QuickBird Overview - Satellite Image, Remote Sensing
QuickBird Overview

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Mission

The QuickBird satellite collects both multi-spectral and panchromatic imagery concurrently, and 60cm Pan-sharpened composite products in natural or infrared colours are offered. Strips up to 250 km in length can be collected in a single pass.

DigitalGlobe’s QuickBird satellite provides the largest swath width, largest on-board storage, and highest resolution of any currently available commercial satellite. QuickBird is designed to efficiently and accurately image large areas with industry-leading geolocational accuracy. The QuickBird spacecraft is capable of acquiring over 75 million km2 of imagery data annually (over three times the size of North America), allowing the archive to be populated and updated at unprecedented speed.

QuickBird Technical Summary

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Coverage

QuickBird's on-board tape recorder gives world-wide coverage.

Product Levels

DigitalGlobe panchromatic, multi-spectral and colour products enable superior image classification and analysis based on discrete spectral bands and 11-bit information depth. Typically, customers utilize 4-band imagery for image classification and analysis, while Panchromatic and Pan-sharpened imagery is used for visual analysis and for GIS and Mapping applications that support the standard GeoTIFF format.

Imagery products are offered at three levels:

  • Basic Imagery

  • Standard and Standard Ortho-ready Imagery

  • Orthorectified Imagery

Panchromatic imagery is collected in 11-bit format (2048 gray levels) and delivered in 16 bit format for superior image interpretation (shadow detail, etc.), or 8-bit format (256 gray levels) supported by GIS and mapping applications. Four-band multi-spectral imagery consists of blue, green, red and near-infrared bands, delivered in 16-bit and 8-bit formats. In addition, Pan and Pan-sharpened Imagery is available at 60 or 70-centimetre resolution.


Basic Imagery Products

Basic Imagery products are the least processed of the QuickBird Imagery products and are designed for customers having advanced image processing capabilities. Basic Imagery, together with the supplied attitude, ephemeris, and camera model information, is suitable for advanced photogrammetric processing (i.e., orthorectification).

Processing

Basic Imagery products are radiometrically corrected and sensor corrected, but not geometrically corrected nor mapped to a cartographic projection and ellipsoid. Image resolution varies between 61-centimeters (at nadir) to 72-centimeters (25° off-nadir look angle) for panchromatic products, and 2.44-meters (at nadir) to 2.88-meters (25° off-nadir look angle) for multi-spectral imagery. Note that the resolution varies across the field of regard depending on the viewing angle of the acquired image. Basic Imagery products are not available with pan-sharpening.

The radiometric corrections applied to this product include: relative radiometric response between detectors, non-responsive detector fill, and a conversion for absolute radiometry. The sensor corrections account for internal detector geometry, optical distortion and scan distortion. The sensor corrections account for line-rate variations and mis-registration of the multi-spectral bands, but do not account for the mis-registration of the panchromatic and multi-spectral bands.

Each scene in a Basic Imagery order is processed individually, therefore multi-scene Basic Imagery products are not spatially nor spectrally mosaiced.

Accuracy

The Basic Imagery product is essentially 'geometrically raw'. However, when the data are processed with the supplied refined Image Support Data (ISD), a horizontal geolocational accuracy of up to 14-meter RMSE (23-meter CE90%), excluding any topographic displacement may be achieved. Basic Imagery products may be processed by a supported commercial software applications package, which utilize the ISD associated with the image.

Physical Structure

Basic Imagery products are delivered as one or more full scenes. Each panchromatic Basic Imagery scene is 27,424 rows by 27,552 columns after processing, while the multi-spectral Basic Imagery scene is 6856 rows by 6888 columns. The Basic Image scene has a minimum area of 272 km2 (16.5 x 16.5 km) at nadir.

An order polygon that falls entirely within a single scene will result in a full Basic Imagery scene being delivered.

An order polygon which intersects several scenes will result in the delivery of each complete intersected scene.


Standard Imagery Products

Standard Imagery products are suitable for users requiring modest absolute accuracy and/or small area coverage. Users of Standard Imagery products usually possess sufficient image processing tools and knowledge to manipulate and exploit the imagery for a wide variety of applications.

Processing

Standard Imagery products are radiometrically corrected, sensor corrected, geometrically corrected, and mapped to a cartographic projection.

Standard Imagery products are available as panchromatic with a 60 or 70-centimeter resolution, multi-spectral with a 2.4 or 2.8-meter resolution, or pan-sharpened (4-bands or 3 bands with natural or infrared false colour) with a 60 or 70-centimeter resolution. All Standard Imagery products have a uniform pixel spacing across the entire product.

The radiometric corrections applied to this product include: relative radiometric response between detectors, non-responsive detector fill, and a conversion for absolute radiometry. The sensor corrections account for internal detector geometry, optical distortion, scan distortion, any line-rate variations, and mis-registration of the multi-spectral bands.

Geometric corrections remove spacecraft orbit position and attitude uncertainty, Earth rotation and curvature, and panoramic distortion. Additionally, a coarse DEM is used to normalize for topographic relief with respect to the referenced ellipsoid. The degree of normalization is relatively small, so while this product has terrain corrections, it is not considered orthorectified.

An Ortho-Ready Standard product is also available, without use of the coarse DEM, which allows ortho-rectification with accuracies comparable to those obtained from Basic Imagery.

As the Standard product is not mosaiced, one image file will be delivered for each strip the polygon intersects.

Accuracy

All Standard products may achieve an absolute geolocation accuracy of up to 14-meter RMSE (up to 23-meter CE90%), excluding any topographic displacement. Ground location is derived from refined satellite attitude and ephemeris information without requiring the use of Ground Control Points (GCPs).

Physical Structure

Standard Imagery products are area based and may be ordered by the square kilometer. The minimum order area is 25 km2 for archived data and 64 km2 for new acquisitions (100 km2 for Rush Tasking). The maximum is 10,000 km2 (2,500 km2 for Rush Tasking)

Standard Imagery products are delivered as one image file for each strip the order polygon intersects. If the order polygon intersects more than one strip, the


Orthorectified Imagery Products

Orthorectification of imagery removes topographic distortion and therefore provides greater positioning accuracy.

These products are GIS-ready and ideally suited as an image base map for creating and/or revising mapping and GIS databases, or for registering existing feature layers. These products can also be used for change detection and other analytical applications that require a high degree of absolute accuracy. Orthorectified products require a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and Ground Control Points (GCPs). Generally these will need to be provided by the customer.

Processing 

Orthorectified Imagery products are radiometrically corrected, sensor corrected, orthorectified, and mapped to a cartographic projection and datum. Orthorectified Imagery products are available as multi-spectral with 2.4 or 2.8 metre resolution, or panchromatic or pan-sharpened with a 60 or 70-centimetre resolution.

Accuracy

Accuracy depends on the number and quallity of the ancillary data (DEM and GCPs) provided.


Product Options

Panchromatic Products

QuickBird panchromatic (black and white) products are based on 61-centimeter resolution (at nadir) and 11-bit collected information depth. The panchromatic sensor collects information at the visible and near-infrared wavelengths and has a bandwidth of 450-900 nm.

The output resolution of the Panchromatic product varies with product level. Basic Imagery is delivered at the Ground Sample Distance in which the data were collected (ranging from 61 cm at nadir to 72 cm at 25° off-nadir), while Standard and Ortho Imagery products are resampled to a 60 or 70 cm resolution.

Multi-spectral Products

QuickBird Multi-spectral products provide four discrete non-overlapping spectral bands and 11-bit collected information depth. The multi-spectral products cover the visible and near-infrared wavelengths in four bands. All four bands are delivered in one file.

The output resolution of the Multi-spectral product varies with product level. Basic Imagery products are delivered at the resolution in which the data were collected (ranging from 2.44 m to 2.88 m), while Standard and Ortho Imagery products are resampled to a 2.4 or 2.8 m pixel spacing.

Panchromatic and Multi-spectral Bundle

The QuickBird satellite collects both multi-spectral and panchromatic imagery concurrently, therefore customers have the option to order both panchromatic and multi-spectral products for the same area. When a customer selects this option, the products will be processed to the same product level, the same product parameters, and delivered as two distinct products (one containing panchromatic imagery and one containing all four multi-spectral bands) with two sets of associated Image Support Data (ISD) files.

Pan-Sharpened Colour Products

60 or 70-centimeter Pan-sharpened products, combine the visual information of the 2.4/2.8-meter multi-spectral bands with the spatial information of the panchromatic band. The options are:

  • 4 Bands (B, G, R, NIR)

  • Natural Colour composite ( blue, green,  red)

  • Colour Infrared composite (green, red, infrared)

Pan-sharpened Colour products are delivered as a single file. They are available only as Standard/Standard Ortho-ready or Ortho (not Basic) Imagery products.

Dynamic Range Adjustment (DRA)

DigitalGlobe offers customers a DRA option, which will visually enhance your QuickBird Imagery by performing color correction and contrast enhancement. This product is recommended for customers who do not have the tools to apply visual enhancements themselves, or who want an image stretched and ready to display straight out of the box. It is not recommended for customers intending to perform scientific analysis or spectral classification. The DRA option is offered on all 8 bit, Standard and Ortho-ready Imagery Products. 16 bit data is not offered with this option because software tools often require special handling when displaying 16 bit data, thus defeating the purpose of delivering easy to use, pre-stretched imagery.


DigitalGlobe™ CitySphere

  • 60 cm color imagery for 200 pre-selected cities worldwide, orthorectified by DigitalGlobe. These GIS-ready color-balanced mosaics of recent imagery are available as off-the-shelf products, ready for shipment within two business days following order confirmation. Affordable price and reliable update schedule will make CitySphere the new standard in imagery basemaps.

  • Full details here

Product Ordering

QuickBird products are either obtained directly from the QuickBird Archive or by tasking the spacecraft. There are three Commercial Tasking options for QuickBird Imagery products: Standard, Priority and Rush.

New Acquisitions

Tasking orders have multiple acquisition opportunities and customer-defined tasking parameters. If all collection attempts are unsuccessful, the customer will be contacted to cancel or re-instate the order (except for Rush Tasking).

Select Tasking

  • Entry level tasking option

  • Customers can set their own collection window or accept a suggested window

  • Available for all missions and Product Levels

  • Customer may define collection window up to 365 days

  • For QuickBird orders, a report of probability of success will be provided with the feasibility study. If the customer-defined window has a low probability of success, an alternative window will be suggested.

Select Plus

  • Offers a higher level of service and shorter collection windows than Select Tasking, especially in areas of high competition

  • Available for all missions and Product Levels except Basic Stereo Pair
    Customer may define collection window up to 365 days

  • For QuickBird orders, a report of probability of success will be provided with the feasibility study. If the customer-defined window has a low probability of success, an alternative window will be suggested.

Assured

  • Necessary satellite capacity will be allocated to fulfill Assured Tasking orders within the agreed collection window

  • If Assured Tasking orders are not successfully acquired within the specified window, customers will be given the option to either:
    receive free ImageLibrary data for an area equivalent to the unfulfilled order, or
    extend the order. Customer will be given an updated collection window for the unfulfilled portion of the order polygon

  • Assured Tasking is available for QuickBird only, for all Product Levels
    Customer may define collection window up to 365 days, but if the customer-defined window has a low probability of success, the suggested window must be used to confirm the order.

Single Shot

  • Highest service level for customers with an immediate need for new imagery or for a specific acquisition date

  • Available for QuickBird only, for all Product Levels except Orthorectified
    Customer may define a window of 1 – 14 days
  • A feasibility report will be provided with the first feasible access date within the customer-defined window

  • Orders are guaranteed to be shot once confirmed, and must be collected in a single pass

  • There is no cloud cover guarantee with this option


Archive Ordering

In addition to tasking the satellite, customers may order QuickBird Imagery products directly out of the QuickBird Archive. Minimum order for Standard products is 25 km2

A Rush from Archive option is also available


Cloud Cover

Cloud Cover is calculated on the intersection between the ordered area and the whole acquired strip; if over 20%, the strip is considered unusable and tasked again.

It might happen that, if the strip is produced with scene-based framing, some scenes could have cloud cover over 20% (see below). This is normal and is not a reason to reject a cloudy scene.

Cloud cover

Acquired strip: less than 20% cloud
cover over order area

Scenes produced: although the first may have more than 20% cloud cover, the scene is considered valid

 

Rush tasking orders are not evaluated for cloud cover. It is the customer’s responsibility to choose dates where he is confident to get fewer clouds.

For archive orders it is the customer’s full responsibility to verify the cloud cover of the selected strips over the ordered area.


Background

DigitalGlobe™ successfully launched its QuickBird satellite on the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle on October 18, 2001.

In December, 2000, DigitalGlobe received a license from NOAA to operate a 0.5 metre resolution satellite system. The company was able to modify its plans for QuickBird to increase the resolution of the satellite from the originally planned 1-metre resolution imaging system to a 61-centimetre system by adjusting the orbit in which the satellite is flown.

The result is that the panchromatic resolution is increased from 1-metre to 61-centimetre and multi-spectral is from 4-metre to 2.44-metre resolution. QuickBird’s design enables it to operate properly at the lower altitude and the satellite carries enough fuel so that its mission life is not reduced. This means QuickBird is the world’s highest resolution commercial satellite.


Eurimage Territory for QuickBird products

Eurimage is the Master Distributor for Quick Bird products for customers in Europe and the Mediterranean basin (excluding non-international organisations in Italy)

The Eurimage QuickBird Territory includes the following Countries:

Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Byelorussia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Fyrom/Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montecarlo/Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, S. Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican.

Eurimage reserves the right to change the above list at any time.

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Source: http://www.eurimage.com