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Satellite Imagery

Satellite images are photographs of the earth or other planets made from artificial satellites. Satellites orbiting Earth have orbit elevations and time intervals to cover the globe and image the same area.

Satellites may have active or passive sensors. Passive sensors use reflected sunlight (solar radiation) to record objects on the ground and send digital image data in several spectral bands to the receiving stations on earth. These systems have multi-spectral scanners to collect data. Active satellites record reflected radiations which the sensors will send to the earth surface.

The BC Digital Imagery Service (DIS) warehouse has several series of imagery in its inventory, including Canadian RADARSAT 1 and 2.

Product Details

The DIS Warehouse has the following types of satellite imagery:

  • Landsat5 and 7
  • SPOT5
  • Quick Bird
  • IRS

Product details vary by year and satellite type. Because of the varied types of images and the constantly changing uses to which the imagery was applied it would not be practical to list all product detail here.

The Metadata supplied with the search results will provide the product details.


Image formats are in TIFF and ECW.

Projections are BC ALBERS and UTM.

Image specifications are determined by the imagery suppliers. These specifications can be determined from the supplier's respective web pages. For further information on specifications for satellite imagery please visit the respective suppliers web pages.


Some imagery such as Spot5 satellite images require special licensing to view. These licenses must be obtained from the image providers. The province maintains an inventory of these specialized images for various programs that are doing work related to geological or environmental study.

Other satellite imagery such as Landsat 5 and 7 do not require special licenses and can be viewed on request through the Base Map Online Store.

How to Acquire

Search using Base Map Online Store Discovery Tool


Satellite images
viewable, no charge

Search and order using the Base Map Online Store

Before using the Base Map Online Store:

Please review the following introductory materials before proceeding to the BMOS site: