Monthly Update on Astrium’s High Resolution Satellite, Pléiades 1A
Posted on August 16th, 2012

Monthly Update on Astrium’s High Resolution Satellite, Pléiades 1A

Have you considered Pléiades 1A imagery for your next geospatial project? If not, let the Apollo Mapping team show you how this new high-resolution data source can work for nearly every mapping and remote sensing application.

A variety of Pléiades 1A 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 new satellite constellation as Pléiades 1A will be joined in space by its twin, Pléiades 1B, later this year.

Working with Pléiades 1A for the past months, we have noticed that:

  • The imagery archive is already growing and is well targeted.
  • Astrium is able to deliver on their Pléiades 1A tasking feasibilities.
  • The data is crisp with excellent color saturation so that it is on par with competitors’ 50-cm satellites.

The 12-bit Pléiades 1A Spectral Advantage

For those of you that use your imagery products for spectral analysis such as NDVI calculations, supervised and unsupervised classifications and object-oriented approaches, then you should consider Pléiades 1A for your next project. Pléiades 1A is the only high resolution satellite that collects imagery with 12-bit depth versus the competitors’ 11-bit depth data.

As you realize, spectral analysis is predicated upon small differences in the spectral values (and spatial characteristics in the case of object-oriented classifications) of each pixel. Therefore, there are only two ways to increase the fidelity of your remote sensing approaches: (1) with more spectral bands; or (2) with more information per band. With 12-bit depth versus 11-bit depth, Pléiades 1A is able to deliver on item two; and while this sounds like a minor difference, let s take a look at the numbers to get a sense of what this means to your spectral analysis:

  • For 4-band, 11-bit depth sensors – there are 2^11 possible values (i.e. 2048) per spectral band; and thus there are 17,592,186,044,416 possible spectral combinations for a single pixel with 4-multispectral bands.
  • For 4-band, 12-bit depth Pléiades 1A data – there are 2^12 possible values (i.e. 4096) per spectral band; and thus there are 281,474,976,710,656 possible spectral combinations for a single pixel with 4-multispectral bands.

That means that there are 16 times the possible spectral combinations for each pixel in Pléiades 1A data versus imagery from other 4-band high resolution satellites. That translates to spectral analysis with more consistent results and greater fidelity to identify the trends and/or features you are looking for.

Pléiades 1A Sample Imagery

This month we feature stunning sample imagery collected by Pléiades 1A over Saint Maarten, Bahamas on April 5, 2012. We Photo Enhanced this 50-cm natural color imagery to improve its colors and sharpness and the results speak for themselves!


© CNES 2012, Distribution Astrium Services / Spot Image S.A., France, all rights reserved”


Pléiades 1A Speculative Orders

Do you have an area of interest that needs recent high resolution coverage now?!

If so, Pléiades 1A can collect recent coverage over the geographies that are of the most interest to you as it is a new satellite with available collection capacity. Contact the Apollo Mapping sales team to learn more about speculative orders over your key geographies.

Our Contact Details and More Information on Pléiades 1A

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

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

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