The beginning of the next millennium promises an explosion in the quantity and quality of global data available from imaging remote sensing systems. The scientific and commercial communities become aware of unique hyperspectral imaging data acquisition opportunities. A brief profile of over 80 high resolution spaceborne and airborne earth observation sensor systems (H less than 800 km) planned to be operating in the year 2000 and beyond are presented in this paper. This overview covers multi- and hyperspectral civil, land and ocean nadir viewing observation sensors in the spectral range from the ultraviolet to the thermic infrared. A summary of the performance of each system, from image parameters (spectral and ground resolution) to the image generating procedure (spectral selection mode, image acquisition mode) is presented. At this point some caution is due since not all these concepts and plans will come to pass. The cuts in the government budget and the containment of commercial plans for new sensor systems will affect the realization of the present plans. However, the year 2000 will see at least four large area vegetation and ocean mappers, three landsat-like systems and two commercial high resolution systems in polar orbit simultaneously. A fleet of over 40 airborne sensor systems gives the final polished form of the future data acquisition opportunities.© (1997) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.