Oldest Queensland Landsat Image
Captured on 29 July, 1972, this Landsat 1 image has the honour of being the oldest in Queensland’s satellite imagery archive. Landsat 1 had been launched only four days earlier. It was the first in a series of earth observation satellites that have captured valuable data and beautiful images for over forty years, including this part of Queensland’s Gulf Savannah region, near Georgetown. Remote sensing scientists will celebrate the launch of the newest satellite in the series, Landsat 8, on February 12, 2013.
Remote sensing technology has improved since the early days of Landsat. For example, the spatial resolution of the Landsat 1 sensor was 80m, more than twice that of more recent Landsat satellites. This means smaller features are not able to be seen as clearly in Landsat 1 imagery compared with Landsat 7. However, where there is a strong contrast with the surrounding landscape, even narrow features can be detected. For example, the Gulf Developmental Road can be seen as a thin white line across the top of the image. The Gilbert River can also be clearly seen in the centre of this image, while different soils, vegetation types and rock outcrops form patterns across the landscape.
NASA and the United States Geological Survey have made Landsat data freely available, including over 48 000 images across Queensland. Recently, Queensland scientists finished the lengthy task of downloading and processing all this available imagery. This rich archive of data will help scientists understand natural processes and detect change in the landscape over time.
This Landsat 1 MSS image was supplied by Geoscience Australia and processed by the Queensland Government Remote Sensing Centre. It is displayed with spectral bands 7, 5 and 4.
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Last updated 6 February 2013