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Posted on June 7th, 2016

The Pléiades 1 Stadium of the Month – Melbourne Cricket Ground

We stay on the eastern side of our globe for this Pléiades 1 Stadium of the Month as we travel south from Taiwan to Australia’s largest outdoor stadium, Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Name & Its Origin: In 1853, Lieutenant Governor Charles La Trobe designated 10 acres of Yarra Park in Melbourne, Australia as home of the Melbourne Cricket Club, Victoria’s first cricket club. And since that time, this site has been home to some of Australia’s most competitive and important cricket matches, hence the name Melbourne Cricket Ground seems rather perfect in its simplicity.

Location: MCG is located in an inner-suburb area known as East Melbourne and is part of a large sports complex that includes Melbourne Park, site of the year’s first tennis grand slam, the Australian Open. The stadium is located less than half a mile from the Yarra River that meanders through Melbourne, pours into Port Phillip Bay and eventually out to the Indian Ocean. MCG is approximately 25 feet above sea level.

A 50-cm color image of Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia collected on December 30, 2015 by Pléiades 1A. To see this stadium in SPOT 6/7 1.5-meter resolution, check out this month’s feature on SPOTMaps. This image has custom processing and color balancing applied by Apollo Mapping. © CNES 2016, Distribution Airbus Defense and Space / Spot Image S.A., France, all rights reserved.

Stadium Capacity/Size, Architect & Build Date: The site were the current MCG stands has been home to some sort of structure since 1854 when there was seating for about 60 fans. Over time, the structures that occupied this site grew in capacity and complexity (you can find out more of the history here), and by 2006, the Northern Stands were completed, restoring the capacity of MCG to 100,000 seats. The 2006 renovations of MCG impacted 60% of the grounds, and was planned and managed by a joint venture of five firms called the MCG5 Sports Architects.

Type of Field Surface: To us silly Americans, cricket is a bit of a confusing game with scores over 500 and matches lasting an entire weekend – if you want to find out more about it, check out this Cricket For Dummies primer. One of the coolest features of a cricket pitch is its oval shape (how funky!) – and the pitch at MCG is 525 feet by 453 feet with a natural turf surface, apparently Motz Stabilized Turf to be exact.

Key Sports Teams: MCG is definitely the most widely used sporting arenas we have checked out in this series; in fact, the stadium seems to host some sort of event multiple times a week! It appears that MCG is the official home of the Australian national cricket team, as well as The Bushrangers (an Australian cricket team), at least 5 Australian Football League teams and several smaller cricket teams. I’m betting we missed a few more sport team tenants, sorry to anyone we did!

Most Popular Yearly Event: To be honest, with the plethora of events held on a regular basis it’s impossible to say what the most popular event might be at MCG. But what we can say is this stadium has hosted one amazing event after another, including: the 1992 World Cup final, the 1956 Olympic Games, a Pope John Paul II mass in 1986, David Bowie in 1978, the Rolling Stones in 1995, Madonna in 1993 and even Michael Jackson in 1996.

Fun Factoids: (1) According to Wikipedia, which is of course the authority here, MCG is the 10th largest stadium in the world. (2) The stadium’s owners installed grow lights sourced from the Netherlands to improve winter grass conditions as only 10% of the sun’s energy hits the grass surface in the winter. (3) MCG is the first stadium in the world with a portable cricket pitch, which makes the field safer (and quicker to set up) for other events. (4) The light towers at MCG are among the tallest in the world at 246 feet tall (the equivalent to a 24 story building) with an extra 33 feet above for the head frame. The tubular structures that support the head frames contain about 2.9 million pounds of steel per tower!

The Pléiades 1 High-Resolution Satellite Constellation

The Pléiades 1 constellation (or at least part of it!) has been in orbit since December 2011 and if you have not had a chance to check out any sample imagery, take a few moments and have a look at the gallery on our website. If you work with high resolution imagery, you should consider Pléiades 1 for your next geospatial project.

A variety of Pléiades 1 products are available from both a growing archive and as a new collection, including 50-centimeter (cm) pansharpened imagery and 50-cm panchromatic – 2-meter (m) 4-band multispectral bundles. We are happy to discuss the technical specifications, pricing and tasking options available with this satellite constellation.

Working with Pléiades 1 since the launch of the first twin satellite, P1A, we have noticed that:

  • Airbus Defense and Space is able to deliver on their tasking feasibilities.

The Apollo Mapping sales team can answer any questions you might have about the high resolution satellite constellation, Pléiades 1. We can be reached anytime at (303) 993-3863 or

More sample images and technical information about Pléiades 1A and 1B can be found on our website here.

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