Use of commercial aerial photography and satellite images during exercise "Strong Resolve"
Elevated sensors with imaging capabilities have been used by the military for approximately 150 years. Cameras onboard balloons, airplanes and satellites have given information of vital importance to different nations through the years. For the last 30 years, images from commercial optical satellites have been available and used by nations not able to have their own photo satellite. At FFI there have been projects on investigating military use of commercial optical satellite images since 1989. The first satellite investigated was SPOT with a resolution of 10 meters, suitable to analyse infrastructure. In 1999 the IKONOS satellite with a resolution of 1 meter was launched into orbit, and objects of the size of a car were detected. In 2001 the commercial optical satellite QUICKBIRD became operational with a resolution of 0.6 meters, after the American congress introduced a new lower limit of resolution of 0.5 meters. For the exercise Strong Resolve 2002, aerial images in different resolutions down to 10 cm were obtained. These were investigated for use in planning. Satellite images from both IKONOS and QUICKBIRD were ordered to be taken while the exercise was held. The images were later used to investigate the ability to detect military units participating in the exercise.