Questions about SkyTruth Alerts
Is there a fee to use SkyTruth Alerts?
Anyone can use SkyTruth Alerts for free. It was funded and developed to be used by individuals and organizations working to protect the environment. If you happen to be using SkyTruth Alerts for commercial purposes, we’d really appreciate you making a donation to help us cover costs. 🙂
Do I need to create an account to use Alerts?
Anyone can view the SkyTruth Alerts map without creating an account. You can move around the map, look at recent reports, and filter the types of alerts you see by type and date. However, if you want to receive email notifications, save your areas of interest (AOIs) to make monitoring easier, annotate and mark up a map, or create issue maps to share with other people, etc., you will need to sign up for an account.
How do I receive alerts for the areas I’m interested in?
There are three steps to signing up to receive email alerts:
- sign up for an account
- select your area of interest
- select which types of alerts you want to be notified about
We have a quick start guide to get alerts for your county that you can use as a starting point.
Can you add additional alert types to SkyTruth Alerts?
We’re very interested in adding new alerts to add to SkyTruth Alerts, in particular state environmental agency alerts. If you know of an alerts source that makes its data publicly-available by providing any one of these:
- A website that allows us to “scrape” the data
- A spreadsheet we can download
- An API that allows us public access
Please email us a link.
How do I view satellite imagery?
Where does the satellite imagery come from?
Satellite imagery in Alerts comes from Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-1 — Earth observation missions from the European Union’s Copernicus Program. Copernicus systematically acquires optical imagery at high spatial resolution (10 to 60 meters) over land and coastal waters. SkyTruth uses Sentinel-Hub, a platform for handling and delivering satellite data, to make the imagery available in Alerts.
Imagery from Sentinel-Hub is made up of a mosaic of “scenes” based on zoom level, the size of your AOI, and the imagery available. If your AOI is small, chances are the image will be from a single scene. However, for larger AOIs the satellite image you see is created from several stitched together scenes, which may or may not be from the same date. For this reason, we include the date of the imagery on top of each scene so it’s clear what’s being presented.
When you select a map date, the corresponding scene for that date may only represent a small part of the AOI. Sentinel-Hub will back-fill the rest of your map view with the most recent imagery available, regardless of cloud cover.
In some cases, especially for very large AOIs, the scenes presented might even change based on zoom level. This is because Sentinel-Hub’s image vault may not have the same view available for each zoom level.
Can I add outside data to my map?
We have added several data sets that we find useful in-house to the Layers tab. If you have an idea for other layers that can be helpful to environmental and conservation organizations, email us a link describing the data.
What if I have my own data that I’d like to layer on my map, but don’t want it to be added on the “Layers” tab for all to see. Is there a way to do this?
We’re working on adding this as a feature. Stay tuned!
Can I export or download Alerts data?
Yes. More information about how to download alerts and which format area available is on the Download Alerts Data page.
How can I find out the name, ID, exact location of an oil & gas well in Pennsylvania?
In most cases, data obtained from the Pennsylvania DEP includes a unique ID rather than a well name. It’s called the Well API number. You can use this number to find out the name of the well at the Pennsylvania DEP website.
To find the Well API number:
- Click on an Alert icon to open the report info window.
- Click View full Report at the top of the window.
- In the lefthand sidebar, look for the Well API Number. (You may have to scroll to see it.)
Once you know the Well API number, you can use the keyword search to find other alerts with the same ID.
- Check the boxes next to the types of alerts you want to see.
- Copy and paste (don’t type) the Well API Number into the Keyword Search (Alerts tab).
- Click the Search icon.