Norway provides free access to high-resolution satellite data

29 September 2020

GFOI partner Norway will provide universal access to high-resolution satellite data of the tropics as part of efforts to stop the destruction of the world’s rainforests. The Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) will fund Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) and its partners Planet and Airbus to deliver the service.

The service will provide satellite image mosaics with a spatial resolution of 4,7m x 4,7m every month from September 2020 until at least September 2022, with the possibility of an extension to September 2024. Historical imagery will also be made available for every 6 months from December 2015 onwards.

This represents a historical step forward for the forest monitoring community. “This will revolutionize global forest monitoring. Better insight into what is happening in the rainforests will enhance efforts to protect these priceless ecosystems”, said Sveinung Rotevatn, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment.

 It has traditionally been difficult to access high-resolution satellite imagery, owing to the high purchase costs and limitations in technology and capacity. Thanks to this service that will no longer be the case. Anyone around the world will be able to use this imagery to see how forests are changing, even in very small and remote areas. Governments, researchers, investors, journalists, NGOs, local and indigenous communities will have unprecedented access to high-resolution imagery to enhance their forest monitoring activities and efforts to preserve tropical forests.

This announcement is the result of a comprehensive procurement process initiated last year and is part of Norway’s multi-billion dollar contribution to halting deforestation in the tropics and addressing global climate change. In parallel, Norway is working with other GFOI partners to improve tropical forested countries’ access and capacity to use satellite imagery in their National Forest Monitoring Systems (NFMS). This includes the geospatial platform SEPAL and several capacities building activities developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Norway is also a major funding partner for the GFOI Office.

 The service will include both historical data and frequently updated data over the coming years. The new mosaics will arrive regularly every month and be completely free of charge..

More in detail the new resources will include:

- free monthly visual optical cloud free mosaics of all tropical landmasses as a global public good

- free monthly downloadable surface reflectance mosaics that are available upon registration and accept of user terms, limited to non-commercial use for the purpose of reducing and reversing tropical forest loss, contributing to combating climate change, conserving biodiversity, contributing to forest regrowth, restoration and enhancement, and facilitating sustainable development

- historical mosaics stretching back to 2015

"We hope that this will be a useful resource for the forest monitoring community. For data to be useful, it must be transformed into actionable information. We rely on you, the community of practitioners and your network of partners, to make the most of our investment" said Andreas Dahl-Jørgensen, Managing Director of NICFI.

The full service will be made available at the end of October. Until then, a teaser of monthly mosaics stretching from August 2020 to August 2018 has been made available here and in SEPAL. The contract has a duration of two years with an option for extension for a further two years.

Read more in Norway’s official press release

For technical questions and clarifications, please contact [email protected]