Satellite Imagery

Satellite images are photographs of the Earth taken by artificial satellites. Satellites have individual orbits, elevations and time intervals to image the globe.

Satellites may have active or passive sensors. Passive sensors use reflected sunlight to record objects on the ground. Active sensors record signals reflected directly by the Earth’s surface.

Satellites send digital image data in several spectral bands to receiving stations on earth. These systems use multi-spectral scanners to collect data.


The B.C. Government’s digital imagery warehouse has several series of images in its inventory, including Spot-5 and Spot-6, IKONOS, Landsat 5, 7, and 8 and those taken by Canadian satellites RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2.

Imagery specifications vary by year and satellite type and are determined by the imagery suppliers.


Most satellite images require a special license to view. These licenses must be obtained from the image providers. The Province of B.C. maintains an inventory of these specialized images for various internal government programs doing work related to geological or environmental study.

To inquire about satellite imagery please contact