DigitalGlobe's Newest Bird To Expand Spectral Reach


DigitalGlobe's WorldView-3 commercial remote sensing satellite, made by Ball Aerospace and set to launch in August, will include eight more spectral bands (designed to collect in the short-wave infrared spectrum) than its predecessor, WorldView-2, launched in 2009. Also new on WV-3 is a Clouds, Aerosols, Vapor, Water and Ice Sensor (Cavis) that will sample the atmosphere alongside the main telescope, allowing for analysts on the ground to pull features out of the pixels in an image through vapor or haze, a particular problem in locations by the sea.

Already, DigitalGlobe is looking at new products as a result of the capabiltiies on WV-2. Its multispectral sensor captued these images Nov. 23, 2009, of the famous Blue Lagoon in the Aitutaki Islands in the South Pacific. As you scroll down you see how the same image reveals different data based on what spectral band is used in the collection.

In this image in the visible bands, the land and water are clearly revealed, with the shore disappearing under the water as it deepens.

DigitalGlobe images

In this image, taken in near infrared (NIR) 2, NIR 1 and red edge bands, submerged aquatic vegitation -- obscured to the naked eye --is revealed. Reefs are also shown. This is valuable for customers such as ocean conservancies and, potentially, mlitiary units looking to land on a beach.

These two images, below, were taken in bands specifically designed to reveal features under the water in enough detail to aid in guiding boats close to the shore and revealing underwater hazards, among other things.

DigitalGlobe officials note that this capabiltiy -- along with new bands being fielded on WV-3 -- will allow for precise mapping of littoral areas not done for decades.

This image in red/yellow/green reveals different underwater features, including channels carved from water patterns and some vegetation.

Submerged vegetation is made more clear using the different bands in these images below.

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