Capabilities of PlanetObserver – Part 3: Satellite Image Color Correction

PlanetObserver highligts its capabilities in Satellite Imagery Color Correction.

Capabilities of PlanetObserver – Part 3: Satellite Image Color Correction

Satellite imagery is a powerful tool for understanding our planet. At PlanetObserver, we specialize in transforming raw satellite data into a visually compelling, scientifically accurate, and annually updated global 10-meter imagery mosaic, PlanetSAT Basemap.

In this third installment of our “PlanetObserver Capabilities” series, we delve into the intricate process of satellite image color correction, a blend of algorithms and human expertise that results in vivid, seamless mosaics.

When a satellite captures an image, it records data as pixels. Each pixel corresponds to a specific wavelength of light, whether in the visible spectrum (Red, Green, Blue - RGB) or beyond. These raw pixels lack the harmonious colors we associate with landscapes. Our task is to translate these data points into something our eyes recognize. This meticulous process not only requires a deep understanding of color theory but also a profound respect for the natural appearance of the Earth's surface.

At PlanetObserver, transforming raw satellite images into the stunning visuals of our PlanetSAT Basemap is a blend of science and skill. Through careful steps based on smart algorithms, we make sure our final global mosaic is as beautiful as it is true to life.

Step 1 - Algorithmic Foundations of Satellite Image Color Correction

1. Mosaic Creation: We begin by selecting high-quality satellite images from our main data sources that are Sentinel-2 satellites. Algorithms stitch these images together, creating a continuous mosaic. Clouds and other artifacts are meticulously eliminated through a process of integrating multiple images from varied time frames, resulting in a pure and cloud-free visual canvas. This method ensures the creation of a consistently clear and uninterrupted view of the Earth's surface.

2. Color Balancing: Algorithms adjust the RGB channels to achieve color balance. But here’s where our expertise shines. Our 30 years of expertise and skill come in handy as we fine-tune these algorithmic adjustments, ensuring that the colors accurately represent reality. It’s a delicate balance between precision and aesthetics.

Step 2 - Seam Removal

Satellite image color correction is not a simple task, neither is creating a unified image from numerous individual tiles. One of our key challenges is achieving seamless transitions between image tiles. Automated systems sometimes leave visible seams, disrupting the overall mosaic. Our graphic designers meticulously blend adjacent tiles, ensuring that the Earth’s surface appears continuous and natural. This is a key step in the overall color correction process as

Step 3 - Color Consistency

Color consistency is crucial for the integrity of the global satellite imagery mosaic. Variations in shadows, haze, and different atmospheric conditions can introduce color distortions, compromising and weakening the representational accuracy of the imagery. It's here that our team's expertise becomes indispensable. By manually adjusting for these inconsistencies, we achieve a level of color fidelity that algorithms alone cannot replicate, ensuring that our depiction of the Earth remains true across the entire span of the mosaic.

The richly detailed PlanetSAT view versus the standard Google Maps presentation of the Rhone River Delta, France.

Bruno’s Insights

Bruno, our head graphic designer with more than 20 years of experience in color correction and enhancement, shares his insights on satellite image color correction:

“Natural color processing is a fascinating interplay of science and art. Algorithms lay the groundwork, but it’s the human touch that breathes life into the pixels.”

“Our 10m resolution PlanetSAT global mosaic is a testament to this collaboration. It’s not just about correcting technical imperfections; it’s about creating an authentic view of our planet.”

Quality Control: The Final Check

Our commitment to excellence concludes in our precise quality control process. Every segment of our mosaic undergoes detailed examination to ensure that it meets our high standards for color accuracy and clarity. This final stage of review is essential, eliminating any residual technical flaws and affirming our dedication to producing imagery that not only is eye catching, but also serves as a reliable source of geographic information.

At PlanetObserver, our approach to satellite image color correction is defined by a commitment to accuracy, beauty, and the subtle interplay between technology and human insight. Through our dedicated efforts, we strive to present the Earth in its true colors, offering a window into the incredible diversity and detail of our planet's surface. Keep an eye out for the next installment of our Capabilities series, where we'll explore our Global Digital Elevation Model, coming soon!

Learn more about PlanetSAT 10m Basemap