herds graze in the lush, green plains of the Serengeti. But as the rains dry up the herds begin their annual migration north to Maasai Mara in April where they graze until October, only to head south again for greener Serengeti pastures.

The annual migrations are often halted by the shores of the Grumeti River where wildebeest will congregate until critical mass is reached and then they pour into the treacherous waters in a massive herd. By crossing the river in huge numbers, it increases the chances of avoiding the jaws of a hungry crocodile who live in the twisting channel of water. The Grumeti River is where many of the iconic photos we have seen showing the struggles of life and death in this annual migration are taken; and is also the focus of this Our Changing Landscape! So without further ado, let’s turn our attention to the 5-meter RapidEye archive to see how drastic the seasonal changes are in Serengeti National Park.

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 sales@apollomapping.com or (303) 993-3863.

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