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Sentinels helping to map minerals

20 March 2018

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The traditional way of mapping Earth's geology and mineral resources is a costly and time-consuming undertaking. While satellites cannot entirely replace the expert in the field, they can certainly help – as a recent effort in Africa shows.

Geological maps identify different types of rock, faults, groundwater and deposits. They are not only essential for building infrastructure and assessing risk, but also important for locating and mining natural resources.

ESA has recently supported a pan-African initiative to collect, interpret and disseminate satellite information on geology and mineral resources such as metallic ores.

Source: ESA

Image credit: GAF - Examples of layers used for mapping. Details of the geological mapping layers for the Western Sahara demonstration area. From top to bottom: Sentinel-2 natural colour composite, Sentinel-2 principal components analysis, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission-based elevation and the resulting geological map at 1:50000 scale.

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