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A new source of Sentinel imagery—Xerra Gateway

By November 11, 2019No Comments

Today marks the launch Xerra Gateway, our New Zealand satellite data repository. Check it out here: gateway.xerra.nz

Improving access to Earth observation and satellite data, and developing products and services that deliver insights from this data, helps support evidence-informed decision and policy-making throughout the regions, and has an important role to play in the growth of New Zealand’s space economy.

Xerra Gateway is built in partnership with Geoscience Australia and the European Union’s Copernicus Programme. The site provides local scientists, researchers, and remote sensing and GIS specialists with easy access to Sentinel satellite imagery of New Zealand.

Our have spent time re-designing the user interface, improving both the search and download processes. Although the site is tailored to those in the science and remote sensing communities, the new interface ensures the public and citizen scientists can easily search the comprehensive archive of satellite images over Aotearoa.

The site also boasts faster download speeds, in comparison to other Sentinel data hubs. Dr Moritz Lehmann, our Senior Scientist at Xerra, has used the site regularly throughout its beta phase.

“Xerra Gateway is my first stop when looking for data from Copernicus’s Sentinel satellites,” says Dr Lehmann. “The interface is easy to understand and I like that the large browse images provide an immediate impression of the suitability of the images. One real advantage is that data from Xerra Gateway downloads way faster than from the Copernicus Hub hosted in Europe.”

Dr Lehmann is using the Sentinel images he downloads to monitor New Zealand’s lakes for water colour and the presence of cyanobacteria. This work is vital in helping councils increase the coverage and frequency of lake health monitoring in their region. Currently only 3% of Aotearoa’s lakes are regularly monitored for water quality. We want to help make every environmental monitoring dollar stretch further, and expand water quality monitoring to every lake in New Zealand.

Other applications for Sentinel satellite imagery can include sustainable forest management (deforestation detection, forest type classification and biomass estimation), mapping the colour of the Earth’s surface, measuring wave height, recording ocean and land surface temperatures, and climate monitoring.

Anyone can access the satellite data archive by visiting gateway.xerra.nz and creating a free login. From there it is easy to search and download images from the past years, months and days.  Xerra Gateway is regularly updated with new imagery of New Zealand, often within six hours of the Sentinel satellite overpasses.