News of the WeekEnvironmental Monitoring

Spy Satellites Give Scientists A Sharper Image of Field Sites

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Science  24 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5939, pp. 377
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_377a

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For the past decade, the National Civil Applications Program at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has maintained a library of scientifically useful images taken by intelligence-gathering satellites that have been available only to federal scientists with security clearances. Last week, USGS posted 1199 pictures, taken at 22 environmentally significant sites across the continental United States and six around the North Pole, with a resolution up to 30 times sharper than what scientists could obtain from commercial satellites.