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sentinel2_polar_limit

Selling the smell of food

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Although i did not explicity mention this when writing my Sentinel-2 review i assumed that Sentinel-2 offers a significantly larger coverage in the polar regions than Landsat (where it regularly ends at 82.66°) due to the wider swath it records. I have to correct this. The way ESA writes about the matter could have made me suspicious and you should always verify things claimed in marketing texts of course:

  • here they write: Coverage: Systematic coverage of land and coastal areas between 84°N and 56°S
  • here they write: from 56° South (Isla Hornos, Cape Horn, South America) to 83° North (above Greenland)
  • here they write: from 56° South (Isla Hornos, Cape Horn, South America) to 84° North (above Greenland)
  • here they write: between latitudes 56° south and 83° north

The southern limit is non-technical of course – original plans did not include recording regularly in the Antarctic but ultimately some areas have been included. The interesting part is in the north. The cited formulations are just marketing blurbs but the above Greenland is of course just hilarious in its ambiguity.

So what’s the real limit now?

The authoritative source should be the Mission Requirements Document where it says on page 25:

All land areas between 56° South latitude (Cape Horn in South America) and 84° North latitude (north of Greenland)

Ok.

But what’s the real limit now?

Well:

I measure 82.81°

Since NASA sometimes gets confused with feet and meters – maybe ESA is measuring in Gradian

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