Wednesday, September 9, 2009

ESA uses NASA Software - to look at oil spills in Australia

Europe and America have always had a close technological co-operation, especially in the space sector. While Europe has major progress in the Radar domain, America has stayed behind, but another area where Americans, namely NASA made a huge leap is in making an open-source globe visualisation tool, WorldWind. Now the European Space Agency (ESA) is using this as their archive display and ordering system backdrop in EOLi , as opposed to the rather dated and hard to use 2D map they used to have.
One of the advantage of using WorldWind is that the preview images can be quickly loaded up into the globe overview to provide the user context and also allow exploration of the data history even before ordering. In the case of planning a future acquisition, the 3d display combined with a gazetteer makes finding the area of interest simple and fun.

Out of curiosity I checked on the on-going rather large oil spill near Ashmore Reef. Sure enough ENVISAT-ASAR had collected an image and I have a quick idea of how much the spill area is without getting the full image. Detailed images from TerraSAR-X and Cosmo-Skymed can be found here.
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