Kyl-Bingaman Restrictions on Imaging Israel
On Pixels, Spatial Resolution, IKONOS, Israel and the Law
Throughout this report and elsewhere on our website the IKONOS imagery depicted has a range scale at the bottom with copyright restrictions. In order to ease interpretability, IKONOS imagery is resampled at the following scales, 10-meter, 5-meter 2-meter 1-meter and .5-meter resolution. These range scale reflect the resampled ground distances in the images - they do not reflect true spatial resolution! Even though these images have been rescaled, the original native IKONOS image starts out at 1-meter resolution with one notable exception - Imagery of Israel. IKONOS Imagery of Israel is degraded from 1-meter resolution to 2-meter in order to comply with U.S. Law.
The Kyl-Bingaman Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 1997, prohibits US commercial satellite companies such as Space Imaging from collecting and releasing imagery of Israel at a resolution more precise than that which is routinely commercially available world-wide.
In order to comply with Kyl-Bingaman, Space Imaging had to degrade its IKONOS image of Dimona (and the rest of Israel) from 1-meter, to 2-meters.
In spite of the restrictions, a 2-meter image is better than no image, and for the purposes of this analysis, we were still able to answer some of our key intelligence questions with the 2-meter IKONOS. On balance we believe that possessing several 2-4 meter Corona images of Dimona taken over a period of years has helped to compensate for the 2-meter restriction on spatial resolution. As illustrated below, the early Corona images help to shed light on the early evolution of the facility.
Russia Imagery Restrictions of Israel
The Russian Firm, Sovinformsputnik, will not make available for commercial sale, 1-meter or sub-meter imagery of Israel as previously expected. Evidently Israeli Defense and Intelligence representatives have successfully lobbied Moscow to block the sale of imagery better than 2-meters.
Israel's ability to influence both Cold War Superpowers, the United States and Russia is remarkable to say the least.
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