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There’s nothing like a high-resolution satellite image to convey how beautiful our Earth is. They are also wonderful educational tools to explore the geographical changes our planet goes through.
But where can you find them? And if you were to find them, could these satellite images be downloaded to your desktop? Actually, yes! There are several geospatial websites that can help us out. Try these three free solutions.
Earth Explorer is run by the US Geological Service. The high-resolution maps and datasets are specific to the country but are detailed and informative. The information is collated from sources like the Landsat remote sensing programme as well as NASA’s Land Data Products and Services.
You can use a combination of query options to comb through the United States Geological Survey (USGS) archives and download the datasets.
The European Commission (EC) along with the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the world’s largest global Earth observation program. Data from the Sentinel satellites is provided free of cost through an open access hub on the site. You do need to register to download the satellite images.
The high-resolution images are offered to the general public under a Creative Commons IGO license. The quality is better than the images from the USGS.
Also look into the Sentinel Hub Playground which helps you to use a GIS interface and explore and download full-resolution images from Sentinel-2.
Worldview is a powerful application that allows you to browse high-resolution satellite images almost in real-time. As the screenshot above shows, you can use the features on the site to set a timeline and download the map with its underlying datasets.
Also, try the unique nighttime layer (Earth at Night) to explore how Earth looks after sunset with lights switched on. Take a snapshot and download the imagery to your desktop.
There’s Google Earth (and Google Maps) too. Today, you can load Google Earth in a browser and find out more about the world we live in, but these satellite imagery tools also give you a few extra layers of interesting information to explore.