Step 1 - Acquire the Images
The images are available via the AMSAT SSTV gallery website. Unfortunately, I was unable to find them on an FTP site or anywhere else. The images ended up on the website by users actively submitting them via a web form. As a result, I should note that it is possible that we may process invalid Acquired times. I will ignore this fact, because I am assuming that the operator was at least within a minute or so of the actual transit time. I needed to scrape these photos from the website with all of the metadata. 20 lines of Python later, the problem was solved. The data I scraped from the website included the following:
Operator Call Sign
Operator Country Name
4542.jpg, Nick Kucij, KB1RVT, NorthAmerica , 2011-08-31 18:41:00
4540.jpg, Ted Veall, G6HMS, Europe , 2011-08-31 17:11:00
4539.jpg, Ted Veall, G6HMS, Europe , 2011-08-31 17:09:00
4525.jpg, yosimasa.uehara, JH0GEV, Asia , 2011-08-31 03:13:00
4520.jpg, Tetsurou Satou, JA0CAW, Asia , 2011-08-31 06:20:00
4519.jpg, Tetsurou Satou, JA0CAW, Asia , 2011-08-31 04:50:00
4506.jpg, Doug, KD8CAO, NorthAmerica , 2011-08-30 21:10:00
4505.jpg, Doug, KD8CAO, NorthAmerica , 2011-08-30 21:08:00
4504.jpg, Doug, KD8CAO, NorthAmerica , 2011-08-30 19:34:00
4499.jpg, Ted Veall, G6HMS, Europe , 2011-08-30 19:46:00
4493.jpg, Ted Veall, G6HMS, Europe , 2011-08-30 18:11:00
All but one of the entries had meta-data so I just threw that one entry out. Now that I have a basket of images and times, I was able to derive the location of the satellite from the Keplerian Elements. This means we have 80% of the problem solved, so on-to the easy part, looking at it!
Step 2 - Decide How to Plot
I had two options for the plots, either I could:
- add EXIF tags to the JPGs, so they could be loaded up nicely in any GIS software
- create KML so I could load them up in Google Earth
Either way I could achieve the same end-result, which is having the images geo-spatially referenced. However, I enjoyed the KML approach more because it allows me to attach meta-data that you can access by clicking on the image in Google Earth. In the end, I decided to do both, because I can and I love to do things! In the end, I generated a single KML file and just modified all the JPGs, so that they contained the appropriate EXIF tags. Here is what the tags of 4540 looked like:
File Name : 4540.jpg
Directory : .
File Size : 24 kB
File Modification Date/Time : 2012:02:18 21:50:49-05:00
File Permissions : rw-r--r--
File Type : JPEG
MIME Type : image/jpeg
JFIF Version : 1.02
Exif Byte Order : Big-endian (Motorola, MM)
Image Description : Ted Veall G6HMS Europe
X Resolution : 200
Y Resolution : 200
Resolution Unit : inches
Y Cb Cr Positioning : Centered
GPS Version ID : 18.104.22.168
GPS Latitude Ref : North
GPS Longitude Ref : West
GPS Altitude Ref : Above Sea Level
GPS Map Datum : WGS-84
Image Width : 320
Image Height : 256
Encoding Process : Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
Bits Per Sample : 8
Color Components : 3
Y Cb Cr Sub Sampling : YCbCr4:2:0 (2 2)
GPS Altitude : 370359.9 m Above Sea Level
GPS Latitude : 51 deg 26' 33.31" N
GPS Longitude : 13 deg 16' 19.18" W
GPS Position : 51 deg 26' 33.31" N, 13 deg 16' 19.18" W
Image Size : 320x256
This is a snapshot of all SSTV images acquired over Europe.
When you click on a particular SSTV image, you can see the Acquired time and station data.
This one is a bit cluttered but it shows many of the transit times that these images were acquired.
In the end, this was a really fun experiment. I am going to spend some time browsing through these images now, from right where they were received from ARISSat over our Beautiful Planet Earth!
Update [19 Feb]: I added the image to the description window. Now, when you click on the placemark image the popup shows the full-size image.
Update: The algorithm used to decide when an sstv image was captured and transmitted was somewhat hoaky. As a result, what i'm really plotting here is when a particular image was transmitted to a station and what image it was. The images are not necessarily taken from the particular geographic locations you see.