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Friday, September 22, 2017

Sentinel-2 cloudless mosaic: the first global (almost) cloud-free view of planet

EOX IT Services, an Austrian Open Source solution provider for Earth Observation services, has implemented a methodical process crafting an almost cloudless Sentinel-2 map of the world

About 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface is covered by clouds any given day. Imagery obtained by satellite sensors operating in the visible light range is constantly constrained by clouds blocking the view of the surface of the Earth and shadows obscuring or distorting features on the ground. These shadows and clouds can often ruin the acquired satellite imagery in regards to requirements. So how can we get a global cloud-free view of the Earth through using Sentinel-2?

The EOX IT Services Sentinel-2 cloudless mosaic has been viewed more than 450,000 times during the last two weeks on the company’s website. This Sentinel-2 cloudless layer combines over 80 trillion pixels collected under various weather conditions between May 2016 and April 2017 (images of Northern hemisphere’s mosaics were taken between May and September 2016, while the Southern hemisphere images were taken between November 2016 and March 2017). The pixels were then merged into a sunny homogeneous mosaic, free of any cloud cover.

Almost 250 Terabytes of free and open Sentinel-2 data were “crunched” pixel by pixel using fully automated in-house software developed by EOX combined with other Open Source tools. Another critical addition was the global archive of Sentinel-2 data made available by Sinergise, the Slovenian SME which has developed the Sentinel Hub data access platform, allowing EOX to craft this cloudless map of the world in a fast and economic manner.

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