NASA's flagship Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra satellite was launched in 1999 and began sensing in March 2000 coincident with the first major field campaign of the Southern Africa Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI 2000). Terra's five sensors were used to support SAFARI 2000 studies on the southern African environment, and SAFARI 2000's ground, aircraft and independent satellite data sets were used in turn to validate and improve the remote sensing products derived from Terra. In this article, we review southern Africa's natural and cultural features that we believe formed an optimal environment in which to test the EOS program (including new sensors, products, validation, scientific research, education and outreach). Through the course of the text, we reference and summarize the articles in the SAFARI 2000 Special Issue to highlight the natural links between remote sensing science and the subcontinent's characteristics. We also note contemporary forces of change in the southern Africa landscape whose impacts will challenge the remote monitoring capabilities of future sensors and scientists. The article concludes with a brief description of SAFARI 2000 data resources and access provisions.
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Document Type: Research Article
Biospheric Sciences Branch, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Department of Geography, University of Maryland, College Park, and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre, Code 614.5, MD 20742, USA
Publication date: 2005-10-10
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