A Cloud-Free Satellite Map of Earth

A cloud-free view of vegetation patterns across the world, stitched together from data from NASA and other government sources. It’s Earth as not even astronauts get to see it—completely without clouds. Software developed by startup Descartes Labs stitches together daily satellite images into a live map of the planet’s surface and automatically edits out any cloud cover. That makes for a nicer view, and also helps algorithms that automatically track changes in land use or vegetation. The company says its software can make better forecasts of America’s corn crop than the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Descartes Labs was founded to commercialize image-recognition software developed for satellite and aerial imagery at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The software has been trained to identify features of Earth’s surface such as agriculture, water features,…


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