Friday, May 26, 2017

Live Satellite Images of the Earth


I've lost count of the number of times I've been asked whether I know any maps with real-time satellite imagery of the Earth. The short answer is that we aren't quite there yet. There is no map that can show you real-time satellite imagery of the whole Earth. However there are websites that can show you satellite imagery which was taken just a few hours ago.

NASA and USGS' Landsat 8 completes an entire picture of the world every 16 days. Mapbox's Landsat-live map actually uses the latest Landsat imagery to provide one of the most up-to-date satellite maps of the whole Earth.

Landsat-live uses the latest Landsat 8 satellite imagery to provide a near real-time satellite view of the Earth at 30 meter resolution. Because the map uses the most recent Landsat 8 satellite imagery many locations around the world will be affected by cloud cover. If you find your town is obscured by clouds you can always return to the map in 16 days time to see if the next pass of Landsat 8 has provided clearer imagery.


Japan's Himawari-8 satellite is in stationary orbit over New Guinea where it captures some truly amazing imagery of the Earth. Every day the satellite captures imagery of the western Pacific, Australia, and parts of Asia, Antarctica & Alaska.

There is no live feed from Himawari-8 but you can view time-lapse animations of the latest Himawari-8 satellite imagery on Himawari-8 Real-time Web. Himawari-8 Real-time Web includes views of Earth that were actually taken today. You can also use the calendar to view historical imagery from Himawari-8 for any other date.


You can also view some of today's imagery of Earth captured by Landsat 8. NASA's FarEarth Observer displays near-real time imagery from Landsat 7 and Landsat 8.

Using the menu to the right of the map you can select to view recordings of the Earth which were captured today. As the recordings play you can see the moving imagery of the Earth that was captured by Landsat 7 or 8. The small inset map shows you the moving position of the satellite at the time of the recording as the satellite orbits the Earth.
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