Astronaut-acquired orbital photographs as digital data for remote sensing: spatial resolution
Astronaut-acquired orbital photographs (astronaut photographs) are a useful complement to images taken by orbiting satellites. They are in the public domain, and have been particularly useful for scientists in developing countries, as supplementary low-cloud data, and for studies requiring large numbers of images. Depending on camera, lens and look angle, digitized astronaut photographs can have pixel sizes representing areas on the Earth as small as 10 m or less, although most photographs suitable for digital remote sensing have pixel sizes between 30 m and 60 m. The objective of this paper is to provide a practical reference for scientists in a variety of disciplines who want to use astronaut photographs as remote sensing data. The characteristics of astronaut photography systems that influence spatial resolution are detailed and previous image acquisitions relative to these elements are summarized. Methods are presented for estimating ground coverage under three different levels of assumptions, to meet accuracy needs of different users. Of the more than 375 000 photographs taken to date, at least half have the potential to be used as a source of digital remote sensing data.
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