The August Pléiades 1 – Pléiades Neo Point of Interest – Zhangye National Geopark, China - Apollo Mapping
Posted on August 1st, 2023

The August Pléiades 1 – Pléiades Neo Point of Interest – Zhangye National Geopark, China

In July, we looked at the archaeological wonder that is the city of Old Bagan in Myanmar. This month for the Pléiades 1 – Pléiades Neo Point of Interest we’re off to China to learn about the dazzling Rainbow Mountains, otherwise known as Zhangye National Geopark.

About the Point of Interest: Zhangye National Geopark is in the prefecture-level city of Zhangye, China. It is bordered by Mongolia on the north and Qinhai to the south. The park is divided into two scenic areas, Qicai Danxia, meaning seven colors; and Binggou Danxia, which means ice ravine – so called not because of any actual ice, but of the icicle like rock formations found there. Qicai Danxia is where the Rainbow Mountains are found. The park is a UNESCO Global Geopark site and spans about 322 square kilometers (124 square miles). The imagery for our August point of interest was collected over the Qicai Danxia Scenic Spot, which is a popular place for tourists to come and view these remarkable prismatic hills.

These two images of the Zhangye National Geopark exhibit the beautiful colors found in the Rainbow Mountains. Image one is a 50-cm photo was captured by Pléiades 1B on April 25, 2021. The second image is a 30-cm image captured by Pléiades Neo 4 on August 3, 2022. These images have custom processing and color balancing applied by Apollo Mapping. PLEIADES © CNES 2022, Distribution Airbus DS.

Fun Factoids: (1) The oscillating bands of colors seen in the Rainbow Mountains – canary yellow, vivid turquoise, rusty crimson, and inky black – were created over millions of years as sandstone and minerals shifted with tectonic plates. (2) The Rainbow Mountains lie along the edge of China’s famous Silk Road, and may have been used as a landmark by ancient travelers. (3) The Qicai Danxia area contains four separate viewing platforms where visitors can get nearly 360° views of the technicolor peaks. (4) Many of the peaks in the Rainbow Mountains have their own charming names, such as ‘Seven-Colored Fan’, ‘Numerous Monks Worship Buddha’, and ‘Seven Color Fairy Terrace’. (5) In 2017, the park was featured in the U.S. National Geographic magazine as one of the 7 Stunning Natural Wonders in Asia. (6) The best seasons to visit Zhangye National Geopark are summer and fall, and the colors of the stone are best viewed either in the sunrise or sunset for the most magical lighting.

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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