Situational Awareness under all weather conditions

Today we highlight the radar based capabilities of CoSMiC-EYE. The radar cuts through the clouds and provides situational awareness under any circumstances. Often clouds obscure the view of optical satellites, as was the case at this location in the Netherlands on the 7th of April. On the last cloudless image of the 2nd of March no activity had started. Our radar analysis notified the customer about this activity already on the 20th of March and again on the 8th of April. A fully cloudless image could only be provided on the 9th of April. Therefore, the radar-based technology of CoSMiC-EYE created an alert almost 3 weeks in advance of the optical satellites.

A monitoring service should be weather independent to provide consistent and reliable reports. At the core of CoSMiC-EYE is a Sentinel-1 radar-based algorithm that can satisfy this constraint and serve customers worldwide under all weather conditions.

For all the insights on our radar technology, you can read our white paper here:

TPI Tuesday – New Crane Detected

CoSMiC-EYE allows monitoring works over extended periods of time.
Here, a zone located next to a gas pipeline in Paris was being monitored for ground leveling activities, which present a potential danger to pipelines. A crane has recently been installed in the area, and new structures are arising in that location. CoSMiC-EYE alerts gas operators of evolving threats near their network, allowing operators to regularly monitor the safety of their pipes where special attention is needed.

TPI Tuesday – Kingsday Edition 👑

This week we present a very Dutch TPI Tuesday, as tomorrow we are celebrating the birthday of our king, Willem-Alexander, in the Netherlands! It’s a national holiday, where the streets will be filled with orange-dressed people and decorations! 🤴🏻 🇳🇱

In this TPI Tuesday, you can see another very Dutch aspect, namely the tulip fields that are now starting to turn into very colorful pieces of land again🌷. This is an example of 50cm resolution optical satellite imagery – the quality of imagery that we also provide to our customers.

To our Dutch followers – We wish you a Happy and Sunny Kingsday! ☀️

TPI Tuesday – Easter Edition 🐰🥚

Usually, CoSMiC-EYE detects construction activities or excavators close to pipeline networks – but sometimes we also have very special detections. For one of our customers, we had detected an object close to the pipeline with the radar satellites, which was hard to recognize in the optical imagery. However, after an on-site visit by the operators of the customer, we learned that this customer saw that a chicken cage was put on top of the pipeline. Without a doubt, did this detection make it to the Easter Edition of TPI Tuesday!

The Orbital Eye team wishes you a Happy Easter!

TPI Tuesday – Monitoring long-lasting groundworks: SAR edition

Last week’s TPI-Tuesday showed a long-lasting road construction activity. This week, we would like to display the radar data that accompanied this activity. The change detection of the CoSMiC-EYE system is currently primarily based on SAR data. For the classification of the changes, we use optical images.

CoSMiC-EYE is thus perfectly capable of monitoring the activity by actively tasking for high-resolution optical imagery in the area, but also the SAR data enables to keep locating the changes. The radar pictures at the bottom left show processed Sentinel-1 SAR images of the area. The change map at the top shows the difference in the SAR imagery over time.

TPI Tuesday – Monitoring long-lasting groundworks

One of the advantages of using CoSMiC-EYE as a monitoring technology is that construction sites can easily be monitored over longer periods of time. The groundworks that are shown in today’s TPI Tuesday started end of 2020, and are still ongoing. In the optical imagery, available in the CoSMiC-EYE application, it can easily be seen how the works are expanding over time, and also if the works are expanding over the pipeline corridor. This way, the operators only need to go into the field when the works are getting closer to the pipeline, and they can easily see when works are finished!

TPI Tuesday – Monitoring of airport

Conventional monitoring methods such as helicopters or new drone surveys can’t monitor the Right-of-Way near airports as they would interfere with the runways and air traffic control. Generally, no-fly zones are enforced near airfields. Satellites are therefore the optimal solution to monitor airports because pipelines do not stop once the no-fly zones start.


TPI Tuesday – Road works detected

In today’s TPI Tuesday we present a case of large road works detected in the city of Paris. The use of satellite-based optical images allows for the monitoring of the evolution of such large works overtime by pipeline operators on the field, to identify potential new threats to the pipeline, linked to the same large activity.

In areas such as cities where access to works can be slow and difficult due to traffic jams, such optical images allow pipeline operators to ensure the integrity of their pipeline directly from the office.


TPI Tuesday – ‘No change’ detected: a story of subjective vs objective reporting

Today we have a remarkable edition of TPI Tuesday, as we are showing a case where we detected that there was ‘no change’.

When Orbital Eye provides the CoSMiC-EYE monitoring service to its customers, our data analysts continuously monitor CoSMiC-EYE’s monitoring performance and compare it to data of other monitoring methods, such as aerial- or ground patrol.

In today’s TPI Tuesday, you can see a pile of soil that was reported by an observer in the helicopter. This activity can also be seen in CoSMiC-EYE, but it was never reported because this pile of soil had been there for several months already as can be seen in the two optical images in the middle – and therefore did not pose a threat to the pipeline.

This case illustrates one of the advantages of satellite-based monitoring: the objective aspect of it. For an observer in a helicopter, it’s very hard to determine whether or not a certain pile of soil was there as well during the previous flight, and therefore the helicopter usually reports multiple ‘false alarms’. However, as CoSMiC-EYE is optimized to detect and report changes, and because historical data is available, these ‘false alarms’ won’t be reported by CoSMiC-EYE!

Interesting fact: we have many studies available where we compare CoSMiC-EYE against other monitoring methods. Interested? Send an email to

TPI Tuesday – Tree removal detected

In today’s TPI Tuesday, we present a case where a large agricultural activity took place, and many trees and bushes were removed. This type of activity often poses a threat to the pipelines due to the use of excavators, and because it can lead to soil erosion, and hence pipeline operators should be aware of these activities.

The upper image is an image from the field investigation, the image on the left shows the detection of the activity using the Sentinel-1 satellites, and the image on the right shows the detection of the activity using a Sentinel-2 widely-used vegetation index, the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index). 🌳

NDVI uses the NIR and the Red bands, it’s calculated as NDVI=(NIR-Red / NIR+Red) and the values range from -1 to +1. It detects and quantifies the presence of vegetation, where the high values indicate the presence of green and healthy vegetation, and low values, the presence of bare soil, urban area, and water. This is because the healthy vegetation reflects the NIR light and absorbs the red light, and vice versa.

Interesting fact: The human eye can’t see the NIR light, so this is where the beauty of the optical remote sensing techniques arises! 😎