Satellite Remote Sensing has been a standard first step for the mineral and petroleum exploration industry. Satellite imagery from satellite sensors such as GeoEye-1, WorldView-2, QuickBird, IKONOS, ASTER and LANDSAT 7 +ETM have benefited geologists, scientists and exploration managers in earth sciences due to the advantage of large scale mapping and the sensors containing multiple band colors which allows them to interpret wavelengths that cannot be seen by the human eye, such as near infrared, short wave infrared and thermal infrared to identify the difference in structural features of the earth's surface.
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IKONOS Satellite Image of Mining Operations in Nevada
Multispectral imaging and thematic mapping allows researchers to collect data of reflection and absorption properties of soils, rock, and vegetation. This data could be utilized to interpret actual surface lithology to identify clays, oxides and soils from satellite images.
The use of satellite imagery in mineral exploration, generally a combination of panchromatic and multispectral image data has been used in mineral and petroleum industries over the last decade. With higher resolution satellite sensors increasing over the last decade such as GeoEye-1 (0.41m) and WorldView-2 (0.46m) both providing panchromatic and multispectral full color imagery that is used to utilize enhanced spectral analysis for mapping, monitoring and analyzing landcover classification and extraction of culture data, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) classification and mapping, lithological classification, change detection, environmental monitoring, development, land-use planning, visualization and simulation environments such as digital elevation models (DEMs) and 3d terrain modeling.