AWS Adds Satellite Imagery to Public Data Set

More than 85,000 government satellite images are now available for public consumption on the Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) public data set.

The imagery comes from the Landsat Project, a joint endeavor between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA that's described as "the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data."

The project provides imagery from more than 40 years of monitoring, serving as an important data source for researchers and others working on disaster relief, agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping and global change research projects, the USGS site says.

"As a joint initiative between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA, the Landsat Project and the data it collects support government, commercial, industrial, civilian, military, and educational communities throughout the U.S. and worldwide," the site says.

Satellite imagery data has been available from the government for free since 2008, but providing the resource through AWS lends itself to easier access on the part of researchers, developers and others.

"Because the imagery is available on AWS, researchers and software developers can use any of our on-demand services to perform analysis and create new products without needing to worry about storage or bandwidth costs," said AWS exec Jed Sundwall last week in a blog post.

To that end, he pointed out third-party tools updated expressly for that purpose, such as the open source landsat-util library updated by Development Seed so it can access Landsat data via AWS.

Other companies that have been working with the Landsat data in tests with AWS have come up with visualization and constantly refreshing map projects, among others.

AWS is hosting on GitHub the scripts used to acquire and process Landsat data, which includes imagery from the Landsat 8 satellite, launched in early 2013.

Instructions on how to access the data are available on the Landsat on AWS site.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.


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