Scientists at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) recently developed a satellite-based map of human settlements, with a precision currently unparalleled by other global surveys. The maps are based on data of the German radar satellites TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X captured from an altitude of 500 kilometres.
On 15 June 2007, the German TerraSAR-X radar satellite was launched from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan marking the beginning of a new era in German remote sensing. In its fifth year in space TerraSAR-X has served its planned life-span, but is expected to continue functioning for several years. "TerraSAR-X has now been operating almost flawlessly for five years.