Earth from Space: Okavango River

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
April 5, 2013
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Earth from Space: Okavango River
Okavango River

An area covering northern Namibia and southern Angola is pictured in this Kompsat-2 image from 3 January. Running across the image, the Okavango River forms the border between Namibia to the south and Angola to the north.
This river originates in Angola, and flows south east where it eventually fans out to create an inland delta in Botswana. The delta is a popular tourist destination boasting a variety of wildlife such as elephant, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, crocodile, hyena, rhinoceros and baboon.

The brushstroke-like green terrain surrounding the river indicates where vegetation grows in and around the water. The river plays an important role in the local economic activities, such as farming and tourism, and the fish are a major source of nutrition for the local population.

Zooming in on the upper left corner, dots of white and other bright colours near a road show rural settlements. The red soil typical of many tropical and subtropical areas of Africa is also evident.

In the lower-right corner, we can see large-scale, circular agricultural plots up to about 600 m in diameter. The white lines running through the circle could be maintenance roads.

Even with high-resolution optical imagery, it is not always easy to know exactly what the image shows. For example, in the agricultural areas there appear to be hedges drawing the shape, but also small dots of vegetation within many of the fields. These dots could be single trees, or even vegetation growing on top of large termite hills.

The Korea Multi-purpose Satellite (Kompsat-2) of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute acquired this image on 3 January 2013. Launched in 2006, it was developed to ensure continuity with its predecessor, Kompsat-1.

ESA supports Kompsat as a Third Party Mission, meaning it uses its ground infrastructure and expertise to acquire, process and distribute data to users.

Hi-res image.

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.