Key Takeaways

  • A stunning 80-trillion-pixel cloudless view of Earth has been created.
  • The image was made from satellite images taken by the Sentinel-2 satellite.
  • The project aimed to create the first global cloud-free mosaic using the available data.
  • The image can be used as a background for mapping applications and other projects.
  • The team hopes to improve the map with data from the new launch of Sentinel-2B.

Prepare to be mesmerized by an extraordinary image that offers an unobstructed view of our planet Earth. With over 80 trillion pixels, this stunning interactive picture reveals the beauty of our world without a single cloud in sight. The awe-inspiring image was meticulously crafted from satellite imagery captured by the Sentinel-2 satellite over a period from May 2016 to April 2017.

The masterminds behind this remarkable project are the experts at EOX, a German mapping firm. Their goal was to create a global cloud-free mosaic utilizing the newly available data from Sentinel-2. To achieve this feat, nearly 250 terabytes of Sentinel-2 data were meticulously processed using homebrew software, specifically developed by Joachim Ungar and Stephan Meißl, on powerful Amazen servers.

The resulting image serves not only as a breathtaking visual spectacle but also as a valuable resource for various mapping applications. EOX envisions it being used as a background layer for other projects. This cloud-free map of Earth opens up new possibilities for exploration and analysis, as it allows for a clear and unobstructed view of the planet’s surface.

To eliminate the clouds from the image, a combination of cloud masks and a pixel selection algorithm was employed. The algorithm aimed to identify pixels without clouds or cloud shadows from a time series. The creators decided to showcase Earth during the peak of summer, when vegetation flourishes. However, due to variations in cloud coverage, different time spans were used for different regions. The Northern hemisphere data ranged from May 2016 to September 2016, the Southern hemisphere data covered November 2016 to March 2017, and the tropical regions included data from May 2016 to April 2017.

The team behind this groundbreaking project has ambitious plans to further enhance the map. They intend to incorporate data from the launch of Sentinel-2B, which took place in March 2017. With the addition of more recent satellite data, the map will continue to evolve, offering an even more detailed and comprehensive cloudless view of our magnificent planet.

In conclusion, this stunning 80-trillion-pixel cloudless view of Earth presents a unique perspective on our planet’s beauty. It not only showcases the incredible potential of satellite imagery and advanced processing techniques but also serves as a valuable resource for mapping applications and future projects. With its remarkable level of detail, this awe-inspiring image invites us to explore and appreciate the wonders of our world in a way we’ve never seen before.

Check out some of the stunning images from the mosaic below, and view a full scrollable version right here.

San Francisco Bay Area as seen by the satellite. The team’s software was able to scour millions of images to pick the ones, like this, that have no clouds in them to add them to the mosiac
Some of the cloudless images: Left, Brokopondo Reservoir, Suriname Right, an overhead shot of Brawley, USA showing the incredible neat fields farmed in the area
A river basin in Chad (left) and the Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina
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