TerraColor was created primarily from imagery captured by the Landsat 7 (ETM+) remote sensing satellite from 705 kilometers (438 miles) above the earth during the 1999-2003 time frame. The product was developed from public domain Landsat mosaics developed for NASA and individual Landsat scenes from the US Geological Survey. Use of this accurate, high quality imagery as a base greatly reduced the cost of creating a global dataset, and enables us to provide TerraColor at affordable pricing.
In 2005, Earthstar Geographics developed the first version of TerraColor using proprietary techniques that combine the outstanding information content of the Landsat sensor with a "natural" color scheme. The imagery is virtually seamless and generally has higher contrast and more vibrant color than other products, making it simple for anyone to interpret. As a complete off-the-shelf product, anyone from professionals needing an orthorectified global basemap to someone who just needs a snapshot of an area can use TerraColor with ease.
TerraColor is a "living" product because, unlike most other vendors, we continue to improve the imagery. In the late 2000's this included the development of a detailed land/ocean mask, bathymetric shaded relief ocean fill, and the addition of Antarctica Landsat imagery. More recently, we embarked on a major upgrade program to reduce cloud cover and improve overall image quality, and this will continue into the near future.
Note: To fill out a complete dataset including the polar regions, lower resolution imagery from the MODIS sensor was used to cover areas where the Landsat satellite has no coverage. These are generally 82-90 degrees north or south of the equator. Some of these areas may be improved with better imagery in the future as part of our ongoing upgrade program.
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