Earth Imaging Journal: Remote Sensing, Satellite Images, Satellite Imagery
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Used for agricultural monitoring, this color composite of the Gambia River comprises ALOS and Envisat radar data from 2010. Yellow areas represent stable vegetation or settlements, while blue areas are unstable.

To monitor and evaluate agricultural development in Gambia, one of Africa’s poorest nations, satellites are mapping crops and land cover.

Named after the river that traverses the country from east to west, Gambia is the smallest nation on mainland Africa. Most of the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood, but the country’s land is constantly subject to soil erosion, degradation and seawater intrusion from the Atlantic Ocean. Irregular rains are also responsible for frequent crop losses.

Together with the Swiss Earth observation service provider Sarmap, the European Space Agency (ESA) is supporting the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development by mapping the whole country using radars on multiple satellites. These include observations from Japan’s ALOS satellite, Italy’s Cosmo-SkyMed mission and historical data from ESA’s Envisat satellite. The project is establishing a baseline to understand current agricultural practices and document changes from year to year.

Image courtesy of ESA/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency/Sarmap.

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