Satellite observation of earth has become an essential tool for monitoring and studying what is happening on our planet on the short and long term. Here is a good sampling of the amazing diversity of applications and benefits of earth observation satellites: 100 Earth Shattering Remote Sensing Applications & Uses – GIS Geography.

A sampling from the list:

5. Predicting retail earnings and market share by counting cars in parking lots

9. Searching for aircrafts and saving lives after fatal crashes

10. Detecting oil spills for marine life and environmental preservation

19. Extracting mineral deposits with hyperspectral remote sensing

38. Keeping tabs on the shift from rural to urban growth

59. Monitoring active volcanoes using thermal remote sensing 

69. Understanding the human rights situation in North Korea 

89. Improving efficiency and safety of air traffic control

BTW, on Wednesday the Indian space agency ISRO plans to launch a PSLV rocket to send 104 satellites into polar orbit.

The payload consists of one large Indian earth observation (EO) satellite – Cartosat -2 – and 103 smallsats, including 88 Doves for the earth observation company Planet, which will expand its constellation of small and large EO satellites to over 140. Once it has its full constellation in orbit, Planet will produce a complete image of the entire earth every day.

These videos give an overview of Planet’s plans and capabilities:

Planet has also had many Doves injected into lower inclination orbits via deployment from the International Space Station. This video shows a sampling of such deployments, which are arranged by the company NanoRacks;