On Jan 10, 2012, the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Beijing, China launched a high-resolution remote-sensing satellite for civilian use. The Ziyuan III satellite will be used to help monitor China's land-resources surveys, natural-disaster prevention, agriculture development, water-resources management, and urban planning. The Ziyuan III satellite was launched aboard a Long March 4B rocket and also carried a satellite from Luxembourg.

OrbView-3 satellite images collected around the world between 2003 and 2007 by Orbital Imaging Corporation (now GeoEye) at up to one-meter resolution can now be downloaded at no cost through USGS EarthExplorer.

"This is a significant addition to the USGS archive and a valuable resource for the global science community," said Matthew Larsen, Associate Director, Climate and Land Use Change. "Free access through the USGS archive amplifies the utility of the data, making it feasible for many researchers to study large areas at this level of accuracy." The OrbView-3 dataset includes 180,000 scenes of one meter resolution panchromatic, black and white, and four meter resolution multi-spectral (color and infrared) data, providing high resolution data useful for a wide range of science applications. The OrbView-3 dataset joins over 170 separate collections of aerial photography and space-based data cataloged in the National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Archive and available through USGS EarthExplorer.

In 2012 it is important to monitor global agriculture programs to find out what is working with crop yield forecasts, the effets of climate change (loss of biodiversity, deteriorating soil and water quality) and agriculture monitored from a remote sensing point of view.

Agriculture risk is always increased because of climate variability and change. Rising temperatures, infrequent rainfall patterns, increase in the severity of droughts, floods and wind storms effect the food growing cycle.

Measures to cope with these weather patterns include climate forecasting, climate information generation and disemination, early warning systems, and mapping of agriculture losses through remote sensing technology. Remote sensing is a fast-growing technology using highly sophisticated sensors on satellites and other elevated platforms as well as on the ground. Remote Sensing is used for agriculture, ecosystems, and hydrology.

In the United States, the USGS operates two remote sensing satellites Landsat 5 and Landsat 7. The USGS provides the Nation's portal to the largest archive of remotely sensed land data in the world, supplying continuous access to current and historical land images worldwide.

In Europe, the Monitoring Agricultural ResourceS (MARS) Unit Mission is watching developing countries like Africa and putting into place a global agriculture monitoring to provide expertise in agro-meteorological crop modelling, sampling methods, econometrics, geomatics (GIS, GPS and ICT), and satellite & airborne remote-sensing (the Unit manages the EC Framework Contracts for the provision of Satellite Remote Sensing data and manages the access/dissemination of EU image data archives).