How to download sentinel 2 imagery

Recently I have been working with sentinel satellite data at work. While going through some data I found some of the tiles to have the Ferguson Fire in it. I wanted to see if the shortwave infrared bands from sentinel 2 could see through the smoke. The process of getting the imagery is interesting too so I figured I’d share.

If you don’t already have an account at the Copernicus Open Access Hub, head on over and create an account. This portal gives you access to all sentinel products.

Once logged in, select the search area

After signing up, searching the database is easy. Just select the area you want and filter date and product types using the three lines next to the search. This will search sentinel 1,2, and 3 data. With the filters, you can filter to any date range that you wish. You also have the ability to search by satellite type and instrument settings for the satellites.

Select the product and press the download button to download.

After selecting the product you wish to download just click the download button to download the data. This will save a zip file to your hard drive. The zip file is structured as its own database to be read by the sentinel application. If you wish to just use the data in your own program, open the zip and navigate to GRANULE>”productname”>IMG_DATA. Under this folder is a .jp2 file for each band. These images can be directly opened by most GIS programs.

SNAP Program

I do highly recommend the program that the ESA provides for working with the data called Sentinel Application Platform found here. This program allows you to store all of your products in one place as a database to be searched. Once you open your product you must right click the product in the product explorer on the left and generate an RGB composite to view the tile. If you drill down you get access to each band as well as other useful data. Below is a cool example of the Ferguson Fire where you can only see smoke in RGB, however in short wave infrared (SWIR) you can clearly see the front line of the fire as well as burned are.

The highlights are the front line of the fire burning. PS: this is band 12 at 2190nm

The Sentinel application also has some really useful tools in the raster and optical toolboxes. I will get more into those later. I have also been starting to work with SAR data, so I should be publishing something about that when I learn a bit more.




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Emery Silberman

Emery Silberman

Working to solve to worlds problems starting with technology in agriculture.

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