The effects of climate change are becoming more and more apparent as each day passes by. Changes in habitat distributions, uncontrollable and devastating forest fires, severe floods, strong earthquakes and damaging landslides, these are only a few of the natural disasters that occur in a matter of hours and are increasingly becoming harder to monitor.
But if anyone can do it, this would be Google. The tech giant is currently working with two start-ups to develop a system, that will allow the ever-so-needed real-time monitoring of the earth surface using numerous small satellites, which will provide constant imaging, displayed via Google Earth.
The system is currently being developed by two companies, which have the common aim to send as many small satellites to space as possible. By doing this, the same spot on Earth will be photographed several times a day, providing numerous amount of images. What makes this even better is that the guys mean business. This is not simply the next crazy idea, which we will hear once and forget about.
In fact, 28 of these small satellites were already sent into space two days ago by one of the companies, Planet Labs. Each of these small satellites, also referred to as “Doves”, will provide images with a pixel size between 9×9 and 15×15 feet. These images will be complimented by another series of pictures with much finer 3-foot resolution, which will be acquired by 24 slightly larger satellites currently under construction by Skybox Imaging, the second start-up, with an anticipated launch date sometime in November.
As soon as the whole network of satellites is set up, the two companies will start providing the images commercially, helping governments tackle natural disasters and changes in biodiversity much faster and more effectively. Yes, monitoring changes that occur in a matter of seconds will not be possible, but the technology will definitely bring the much needed up-to-date information about all these areas that were simply impossible to access and monitor now. Image (c) Planet Labs