Visible and infrared spaceborne sensors measure the amount of radiation reflected (or emitted) back from the Earth and its overlying atmosphere. Like our eyes, these sensors operate largely within the optical spectrum, producing images that are recognizable and ready for interpretation. The growth and health of vegetation directly affects their appearance in visible-infrared imagery. As such, these data are extremely valuable for measuring the productivity and health of natural systems.
A core group of scientists at the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO) specialize in the use of Visible-Infrared satellite sensors, and the development of products derived from optical image data. On a national scale, these sensors have been used to generate the Long Term Satellite Data Records, as well as several derived indicators and biophysical parameters.
In addition to the analysis of data from existing visible-infrared satellite sensors (AVHRR, MODIS, MERIS, Landsat, SPOT), CCMEO scientists are involved in the scientific preparations for effective and immediate use of data from future sensors (e.g. Sentinel 2).
Some examples of current optical EO research activities at CCMEO include:
- Using satellite remote sensing to monitor and assess ecosystem integrity and climate change in Canada’s National Parks
- Remote Sensing for Improving Understanding on Canadian Urbanization
- Characterization and Monitoring Change of Canada’s Land Surface
- The Five-Scale radiative transfer model
- Optical Leaf Area Index (LAI) In-situ Measurements
- Northern Land Cover of Canada – Circa 2000
CCMEO uses a wide variety of geospatial information, integrated to provide important information sources for users within the Government of Canada, as well as the general public.
Some examples of current research activities that utilize visible-infrared satellite data at CCMEO include:
- Remote Sensing in support of Groundwater Studies
- Ecosystem Modelling and Satellite Data Assimilation
- Geomatics information for the watershed serving Iqaluit, Nunavut, using EO data and ground surveys
- Arctic circumpolar mosaic at 250m spatial resolution by fusion of MODIS/TERRA imagery
CCMEO achievements in the areas of optical methodology development and applications have been numerous, with many being firsts in Canada and the world.