The mountains are calling and I must go, and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.

- John Muir

Qiusheng Wu, University of Tennessee Traditionally, access to satellite data has been limited to researchers and professionals with expertise in remote sensing and image processing.

However, the increasing availability of open-access data from government satellites such as Landsat and Sentinel, and free cloud-computing resources such as Amazon Web Services, Google Earth Engine and Microsoft Planetary Computer, have made it possible for just about anyone to gain insight into environmental changes underway. I work with geospatial big data as a professor. Here’s a quick tour of where you can find satellite images, plus some free, fairly simple tools that anyone can use to create time-lapse animations from satellite images. For example, state and urban planners – or people considering a new home – can watch over time how rivers have moved, construction crept into wildland areas or a coastline eroded.


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