Five years of observations from tandem satellites produce 3D world map of unprecedented accuracy – TechCrunch

Over the last few years two satellites have produced a 3D topographic map that’s exact to a single meter. This map is better than any other large-scale map currently in existence. Its use is free to researchers. The resolution and accuracy of the map is powerful, but the satellites will continue to update the data as long as their power lasts. Exact topographical data is necessary for all geological research.

Key Takeaways:

  • The immense database — some 2.6 petabytes — is available for free to researchers.
  • TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X are twins created by the German Aerospace Center
  • the first was launched in 2007 and the second in 2010. Once aloft, they found each other and began flying in formation

“Together, these two spacecraft circled the globe over and over, their interferometric radar instruments scanning the same areas from slightly different angles, like two super-acute eyes in the sky.”