Digital Earth Africa incorporates analyses ready radar data for the continent

Information from Digital Earth Africa

Digital Earth Africa has made Copernicus Sentinel-1 radar satellite data available in an analysis-ready format within the Digital Earth Africa platform. Radar satellite imagery is not affected by cloud cover, making it beneficial to countries in tropical and equatorial regions which experience frequent cloud cover.

The data is open access and free through the Digital Earth Africa Map and Sandbox, and will aid users’ ability to map and monitor water, crops and land cover.

European company Sinergise processed the Sentinel-1 radar data from 2017, which is captured every 12 days, totalling approximately 50 000 scenes every year. From now on, the radar data will be routinely processed for the entire continent, with the Digital Earth Africa platform providing a time-series of information.

It will be processed according to Analysis Ready Data (ARD) specifications developed by the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS). ARD reduces the barrier to use, allowing thematic specialists in areas such as land cover, forest management, agriculture and water resources to apply the data.

While satellite radar data has many uses, the applications traditionally call for high levels of expertise in pre-processing and interpretation. CEOS has been developing ARD specifications since 2016 to allow data to be processed in an easier to use and interoperable format. The Normalised Radar Backscatter is the simplest product as it allows changes through time to be detected.

Digital Earth Africa provides a free six-week self-paced training course. You can also find more information on the data specification in the Digital Earth Africa Docs.

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