Unique abilities of Earth Observation Satellites

Inherent wide area observation capability

Offering synoptic views of large-scale phenomena, and placing in-situ measurements in the global context required for the observation of many environmental and climatic phenomena.

Non-intrusive observations

Allowing collection of data to take place without compromising national sovereignty in the way that ground-based measurements or airborne remote sensing might.


In that the same sensor may be used at many different places around the world (some of which are inaccessible, making in-situ measurements infeasible).

Rapid measurement capability

Allowing sensors to be targeted at any point on Earth, including remote and hostile areas.

Regular revisit capability

Resulting in up-to-date information.


With single sensors or series of sensors providing long time series of data suitable for climate studies.

Good spectral resolution

Allowing objects to be discriminated on basis of their electro-magnetic characteristics.

Good spatial resolution

Allowing objects as small as half a meter to be recognised.

Possibility of stereo viewing

Allowing extraction of three dimensional properties.