Earth Observation

Earth observation involves all activities connected with the collection of information on the Earth’s surface or atmosphere from instruments on board satellites.

Data from Earth observation satellites provide vital information for research and for practical applications at the local, national and global level.

The advantages of satellite observations are that they are systematic and frequent and can be made uniformly over larger areas. Satellite observations contribute to monitoring global climate and environment and to mapping resources.

Within the last ten years, satellite observations have become an essential part of numerous activities, including weather forecasting, sea monitoring, monitoring of forest fires and deforestation, thematic mapping and polar studies.

Polar orbiting satellites, 800 – 1000 km above the Earth’s surface, are the most useful for Norway, because their orbits are closer together at the poles and therefore provide more coverage than they do at the equator.

The Norwegian Space Centre’s application programme has supported users, research communities and businesses in testing the potential of Earth observation from satellites. Priority is given to the development of applications having public benefit.