Irish mosaic

The Sentinel-1A satellite takes us over to Ireland, in this multi-temporal colour composite of land coverage across the island.

With a coastline of 7500 km, Ireland is home to some 4.8 million people and a wealth of history and tradition.

Stretching 486 km from north to south and 275 km across, Ireland is washed by abundant rainfall all year, coating the country in omnipresent emerald-green grasslands.

The coastal mountain fringes in the west, northwest and east are composed mainly of granite, while old red sandstone predominates in the south. Many lakes, large bog areas and low ridges make up the very scenic lowland, as seen throughout the image.

This image was stitched together from 16 radar scans by the satellite during May 2015, and gives us an idea of the island’s land cover and use.

Different colours show changes that occurred within the 12 days’ coverage.

The blues across the entire image represent strong changes in bodies of water or agricultural activities such as ploughing.

The yellows represent urban centres, with the capital city of Dublin very distinct on the far middle right. An interesting feature is the many yellow ‘spots’ scattered throughout the entire island, visible even more clearly when zooming in. These clusters all represent farmhouses.

Vegetated fields and forests appear in green. The reds and oranges represent unchanging features such as bare soil or possibly rocks that border the forests, as is clear on the left side of the image, along the tips of the island.

Sentinel-1A has been in orbit since 3 April 2014. It is a polar-orbiting, all-weather, day-and-night radar imaging mission for land and ocean services, monitoring the marine environment and mapping water and soil surfaces, among other major applications. Its sister, Sentinel-1B, is scheduled for launch on 22 April.

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“Maps are like campfires – everyone gathers around them, because they allow people to understand complex issues at a glance, and find agreement about how to help the land.”