Space Imaging, the world’s only company to
offer commercially available one-meter satellite imagery, announced today that
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, Washington, D.C.)
and its partners in coral reef mapping have purchased more than $350,000 of
CARTERRA(TM) imagery collected by the IKONOS satellite.
The imagery will be
used to map, measure and, potentially, monitor U.S. shallow-water coral reef
ecosystems in the Caribbean and the Pacific Rim.

NOAA’s study is a result of an executive order signed by President Clinton
on June 11, 1998.
The intent of Executive Order 13089 is to “preserve and
protect the biodiversity, health, heritage, and social and economic value of
U.S. coral reef ecosystems and the marine environment.”
The IKONOS remote
sensing satellite was launched in September 1999 and provides NOAA with a new
technology to understand the coral reef habitat.

The Executive Order also established the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force.
March, the Task Force released a National Action Plan to Conserve Coral Reefs,
which ‘lays out a carefully considered, science-based road map to healthy
coral reefs for generations to come.’
For more information visit:

Dr. Steve Rohmann, a physical scientist for NOAA, and colleagues from
other federal, state, university and private organizations have nearly
completed coral reef mapping activities in the U.S. Caribbean and are
initiating similar activities in Hawaii, especially the northwest Hawaiian
More than 60 percent of the United States’ coral reef ecosystems are
located in the Hawaiian archipelago.
Of the estimated 17,000 square
kilometers of coral reef areas in U.S. waters, only about eight percent have
been meticulously mapped.
Rohmann’s project includes the use of IKONOS
one-meter resolution panchromatic and four-meter resolution multispectral
imagery to evaluate and map these areas.
NOAA research has shown that IKONOS
imagery has been found to have a depth penetration of up to 30 meters in clear

“The IKONOS satellite can be pointed to minimize sun glint over water and
maximize sunlight penetration and bottom feature visibility,” said Rohmann.
“That capability, combined with its spatial and spectral resolution, makes
IKONOS a powerful tool in any effort to produce accurate, georeferenced maps
of coral reef ecosystems.”

Rohmann goes on to say that, “Regardless of the imagery source, mapping
coral reef ecosystems is a challenging proposition.
Waves, clouds, materials
suspended in the water, water depth and sunlight affect the ability to see,
much less identify bottom features.
In many cases, little is known about the
islands and atolls where coral reefs occur.
As a result, any effort to
characterize the bottom features of these remote locales will take time.
Mapping coral reefs also requires funding.
In Fiscal Year 2000, NOAA received
approximately $1 million to map coral ecosystems.
At this time, it is
uncertain what we will receive in FY2001.”

Satellite technology from IKONOS holds promise for other coral
reef-related activities.
Monitoring the condition or health of coral reef
ecosystems over time is an important application of high-resolution satellite
Another untested use of high-resolution satellite imagery is the
assessment of the impact of hazardous material spills and shipwrecks on coral

Government-sponsored agencies, the media and consumers are beginning to
realize that in the year since its launch, IKONOS has proven its use as a
valuable tool for numerous applications.
Some of the satellite’s business
applications include emergency response and rescue, agricultural mapping and
planning, city planning, forestry, commercial and residential real estate, and
a variety of uses in provincial, state and local government.

About Space Imaging

Space Imaging is a leading supplier of visual information products derived
from space imagery and aerial photography.
The company launched the world’s
first and only one-meter resolution, commercial Earth imaging satellite,
IKONOS, on Sept. 24, 1999.
Other CARTERRA(TM) products are produced from the
Indian Remote Sensing satellites, the U.S. Landsat, Canada’s RADARSAT and the
European Space Agency’s ERS satellites.
Space Imaging also delivers
aerial-derived imagery products collected by its own Digital Airborne Imaging
System (DAIS-1(TM)).
For detailed information about Space Imaging, visit
their Web site at

About NOAA

NOAA’s mission is to conserve resources and to describe, monitor, and
predict changes in the Earth’s environment in order to ensure and enhance
sustainable economic opportunities.
For more information visit their Web site