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Seen from Space 2008

Monaco: The Resort-Oriented Nation of Côte d'Azur

 
Fig. 1. Côte d'Azur and Vicinity in Southeast France
Figure 1 depicts Côte d'Azur in southeast France that borders on Italy. Many mountain ranges running east and west on the west side of the figure exhibit strong contrasts between sun-lit and shaded slopes. From the upper right, tourist resorts such as Menton (which borders on Italy), Monaco (formally Principality of Monaco), Nice, Antibes, and Cannes lie along the coast. Côte d'Azur centering on Nice is commonly called the "French Riviera."
The prominent white feature in the center of the figure near the mouth of Var River is the Nice Côte d'Azur Airport with an area of 3.7km2. The red square indicates the vicinity of Monaco. Monaco is the world's second smallest country with about 2km2 total area (about half the size of the Côte d'Azur Airport) following the Vatican and with a 4-km coast line that extends into France.
The black-and-white straight line in the lower right of the figure is a jet contrail and its shadow. The contrail just happens to be in line with the sun, so it looks like a scratch on the picture.

Fig. 2. Close-up of Monaco and Vicinity
Monaco (kmz, 3.06MB, Low Resolution) as seen on Google Earth.
Figure 2 is a close-up of Monaco and its vicinity. The area of Monaco is indicated by the four yellow triangles. Monaco faces the Mediterranean in the southeast and is backed by mountains to the northwest, which makes a 162-m height difference in the town. The town is beautifully designed to provide a full aesthetic feeling with port, buildings, parks, and even streets using the natural formation of the coast line.

Monaco first appeared in historic documents in the times of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. It was a natural harbor for vessels and became famous among the people who sailed in the Mediterranean. It is recorded that Julius Caesar stopped over at Monaco on his triumphant return to Rome from the Gallic Wars (58 B.C. - 51 B.C.), but it was not until the 12th century that Monaco appeared again in history. The Great Roman Empire ruled this area, but actually the administrative ruler of Genova held the reins of the area extending from Monaco to Liguria (northwest of Italy and southeast of France) along the coast of the Mediterranean. In those days, northern Italy was involved in a power struggle between the Pope and the emperor of Germany (who was also the emperor of the Great Roman Empire). In the middle of the early 13th century, the first fortress was built during the war on the rocky mountain where the palace is located today.
In January 1297, François Grimaldi of the party backing the Pope disguised himself as a friar, climbed the bluff, broke into the fortress, and defeated the party backing the German emperor. Grimaldi's family has reigned over Monaco and prospered ever since. This is the area of Monaco-Ville, and people endearingly call it "Rocher (the rocky mountain)." The terra-cotta roof visible in the west is the Palace of Monaco. The area of clustered roofs in the east is old Monaco.

The glorious history of modern Monaco began in the Belle Époque era in which modern Europe was formed, and European elegance bloomed in the mid-19th century. In those days, Monaco had lost its territory and economic bases and was reduced to a small village without any attractive industries. However, Charles III, the leader of the Grimaldi, introduced a casino, which became a social haunt of royalty, the aristocracy, and the rich. He also built hotels and developed bathing beaches. Since then, Monaco developed as a tourist resort town, and the newly developed coast-line area was named Monte-Carlo in 1866. Today, it is the center of Monaco where more than five million tourists and participants for conventions visit from all over the world every year. One of the most famous events is the F1 Monaco Grand Prix held since 1929 around May each year (interrupted from 1938 to 1947 due to World War II). The motor racing takes place in the Monte Carlo city area of 3,340m and covers 78 laps of the city in about two hours.

The hexagonal building with the iridescent roof on the coast is the convention center (Auditorium Rainier III opened in 1979). Five luxury hotels, a 130-year-old historic casino, many restaurants, cafes, swimming pools, nightclubs, discotheques, movie theaters, and fancy boutiques are gathered within a 220m circle around the convention center.
Larvotto area to the northeast of Monte-Carlo is on reclaimed land. A leisure facility, named "Sporting Monte-Carlo" is located on the eastern end of the area. Public beaches and a new convention center (Grimaldi Forum Monaco) completed in 1994 with a large green Japanese garden are located toward the west.
The Fontvieille area, which has yacht basins on both sides, is located to the south of Monaco-Ville. This is reclaimed land and was completed in 1972, expanding Monaco's territory by 16%. Louis II Stadium, which, if necessary, can accommodate half of the population (32,020 at the time of the 2000 national census); Princess Grace Rose Garden; a heliport; office buildings; an electric/gas office; and a waste incineration plant that perform vital functions for Monaco, are located in this area. Furthermore, pollution-free industries such as cosmetics, medical supplies, and precision machinery components, which do not spoil the environment or the image of Monaco, are carefully selected and invited.

In 2006, 52% of the annual revenue of the government of Monaco was sales tax from the tourist business and conventions, and only 5% of it was from the casino. Monaco is completely free from casino dependence. Diplomatic relations between Monaco and Japan were established in December 2006, and His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco visited Japan in April 2007.

Fig. 3. Three-Dimensional View around Monaco
(Staring at the image for a long time may cause eye-strain. A color print is available in pdf format. Pdf files for the left and right eyes are also available for stereoscopic viewing.)
Figure 3 is a 3-D image of Monaco and its vicinity. If you view the figure with red and blue 3-D glasses, you will see land formations including Monaco-Ville and a rocky mountain along the coast. Please note that north is to the right in this image.


Reference Site:
How to make the red and blue colored glasses (See Appendix of Three-Dimensional View of Mt. Haruna.)

Explanation of the Images:


Satellite: Advanced Land-Observing Satellite (ALOS) (Daichi)
Sensor: Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer-2 (AVNIR-2) and
Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM)
Date: 1032(UTC) on December 8, 2007 (Fig.1)
1033(UTC) on April 22, 2007 (Fig.2 and 3)
Ground resolution: 10m (AVNIR-2) and 2.5m (PRISM)
Map Projection: Universal Transversal Mercator (UTM)
Fig. 1.
AVNIR-2 has four observation bands. Figures 1 and 2 were produced by assigning red to Band 3 (610 to 690nm), green to Band 2 (520 to 600nm), and blue to Band 1 (420 to 500nm). The resulting image has natural coloring as if seen by the naked eye. Thus, the following colors designate ground objects.

Green: Forests
Light green: Farmlands or grass fields
Grey: City area or roads
Reddish brown: Brick buildings
Blue: Water surfaces

Fig. 2.
PRISM is an optical sensor for observing ground surfaces with visible and near-infrared signals in the 520 to 770 nano-meter (one-billionth of a meter) band. The acquired image is monochrome. PRISM has three independent optical systems (telescopes) to acquire images for nadir, forward, and backward views at the same time. Only the nadir image was used in this article.
The AVNIR-2 composite image was then transformed into hue, saturation and intensity, and the intensity was replaced by the PRISM image. The hue, saturation and intensity data were then reversed into a color image. As a result, a virtual 2.5-m ground-resolution color image was obtained. This kind of high-resolution color image, composed by combining the higher resolution monochrome image and the lower resolution color image, is called a pan-sharpened image. Figure 2 is a high-resolution pan-sharpened image composed in this way.

Fig. 3.
Figure 3 combines backward (red) and nadir (green and blue) images of PRISM. The left eye sees the backward image, and the right eye sees nadir image, which means the left side corresponds to the satellite flight direction (south) and left side corresponds to south. Note that upward is north in Figs. 1 and 2, but right is north in Fig. 3.

Related Sites:
ALOS Research and Application Page
Paris: City of Art Surrounded by Two Forests and Circular Roads
Three-Dimensional View of Millau Viaduct, World's Highest Bridge
Zoom in on the Town of Turin in Northwest Italy
Land, Seen from Space
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