Germany: RapidEye has completed a contract to image 7.8 million sq. km of China ahead of schedule. The contract between RapidEye and the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) for the People’s Republic of China, was coordinated through their Chinese distributor Beijing Earth Observation (BEO). Even though the contract was only for 80% of the country, RapidEye has imaged China in its entirety (9.6 million sq. km) and it is now available in the RapidEye Library.
“What the Ministry wanted was an ambitious task. They wanted 80% of China, almost 8 million sq. km, with less than 10% cloud cover in a six month time window. I don’t think we even realised when we signed how challenging it would be,” said Massimilliano Vitale, Head of RapidEye’s Operations Department.
“When you look at the statistical cloud cover for this area, over half of it rides at about 70%. Finding the right pass to get a relatively cloud-free image is often done quite by chance,” continued Massimilliano.
“We have been using remote sensing for the last 10 years, and each year we have imaged parts of China. With such a large land mass, we have never been able to get the entire country imaged over one year. RapidEye has really been able to succeed here where other companies in the past have not,” stated Jihong Yang, Director of The Ministry of Land and Resources P.R.C. “RapidEye’s performance exceeded our expectations.”
The RapidEye system is able to return to any point on Earth daily. Over the past few months, the satellites could be repeatedly found over China. In order to insure successful delivery to the Chinese MLR, most areas of the country were imaged five and in some cases six times in order to fulfil the contractual requirements.