Geospatial Data We Use

Only the combination of geospatial data from many sources can achieve results in such a project as the research of hard-to-reach and little-studied areas. Below is a list of data from space and airborne sensors that we use.

Aerospace Imagery

A group of satellites of the European Space Agency (ESA), observing the Earth in different bands of the optical spectrum. The medium spatial resolution and wide acquisition swath of images allow us use it for preliminary analysis of fairly large areas. Learn more

Data from the American satellite Landsat-8 are similar to Sentinel-2 in spatial and spectral characteristics. We use Landsat-8 imagery in preparatory studies of the territory, identifying large areas of interest. Learn more

Like Sentinel-2, this group of ESA satellites regularly observes, the Earth but in the C microwave band. Sentinel-1 data allows to evaluate properties of the territory that are not identifiable by optical imaging. Moreover it is possible to use it to create digital elevation models. Learn more

A group of satellites of the American company DigitalGlobe (comprising WorldView-3, WorldView-2, etc.), which acquire imagery with high spectral resolution and with the best commercially available spatial resolution (30 cm). We use data of these satellites through public mapping services like Bing Maps or ESRI World Imagery. However, such open data is obviously of the worst quality relative to the original imagery (in particular, the roughened spatial resolution and the lack of spectral channels). In fact, these are “pictures” that are unsuitable for serious analysis, so in the near future we plan to purchase original DigitalGlobe satellite images for the area of our interest. Learn more

U.S. KeyHole-9 (KH-9) Hexagon reconnaissance mapping program was operational from March 1973 to October 1980. These satellites acquired photographs of the Earth’s surface with a telescopic camera system and transported the exposed film through the use of recovery capsules. The capsules or buckets were de-orbited and retrieved by aircraft while the capsules parachuted to earth. The exposed film was developed and the images were analyzed for a range of military applications. Now KH-9 data is declassified, and we, thanks to the U.S. Geological Survey, have access to this unique imagery. We cannot say that these black-and-white images help us a lot, but they give a different view on the territory of our study with spatial resolution of about 8-9 meters. Learn more

Unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with L-band synthetic aperture radar (full polarization). Operated by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it images territories with high spatial resolution. We use UAVSAR data to find hidden properties of landscapes, that are invisible in the optical range but revealing themselves in microwave radiation in different polarization. Learn more

Other Data

SRTM is a set of digital elevation models (DEM) covering the most part of the land, created by a synthetic aperture radar within the framework of an international mission in 2000. DEM is a very important component in our project, as terrain plays a significant role in influencing the way of how ancient people settled down and were they laid their roads. With DEM we can quantitatively estimate characteristics of terrain and, for example, perform a viewshed analysis. Learn more

VCF are maps showing the density of areas covered by woody vegetation. Each pixel (30 x 30m) of such a digital map contains a calculated percentage of the woody vegetation (above 5 m) projection on the ground. VCF is based on multispectral satellite images from Landsat-5 and Landsat-7. We use it to assess terrain passability. Learn more