First annual coverage of France by SPOT 6
Thanks to the SPOT 6 satellite, complete coverage of France with a resolution of 1.5 m was produced in less than a year. This unprecedented performance opens the door to annual monitoring of changes across the country and is the result of a partnership between Airbus Defence and Space, IRSTEA, IGN and CNES.
In 2014, IGN decided to take up a major challenge, which was to publish nationwide coverage within the year from SPOT 6 even though its twin, SPOT 7, was not yet operational. Mission successful. To achieve this result, the partners and Airbus agreed to programme the satellite over the 22 regions of metropolitan France during the period from March to October (limiting it to the summer period for the mountain regions): Airbus DS and the operational teams at IGN worked together to validate the coverage as the work progressed, eliminating cloud cover through redundancy between the images obtained.
With SPOT 7 and the Pléiades twins, SPOT 6 is one of four satellites in the optical Earth observation constellation operated by Airbus Defence and Space. It delivers images with a pixel size of 1.5 m. By comparison with aerial imagery, and although less precise in terms of detail, this coverage offers the advantage of being more up-to-date and more uniform. It is above all capable of far more frequent updating.
Access to this recent reference data is open to all and it can be accessed on the IGN Geoportail as well as that of Geosud. The images taken by SPOT 6 were processed so that they could be superimposed over maps in addition to offering a realistic visual rendering which is close to the natural colours and harmonised between all the administrative regions.
The idea of covering France every year, whether for research purposes or to provide data for public land use planning policies or environmental monitoring, was initiated in 2010 by IRSTEA (French national research institute of science and technology for environment and agriculture) and its partners in the Maison de la Télédétection (AgroParisTech, CIRAD, IRD) as part of the GEOSUD project, funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR). IGN contributed its expertise in space sensors to the project.