Jun 28, 2016

Accessing Landsat and Sentinel-2 on Amazon Web services

The cloud has made it easier to process large amount of data, and satellite imagery processing benefits from cloud processing too. One of the cloud services that offers access to satellite images, and abilities to process them in the cloud – no more need to download it to your computer and process it there – is Amazon Web Services. If you’ve never worked with cloud processing, getting started with AWS can be a bit daunting. This tutorial gives beginners an introduction to accessing satellite images – Landsat and Sentinel-2 – on AWS.

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Satellite images like Landsat and Sentinel-2 can be downloaded from tools from USGS and ESA, but in the last few years, they’ve also been made available in the cloud, on Amazon Web Services. Each day, new images are added to the databases on AWS. Users can download them from there, and some have reported that those downloads are faster than from the traditional tools. The images can also be processed on AWS, taking advantage of the power of cloud processing.
In this tutorial, we’ll get a first taste of Amazon Web Services, and we’ll download a Landsat and Sentinel-2 image. No need to know anything about Amazon web services, we’ll start from the beginning.
Time to go through this tutorial and download an image: : 1.5 hours
Short summary: We’re accessing Landsat and Sentinel-2 on Amazon Web Services.
Want a more step-by-step approach? Follow along.

Setting up Amazon Web Services

You can sign up for a free account at https://aws.amazon.com/free/. If you’re just playing around with AWS, the amount you get in the free tier on AWS should be sufficient. When you’re signed up, go to the Amazon Console.

All Landsat and Sentinel-2 images are located on Amazon S3, which is the storage space of AWS. More information on Landsat on AWS, or Sentinel-2 on AWS, and on the companies that are responsible or supported making satellite data on AWS available, can be found on their respective project websites.

Ok, now that we know where to find them, how do you actually get to the images?
Configuring the interface and the user

On your console (if you’ve logged into Amazon web services on your browser), go to the “Services” tab on top, Select “Security&Identity”, then “IAM”.
In the window pane on the right, go to “Users”. Click “Create a new user”. Make sure the check box to generate a new key is ticked. Click “Create”.

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