Satellite imagery and aerial photography have proven to be important tools in support of mineral exploration projects. They can be used in a variety of ways. Firstly they provide geologists and field crews the location of tracks, roads, fences and inhabited areas. This is important for mapping out potential access corridors for exploration areas and considering the environmental impact of large project. The satellite map data is also useful for mapping outcrops and regolith systematics and vegetation cover across exploration blocks and over regional areas.
The Morenci satellite image above is an open-pit copper mine in southeast Arizona is North America's leading producer of copper. This processed and interpreted ASTER image used short wavelength infrared bands to highlight in bright pink the altered rocks in the Morenci pit associated with copper mineralization.
Satellite images can also benefit geologists, scientists, and exploration managers due to the multiple bands that the satellites carry which allow them to interpret wavelengths that cannot be seen by the human eye. Near infrared, short wave infrared, and thermal infrared can be used to identify the difference in structural features of the earth's surface.
Multispectral imaging and thematic mapping allows researchers to collect reflection data and absorption properties of soils, rock, and vegetation. This data could be utilized by trained photogeologists to interpret surface lithologies, identify clays, oxides, and soil types from satellite imagery.
In the example above, the left image displays visible and near infrared bands 3, 2, and 1 in red, green, and blue (RGB). Vegetation appears red, snow and dry salt lakes are white, and exposed rocks are brown, gray, yellow and blue. Rock colors may reflect the presence of iron minerals, and variations in albedo. The middle image displays short wavelength infrared bands 4, 6, and 8 as RGB. In this wavelength region, clay, carbonate, and sulfate minerals have diagnostic absorption features, resulting in distinct colors on the image. For example, limestones are yellow-green, and purple areas are kaolinite-rich. The right image displays thermal infrared bands 13, 12 and 10 as RGB. In this wavelength region, variations in quartz content appear as more or less red; carbonate rocks are green, and mafic volcanic rocks are purple.
Satellite Imaging Corporation (SIC) provides high resolution satellite maps for analysis and mapping applications such as Geographic Information System (GIS). Our imaging, Geographic Information System (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS), and geodesy experts are highly experienced in image processing, orthorectification, georeferencing, feature extraction, and mosaicing for your specific project needs.
For many image requests, a matching image can be located in our global archives of satellite imagery. If no satellite map data is available in the archives, new satellite image data can be acquired through a satellite tasking process. Besides providing image data, Satellite Imaging Corporation performs many tasks in the background to ensure that we meet customer specifications and time schedules.
Satellite image data has been used by government, commercial, industrial, civilian, and educational communities throughout the world. The data is used to support a wide range of applications in such areas as global change research, agriculture, forestry, geology, resource management, geography, mapping, hydrology, and oceanography.