Brazil: Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE) released 2100 new satellite images of the Amazon and of the Northeast region on its website for users of mapping, cartography and natural resource evaluation services. The new images are of 20-meter resolution and cover approximately 74% of the country. They can be accessed at ftp://geoftp.ibge.gov.br/Alos
The images were obtained by PALSAR (Phased Array L-band SAR), a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) which operates within the L-band range. This kind of radar imager sensor is especially useful due to its capacity of generating images even in regions covered by clouds, which is a frequent situation in the North and Northeast regions of the country. Moreover, the images orthorectified by IBGE have a double polarisation, what allows a better interpretation of the information contained in the images.
PALSAR is one of the sensors onboard the ALOS satellite, launched by the Japanese spatial agency (JAXA) in January of 2006. 17 states will be covered by the images, totalling an area larger than 6.3 square kilometres.