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Posted on April 4th, 2023

The April Pléiades 1 – Pléiades Neo Point of Interest – Machu Picchu

In March, we looked at the remarkable beauty of Doi Inthanon, Thailand. This month for the Pléiades 1 – Pléiades Neo Point of Interest, we’re traveling across the globe to check out the world-famous Machu Picchu in Peru.

Image one is a 50-cm color image of Machu Picchu captured by Pléiades 1A on July 20, 2020. Image 2 is a 30-cm color image captured on September 20,2021 by Pléiades Neo 3. Both images showcase the remarkable terraced landscape, intricate building structures, and winding road up the mountain to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. These images have custom processing and color balancing applied by Apollo Mapping. PLEIADES © CNES 2023, Distribution Airbus DS.

About the Point of Interest: An astonishing icon of the Incan empire, Machu Pichu resides in southern Peru on a mountain ridge that stands nearly 8,000 feet tall. The 15th Century citadel is nestled into the Andes Mountains of the Urubamba Province, Peru, and looks down over the Sacred Valley of the Incas. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Machu Pichu rests in a landscape of lush tropical forests. The historic site is made up of terraces, palaces, ramps, walls and complexes. Most archeologists believe Machu Pichu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. This is hard verify, however, since no written documents have been discovered from when the site was in use. Machu Pichu is an extremely popular tourist destination, receiving upwards of 1.5 million visitors each year.

Fun Factoids: (1) Rather than written documents, the Inca used “Quipus” to record their history. Quipus were colored threads that were knotted in different ways to convey information. (2) Machu Picchu has an incredible number of orchids in the surrounding area. 370 types of orchids have been registered there, which constitutes 20% of the species identified in Peru. The flowers grow along the paths of the sanctuary as well as in a natural reserve by the Vilcamayo River. (3) The Machu Picchu compound contains more than 100 separate flights of stairs. (4) Machu Picchu can be reached in a few manners, one of them is by hiking the Inca Trail. Normally hiked in 3 to 6 days, the trail is composed of several thousand stone steps, tunnels and retaining walls. (5) The Inca were keen astronomical observers. The sacred Intihuatana Stone at Machu Picchu indicates the two equinoxes; and twice a year, the sun sits directly over the stone without creating a shadow.

The 50-cm 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 and Pléiades Neo for your next geospatial projects.

A variety of Pléiades 1 products are available from both a well-established 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 both of these satellite constellations.

The 30-cm Pléiades Neo High-Resolution Satellite Constellation

Pléiades Neo is our newest high-resolution satellite constellation. The first Neo satellite went up in April 2021 and the second in August of the same year. This 30-centimeter resolution constellation will add two more satellites in the next few months and upgrade from daily to intraday revisits. Pléiades Neo has six multispectral bands with 1.2-meter resolution, including a deep blue and two infrared bands, along with a 30-centimeter resolution panchromatic band.

The archive is growing every day, and the satellites are available for new collections, making Pléiades Neo the perfect solution for site monitoring. Check out our beautiful sample images in the Pléiades Neo gallery.

More sample images and technical information about Pléiades 1 can be found on our website here; while the same can be found here for the Pléiades Neo constellation.

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

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