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There are more than 4,800 satellites orbiting Earth. They bristle with sensors – trained towards Earth and into space – recording and transmitting many different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation.
Governments and media corporations rely on the data these satellites collect. But artists use it too, as a new way to image and view the Earth.
Geoscience - Australia - Digital - Earth - Australia
I work with Geoscience Australia and the "Digital Earth Australia" platform to produce time-lapse images and video of Australian landforms using satellite data.
My Open Air project, produced through a collaboration with Australian painter Emma Walker and the music of The Necks, features macro-photography of Emma Walker's paintings set against time-lapse satellite imagery of Australia.
Open - Air - Canberra - September
Open Air will be launched in Canberra on September 20, 2018.
We see satellites as moving pin-pricks in the night sky, or occasionally – as with the recent return to Earth of the Chinese Tiangong space station – as streaks of light. And most us would have heard about satellite data being used for surveillance, for GPS tracking and for media broadcasting.
Artists - Data - Approach - Ways - Earth
But artists can divert satellite data away from a purely instrumental approach. They can apply it to produce new ways of seeing, understanding and feeling the Earth.
Of course satellites are expensive to launch and maintain. The main players are either powerful corporate providers like Intelsat, enormous public sector agencies like NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), or private sector startups with links to these groups.
Agencies - Data - Public
Luckily, many of these agencies make their data freely available to the public.
The NASA/US Geological Survey Landsat program makes 40 years of Earth imaging data available through Earth Explorer. The ESA provides data from their Sentinel satellites to users of the Copernicus Open Access Hub.
Australia - Geoscience - Australia - Digital - Earth
In Australia, Geoscience Australia's Digital Earth Australia platform provides researchers and the public with access to Australian satellite data from a range of agencies.
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