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Open Satellite Data for Disasters and Investigative Journalism

The recent ammonium nitrate explosion in Beirut, bushfires in Australia in early January and the ongoing fight against Covid-19 have all but one thing in common; the need for facts, data and analysis to understand and act responsibly. One of the better ways to mine data is through satellites and while sub meter resolution data might cost thousands of dollars, there are other ways to retrieve meter-level information for free. Today, I will be looking at some of the resources online that brings space right down to your fingertips.  One thing to note is that several people have already compiled such lists. GISGeography has list of 15 free satellite imagery data sources that interested parties can explore. It extends on the article I wrote in 2017 about satellite data for Nepal which also has information on different indices that can be done with band math to classify images. However, with the advancement of Machine Learning (ML), specifically on Deep Learning, we will probably see a lot o…

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