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How to access satellite images?

There are a number of ways to access satellite images, depending on the specific satellite mission and the corresponding data policy. In general, we can define two classes of satellite images:


1. Free satellite images, including the collections available online (see Links below). Sometimes it requires a minimal registration through the specific website. This class is fast and increasingly growing in particular with the freely available data from the Sentinel-fleet ( and Landsat images ( ).

The acquisition and distribution of satellite images of  this class are mainly organized by space agency’s (e.g. ESA or NASA) and/or national institutions (e.g. DLR), running the satellite missions. Satellite images of this class mainly contain low to high resolution images without space for user-specific modifications.

2. Commercial satellite images, provided by private companies. There is an increasing amount of Earth observation data from commercial companies. 

Satellite images of  this class contain high (1-5m) and very high spatial resolution images (0.3-1m) with user-specific possibilities for adaption. For access to commercial satellite images and to check the data coverage of commercial satellite missions, please contact the NPOC (


Due to the increasing amount of freely available time series of satellite images, cloud computing is becoming more and more important. Several providers offer easy access to these data and the processing thereof (e.g. Copernicus’ DIAS ( ), Amazon Cloud (, Microsoft Azure (, Google Earth Engine ) either directly with an interface of the cloud or via APIs.