Note: Hey, you know how you’ve been getting three of these Land Desk dispatches each week? And how they pile up in your inbox and you fall behind on your reading? I’m here to help! As of this week, the Land Desk will publish just twice weekly, usually on Mondays and Fridays (but not always). And I reserve the right to send you a third or even fourth dispatch if events and news warrant! If it seems like it’s not enough, please let me know, and I’ll increase the frequency again.
How does the saying go? “Give a guy a map and he’ll peruse for a day; give a guy Google Earth and he’ll waste his life away.” Something like that. Anyway, I’m Mr. Land Desk, and I’m a satellite map addict. I love the the things and could spend days—and sometimes have—virtually exploring mountains, deserts, and cities. Even more addicting are the layers some applications allow you to add: oil and gas wells, census stats and, featured in today’s dispatch, vegetation and moisture indices.
Lately I’ve been messing around with the Sentinel Hub Playground, which is, indeed, a playground for folks like me. You just punch in the name of where you want to go, and there you are. It’s not Google Earth—the resolution is far lower. But what it lacks in clarity and zoomability, it more than makes up for. First off, Sentinel Hub allows you to pick the date of the imagery you want to see (Google Earth imagery is usually a couple of years old or more). Second, you can view the maps through different lenses, like the Color Infrared (Vegetation) effect, or the Moisture Index.
And that allows you to get a sense of how the drought is affecting different places. I did some of this about a year ago to illustrate the concept of water inequality. Today, I’ve got a gallery of images to illustrate drought and water use—sometimes profligate. But that’s enough words. Let’s get to the pictures. Note: You can see the photos much better at LandDesk.org.
First, a color infrared image of southwestern Colorado, with red=vegetation.