Changing Planet

Someone to Watch Over You

StMatthewIslandAlaska.jpg

Conservationist, marine biologist, and NatGeo Fellow Enric Sala and I drove to Dulles, Virginia on Friday to visit GeoEye headquarters. The company manages a fleet of Earth imaging satellites, including IKONOS and GeoEye-1, which traverse the globe from pole to pole every 90 minutes 423 miles (681 kilometers) overhead.

GeoEye1.jpg

Both IKONOS and GeoEye-1 can scan any place on the planet at least once every three days at sub-meter resolutions … which is to say that if you’re outside, the weather’s clear, and the satellite’s turned your way, you would show up in the scan. If you’ve zoomed in close to the surface with Google Earth, you’ve likely seen imagery provided by GeoEye, since Google is one of the company’s biggest clients.

We were out to see if GeoEye could help with Enric’s next Ocean Now expedition as they did with the last one, when they turned one of their satellites and rescanned the remote southern Line Islands in the Pacific just days before fieldwork began, then worked with Google to get the new imagery “baked” into Google Earth’s default view.

With mountains of data streaming in from all around the world, the GeoEye staff enjoys a ringside seat on planet Earth. Much of what they see in the course of any given day is breathtaking; sometimes it’s news-making. A few examples (presented, even when clicked up large, at much lower resolution than the original data makes possible):

In the image at top above, Bearing Sea ice eddies with ocean currents past the cliffs of Cape Upright at the southern tip of Alaska’s St. Matthew Island.

The new Yankee Stadium rises just a home run away from its predecessor in the Bronx.

yankees.jpg

The pyramids of Khafre and Khufu, along with the Great Sphinx, brood over the Giza plateau near Cairo. (In the original full-size image, one might well be able to see the top of archaeologist, Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities secretary general, and NatGeo Explorer-in-Residence Zahi Hawass‘s trademark hat!)

pyramids.jpg

The world’s largest radio telescope, 1,000 feet (305 meters) in diameter, scans the heavens at Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

arecibo_06_29_09.jpg

GeoEye kindly offered up an ongoing stream of remarkable new Earth images for BlogWild. Stay tuned for more!

GeoEye2.jpg

GeoEye satellite images courtesy GeoEye, satellite control room photographs by Ford Cochran

  • WebMaster GeoEye

    Very informative article about GeoEye!
    GeoEye, Inc. is recognized as one of the geospatial industry’s high resolution imagery experts, delivering exceptional quality imagery products and solutions to customers around the world.

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

Social Media