NOAA Satellite Information System

NOAA Satellites
Typical Detail and Resolution

Chicago, Illinois as observed from a NOAA polar orbiting satellite. NOAA satellites are not designed
to provide highly detailed, "reconnaissance" satellite imagery. This is available from commercial
satellites, and must be purchased through commercial suppliers.

Satellite view of Chicago, Illinois

FAQ Answers

1)   How can I get satellite pictures of my house, my town, or some area so I can see buildings, streets, and similar details?

NOAA cannot provide these pictures. The NOAA satellites cannot provide this detail. These satellites were designed for observing weather systems and similar large features. The smallest distance the NOAA satellites can resolve is 1 kilometer (a little more than 1/2 mile) under the best conditions. Very detailed satellite images usually must be obtained from commercial sources, for a fee. These would include, but are not limited to Space Imaging, Orbimage SPOT Image, and others. Some very detailed satellite images over the United States can be found on the Terra Server. [NOAA does not endorse these suppliers or the content of their sites.]


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