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NEO: interpretation and processing of satellite imagery into useful information

NEO is an innovative independent Dutch company, established in 1996 and
based in Amersfoort, The Netherlands.

NEO is an innovative independent Dutch company, established in
1996 and based in Amersfoort, The Netherlands. The focus of the company
is to apply satellite imagery in management of infrastructure and
environment, as well as in agriculture and forestry. NEO assists both
new and experienced users of remote sensing in the supplying of
satellite imagery and software to process images and especially of
knowledge: NEO’s most important activity is the interpretation and
processing of satellite imagery into useful information. This includes
technical processing and development of processing chains as well as
consultancy consultant for customers who can make use of remote sensing
technology in their line of business. Further information can also be
found on


Remote sensing technology can be applied in many different fields. NEO’s expertise includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Natural resources mapping and monitoring;
  2. Environmental information systems;
  3. Environmental monitoring;
  4. Environmental impact assessments;
  5. Environmental profiles;
  6. Forest mapping , inventory and monitoring a/o for certification prurposes – Mapping and monitoring in infrastructure management and development;
  7. Soil humidity monitoring;
  8. Coastal zone management;
  9. Digital elevation models;
  10. Satellite image/orthoimage map production;
  11. Digital cartography;
  12. Photogrammetry;
  13. Image processing;
  14. Site investigations;
  15. Risk-assessments;
  16. Inspection & control

Satellite imagery distribution

The sale of satellite imagery is a service
NEO provides to its customers. The sales activity is based on a
long-standing experience and well maintained knowledge of satellites,
ground stations, etc. as well as personal contacts across the globe
with key-persons in this field who can facilitate the access to data.
Of course, modern Internet technology is at NEO’s full disposal for
searches in international archives.

NEO can provide data of all earth
observation satellite systems through our network of contacts or refer
customers to affiliated image providers, in case the customers prefers
to handle purchases himself. NEO acts as the official distributor for
The Netherlands of European Space Imaging GmbH, EURIMAGE, SPOTIMAGE,
EUROMAP and others.

For the Benelux NEO has branded satellite
image products ranging from SAT1 to SAT100, the number indicating the
pixel size in meters on the ground. E.g. the brand SAT1 indicates a
product with a “better than one meter resolution” satellite image that
is cloud free acquired at off-nadir angels smaller than 15 degrees, and
orthorectified in the national grid.

Value adding and image processing

has an industrial approach towards the pre-processing of satellite
images and is used to handle large volumes of data. In 1997 NEO
produced its first series of 40 separate map sheets of satellite image
maps. The data throughput is at least doubling every year. In. 2004
over 6,000 images and image map sheets have been produced and sold.

NEO also interprets satellite imagery or
combines it with data from other sources such as digital thematic maps
and terrain models to get into more complex processing routines for the
extraction of information from the imagery. Direct visual
interpretation of satellite imagery e.g. for land use or vegetation
mapping is still a very common practice for NEO.

Algorithms for analysis of time series of satellite observations are
NEO’s intellectual property. Image segmentation algorithms have been
customised for specific objects and shapes. A specific method has been
developed for sensor independent (true-) colouring of imagery to render
it accessible to non-experienced users.

Of course NEO is also active in the last
stages of value adding, such as map production, numerical modelling
e.g. in yield forecasting and GIS-applications development. In early
project phases NEO can assist in collecting field data, GPS-services

Change Detection, Mutatis Mutandis

The development of high resolution satellite imagery based innovative products has been the focus for NEO’s R&D activities
since 1996. Since 2002 change detection products have become a
routinely produced product from NEO in map and database updating for
e.g. 20 municipalities and 5 water management councils in The
Netherlands. The Netherlands are a small country with a large number of
GIS-users and geo-databases. In this country every single map object on
every map changes at least once every 20 years. NEO has concluded that
it is technically feasible to identify and qualify these spatial
changes from high resolution satellite observations. Obviously for
every spatial change is there is more than one customer. A business
model and technical infrastructure is being implemented in 2005-2007
for the commercialisation of these Mutatis Mutandis products. MutMut is
also the name of one national and one international programme led by
NEO for technical innovation in this area with universities and
knowledge institutes.

Soil Moisture and its use

The Technical University of Vienna has
successfully developed algorithms to retrieve soil moisture information
from spaceborne scatterometers (a type of radar). NEO has developed
over the last 7 years methods to assimilate this numeric soil moisture
information in crop forecasting, drought early warning, flood risk
assessment, etc. In 2006 a series of operational spaceborne sensors
will become available which by than is the basis for a new line of
service provision to customers in this area.

Forest Monitoring

NEO has been active in forest monitoing
since 6 years in developing countries but also in Europe and The
Netherlands. The services provided in this area are rather variable.
One example is the Kyoto Protocol Verification on a national scale
(Netherlands and Norway), another example is the Carbon-Tradable-Offset
Montoring for initiatives in forestry also under the KYP.
A third example is the monitoring of sustainable forestry activities by
international forest companies regarding their certification under the
Forest Stewardship Cuncil.

Training by NEO

NEO has provided over 10 short training
courses in earth observation and image processing. These courses have
been delivered in English, French and Dutch. The earth observation
training activities NEO has performed, usually take place in the
framework of projects and are therefore practical in nature. The
training always involves on-the-job-training and hands-on experience
using either NEO’s image processing and training facilities or
facilities with the Customer. Training is supported by curricular
materials, etc. and visits to our partners with ITC and various

(Images credits and text by NEO)