RGB CubeSat Imager: monitoring change on earth with video

RGB Cubesat Imagers, and even video Cubesat imagers, are ideal instruments to monitor change on earth. These eyeballs in space are a vital source of business intelligence. Add to this a bit of artificial intelligence, big-data analytics, and cloud computing, and you are equipped to detect change faster make critical decisions where and when needed. This blog aims to assist you in understanding how video and RGB cubesat imagers can change your decision-making process.

The challenges of a changing world

We all know that we live in a dynamic world where the physical infrastructure and environment change rapidly. Some may even say that change is the only constant and becoming more and more unpredictable.

Daily, we see instantaneous damages due to human neglect or sabotage, increased traffic, commodity movement, and infrastructure expansion.  Furthermore, all of these actions need decisions, and we need to base decisions on timely information. And, there is no better way to decide when having the hard evidence in the form of a satellite image in your hands.

RGB Cubesat imagers can do just that, be your eyeballs from space. Additionally, a video cubesat imager brings dynamic and moving object analysis to the table, from monitoring vehicles, ships, trains, and aeroplanes to the 3D modelling of buildings, infrastructure, and the environment.

Video and RGB Cubesat Imagers, a visible eye in the sky

We all understand the value of multispectral and hyperspectral imaging from space. The various spectral layers add a dimension to Earth Observation that unlocks many applications from precision farming and forestry to land use and planning. However, rapid high-definition snapshots or even video from space within the visible spectrum unlocks the time dimension of imaging. It allows the monitoring and observation of change as it happens.

The next video is an excellent example of the value of eyeballs in space. Earth-I, with their Vivid-i constellation, is leading this field of Earth Observation.

One should note that for video from the space, the dwelling of the satellite may be required. This places additional constraints on the satellite bus.

From data to insight with RGB Cubesat imagers

Combining high-resolution RGB Cubesat imagers and advanced processing techniques are ideal for monitoring change on our planet.  With a deep understanding of image objects and the related domains, one can classify image features and make predictions with high accuracy by incorporating contextual geospatial layers.

Cubesat Imager: From Data to Foresight in 7 Steps
Cubesat Imager: From Data to Foresight in 7 Steps.

Capturing high-quality RAW image data is the first step. The next step is to index objects into specific categories. Remember, the type of objects you need to detect determines the resolution of your RGB Cubesat imager. As soon as you bring context to the detected object, identification of structures is happening. This allows you to probe the differences of objects in the same class. The next step in change monitoring is the classification of specific characteristics of the identified object or structure. Now you are creating awareness of a specific state.

Quantification of the current state is required to determine the magnitude of an event. Quantification is more than just counting objects; it encompasses the prediction of economic activities and socio-economic impacts. To next step is to learn from all of the information extracted by perceiving the environment under surveillance and taking decisions that optimize the outcome.

RGB Cubesat Camera
Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash.

Some changes are happening fast. You can see changes on a daily or even hourly scale, while others happen slowly. The shapes of features can also characterize changes, the number of objects, or non-normal levels of activity. The fact is that RGB and video Cubesat imagers are ideal for capturing this level of information at a high frequency.

Images in the visible spectrum are also ideal for identifying objects, such as ships, vehicles, and aircraft. Counting objects are beneficial when you need to determine economic or socio-economic impact. This process can be automated using the latest advancements in machine learning. Furthermore, these changes can be monitored over time and reported without a human in the loop.

RGB Cubesat Imager for mining
Photo by Sebastian-Pichler on Unsplash.

Using very high-resolution satellite imagery to calculate volumes of land features, open cast mine depth, heaps of extracted or stockpiled materials, or other three-dimensional objects, delivers unique insights from space about critical points in global supply chains, particularly for decision-makers in commodity markets.

High-resolution video Cubesat imagers can track moving objects and differentiate by type, vector, and speed of the identified object. This level of information can provide instantaneous situational awareness.

Another feature when using snapshot imaging is creating stereo pairs of objects, like large buildings or other environmental structures. These stereo pairs are transformed into 3D digital models to extract digital elevation models and land contours. This level of information is advantageous during a crisis, when planning new activities or when you need to understand the current situation in your city.

RGB or video cubesat imagers can’t always deliver the level of intelligence required on their own. Therefore, a combination of monitoring capabilities is required. In this case, one needs to fuse video and RGB Cubesat imager data with other data sets. From this, one can start distinguishing our typical pattern of life from abnormal events or start predicting hazardous events.

What to expect from Video Cubesat imagers?

Imagine you are a mining company with various open bit mines distributed across the globe, usually at remote places, and you need to manage hundreds of million dollars of assets. The value of obtaining a daily visible overview of activities could be immense. The same is true for harbours, airfields and urban management.

RGB or video data from space can deliver the capabilities required for various GIS strategies, from asset to impact monitoring.

With the TriScape200’s close to 1-m GSD imagery, one can obtain very high-resolution data. In this case, accuracy is essential to develop a deeper level of insight.  However, accessibility is critical to enable action within a limited time. Video’s and RGB imagery from Cubesats enables just that. Furthermore, with the option to perform onboard image correction and manipulation, the correct information can be delivered where and when in no time. Lastly, affordability of the data, and ultimately the information, is key to any satellite constellation providing imagery’s sustainability. From a technology perspective, RGB/video payloads, like the TriScape100 and TriScape200, are less complex than their multispectral counterparts and the image processing chain is also less demanding, making this technology very affordable.

Feel free to contact us for more information on our RGB and video payload solutions.