Project Description

Since its declassification in 1996, Cold War-era CORONA satellite imagery, collected from 1960-1972 as part the world’s first spy satellite program, has proven to be an extraordinarily powerful resource for archaeology and other disciplines. Because the imagery pre-dates the dramatic land use changes that have come with urban expansion, industrialization, and agricultural intensification in recent decades, it preserves a view of countless archaeological sites and other landscape features that have been destroyed or obscured by modern development. Furthermore, because CORONA offers the only source for global-scale, historic, high-resolution imagery, it is a critical tool in studies of environmental, land use, and urban transformation. Since 2009, The CORONA Atlas Project has worked to develop new methods for correcting spatial distortions found in raw imagery, and to provide processed imagery to researchers through a user-friendly online database. With CORONA imagery currently available on the Atlas for most of the Middle East, our ongoing NEH-funded effort is expanding the CORONA Atlas to other parts of the world including eastern China, South and Central Asia, and Eastern Europe, as well building an online, open-access tool for correction of imagery from other parts of the world.