Commercially operated by DigitalGlobe
Launched in 2001, Quickbird is a high spatial resolution spaceborne sensor capable of panchromatic imaging at .61 cm. The sensor also has 4 multispectral bands with resolutions of 2.44 m at nadir. The imagery can sufficiently distinguish man-made features on the landscape and serve as an excellent base map for GIS applications. Regarding rangeland management, Quickbird imagery has primarily been used to classify vegetation types on a fine scale.
With Quickbird imagery and most other high spatial resolution commercial sensors, image acquisition can be expensive. Quickbird is a “tasking satellite” meaning it only gathers data on-demand and does not constantly image and archive the earth. Previously acquired Quickbird images are stored in DigitalGlobe's archive and can be purchased. Acquiring archived data is considerably less expensive than tasking, but may be limited depending on your area of interest and specific date requirements. Another potential drawback to QuickBird imagery is that its high resolution can be challenging to work with for very large (e.g. , bigger than 50,000 ac) landscapes.
Image source: Idaho Chapter of The Nature Conservancy
Quickbird image of a portion of The Nature Conservancy's Garden Creek preserve in Hells Canyon, Idaho. This image has been “pan-sharpened” where the 0.8m-resolution panchromatic image was used to enhance the resolution of the 2.4-m resolution multispectral imagery.
Image source: DigitalGlobe
Quickbird natural color 60cm image of Joshua Tree National Park, California.
Describe the sensor specifications such as spectral bands and wavelengths (e.g., in a table)
Quickbird imagery is recorded by the sensor in 11-bit radiometric precision (values from 0 to 2047), but is delivered in 8-bit (0 to 255) and 16-bit (0 to 65,535) products.
|4||2.44m (nadir)||0.760-0.900||Near Infrared|
Swath width is 16.5 km at nadir Tasked scene sizes are customizable and determined by the user
Because Quickbird is a positionable satellite, the resolution of the imagery will depend on how far off of nadir the satellite is looking.
450 km orbit altitude, sun synchronous, 1 to 3.5 days depending on latitude and off-nadir angle
2001 to present
There are costs associated with Quickbird imagery. Products can be purchased directly from DigitaGlobe or one of its many resellers. Use this link to explore both options: http://www.digitalglobe.com/purchase
Products from DigitalGlobe come in three processing levels:
3 bands or panchromatic:
Tasked orders will also have a minimum area - typically 100 km2. Quickbird is commercial imagery and its use and redistribution is restricted by licensing agreements. Ordered image can be retrieved from an FTP site or send through the mail on CD or DVD. When the image is purchased from DigitalGlobe, the level of licensing is selected specifying how many groups and customers are allowed to use the image.
Complete information on Quickbird products, specifications, tasking, and licensing can be found in this PDF document. http://www.digitalglobe.com/downloads/QuickBird-DS-QB-Web.pdf.
From DigitalGlobe, Quickbird imagery can be obtained in a Geotiff format making it user friendly for geographic information systems such as ArcGIS and common image processing software. Alternatively, images can be in NITF 2.1 or NITF 2.0, a format primarily used by the intelligence and military communities.
Quickbird images usually come in a user friendly Geotiff format, which is preferred because of its easy integration with GIS platforms like ArcGIS and image processing programs such as Erdas Imagine and ENVI. Geotiff images often come as one band per file. For the purposes of making it easier to handle, manipulate, and display the imagery, most people combine all of the separate image bands into a single, multi-band image file using an image-processing package. The size of the files will depend on the extent of the scene, but because of its fine resolution Quickbird data can be very large (1 GB or more).
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