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INPE reaches the mark of 1 million images distributed free

October 2nd, 2009. A pioneer in free images distribution by internet of low resolution satellite data, INPE exceeded on Monday (Sept. 29th) the mark of one million images.

A pioneer in free images distribution by internet of low resolution satellite data, INPE exceeded on Monday (Sept. 29th) the mark of one million images.

The free data policy adopted by INPE became Brazil a worldwide model in Earth Observation Field, making the Remote Sensing a tool of easy access. The success of this pioneering initiative has taken other countries, as the United States, to make available free low resolution orbital data.

The free distribution through internet has started in June, 28 2004, with CBERS-2 images. Later on, INPE made possible the free access to historical images of LANDSAT satellites. Presently, the Institute of Remote Sensing Data Center, located in Cachoeira Paulista (SP), has images of satellites CBERS-2 and 2B and Landsat 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 as well, available to anyone in the world who wants to access it.

Out of the total distributed, the CBERS Programme is responsible for 716,889 images. From LANDSAT family was distributed 283,123 images.

Brazil has one of the oldest satellite image sets of the world, due to LANDSAT data it has been receiving since 1973 through INPE’s station in Cuiabá (MT). Launched in 1972, the Landsat-1 was the first orbital remote sensing equipment of earth resources, so that Brazil is the third country to receiving this kind of image, being behind the United States and Canadá only.

The Latin America countries that have been embraced by Cuiabá’s station, are the most privileged ones and pretty soon the African countries also will be able to count on free images of their territories, because a memorandum was executed for the reception of China Brazil Earth Resource Satellite in the Canary Islands, South Africa and Egypt, and, it has been in negotiation the installation of an antenna for Gabão as well.


In charge of more than 70% of the free images distributed by INPE, the CBERS Programme was conclusive for spreading out the use of orbital remote sensing. Recently, INPE made a survey to evaluate the level of satisfaction of the users regarding the CBERS image quality as well as the quantity of people hired to work on satellite data.

The survey results let clear that the free image diffusion of satellite images helped to expand in a strong way, the number of Brazilians that make use of the space programme. 15,000 out of the registered users, 3,470 answered the quiz and, from these, 1,100 confirmed to have gotten a help in the making of their paper due to CBERS images availability. Another important discovery of this survey is that more than the half stated that did not use satellite images before having access to CBERS images from INPE.

Responsible for setting up a free access policy, INPE’s director, Gilberto Câmara, considers that “the free data offer, allows a much better earth resources management of our planet, what is important in times of global changes.

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