A Satellite’s-Eye View Over Africa

This year the small team of ex-NASA scientists, engineers and developers at¬†Planet Labs¬†will have launched enough satellites into orbit to capture images of the entire planet every day of the year. Known as Doves, their Earth-imaging satellites are shoe box-sized and are released from the International Space Station to complete their mission of sending invaluable same-day imagery back to the San Francisco-based startup. Planet Labs believes in ‘using space to help life on Earth’; in¬†utilising space technology and computer systems for good and making the collected data universally accessible for commercial, governmental, environmental or humanitarian purposes. Here we take a Dove’s-eye view trip through Africa starting over Morocco’s Anti-Atlas mountain range, heading east and then south, ending above Delmas in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province.

Ighil M’Goun (M’Goun mountain) in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco
Ighil M’Goun (M’Goun mountain) in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The glacier-carved ridgeline is a remnant of the last Ice Age.
Anti-Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Complex drainage patterns in the Anti-Atlas Mountain range, Morocco
Star Dunes, Algeria
Star Dunes sculpted by the shifting winds of western Algeria.
Rhourde el Khrouf, Algeria
Rhourde el Khrouf oil field in the Grand Erg Oriental (Great Eastern Sand Sea), Algeria.
Tripoli, Libya
Tripoli Harbour, Libya
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Wadi Dib, Egypt
Wadi Dib Ring Complex, Egypt. The circular structure is the result of an upwelling of magma that solidified into a series of different rock types, each with a distinct colour.
Shebelle River, near the village of Booco, Somalia.
Fire at Lake Turkana, Ethiopia
Fire at Lake Turkana, Ethiopia
Greenhouses in Subukia, Kenya
Greenhouses near the the Rift Valley town of Subukia sheltering thousands of roses, Kenya.
Rufiji River, Tanzania.
Rufiji River, Tanzania.
Betsiboka Estuary, Madagascar
Betsiboka Estuary, Bombetoka Bay, Madagascar.
Eastern coastline of Madagascar
Eastern coastline of Madagascar.
Swakopmund, Namibia
Swakopmund, Namibia.
The Notwane River (or Ngotwane River), Botswana
The Notwane River (or Ngotwane River), Botswana.
Orange River, South Africa
Orange River, South Africa.
Pretoria, South Africa
Tshwane, South Africa.
Delmas, South Africa
Just outside of Delmas, South Africa.

With creative thinking at the forefront of operations at Planet Labs, they also, somewhat surprisingly, offer a three month artist-in-residency program inviting visual artists to work alongside their team.


Photo: NASA
One of Planet Labs’ ‘Doves’ Photo: NASA


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