A Colorful Harvest in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

A changing landscape as Southern Hemisphere fall arrives in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Image ©2016 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.

The Earth’s surface is constantly changing. Sometimes it’s the result of natural processes, sometimes it’s the result of human activity, and sometimes, it’s both.

Over the course of two months, Planet Labs satellites captured the transformation of this landscape in Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul. Dark green fields changed to a range of brown and yellow hues after harvest, and fallow fields turned vibrant green as another crop sprouted. The only areas that remained relatively unchanged were the roads and forest remnants along the boundaries between fields and winding stream beds.

January 18, 2016. Image ©2016 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.
March 24, 2016. Image ©2016 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.

These high-resolution images show details as fine as individual houses, and the trail left by a single tractor as it tilled a field. Over time, these large changes allow new types of analysis. For example, students at Wageningen University in the Netherlands used PlanetScope and RapidEye data to identify crop types in California’s Central Valley. As the Planet Labs constellation grows over 2016—getting closer and closer to daily coverage—these insights will become commonplace.

Learn more about how satellites are changing the agriculture industry.