Air & Space Evidence

The World’s First Space Detective Agency


Sometimes Earth observation data can be difficult for a lay-person with no background and grounding in the technology to understand. How easy it is to understand usually depends on what technology platform it was taken from and the individual facts behind its use in each case. For example, some very high resolution Earth observation data is comparatively similar to aerial photos, whereas radar images could be useful evidence in a court case (because they do have the advantages of day and night and all weather capability), but these are generally much more difficult to interpret by a non-expert.

Broadly, Earth observation imagery fall into the following four main types.

  • Visible wavelength imagery. Comparable to conventional aerial photography and with a pixel size as small as 30 centimetres.
  • Near infrared imagery. Similar to visible wavelength imagery but reveals different features of the surface, especially different vegetation characteristics.
  • Thermal imagery shows a heat map of the surface being imaged.
  • Radar imagery shows the reflectance characteristics of microwave energy which in turn reveals the moisture content and the roughness of the area being imaged.

 Data Interpretation

As well as sourcing relevant Earth observation data we can also offer expert interpretation as to what an Earth observation image actually shows and its significance. Having an independent expert report as to the history of an image, its reliability, what it demonstrates, as well as its relevance, will be extremely important in any legal case where it is intended to be adduced as evidence.

 Data Investigation

An image typically has a high initial value in an investigation. However, many applications of Earth observation Imagery use algorithms to produce derived imagery products, for example maps of vegetation or pollution, and we can help you to assess the accuracy and the validity of how these algorithms have been used. This is especially useful when an audit of the processing steps is required.

 Expert Witness

Any expert who worked on an Earth observation image should also be prepared to be called as a witness to explain to a court the significance of the data, and to establish that the technology and methods used were based upon a solid scientific foundation. We can provide clients with an expert witness who can attend court to give valuable support to the evidence and the case. 



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