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We approach the problem of large-scale satellite image browsing from a content-based retrieval and semantic categorization perspective. A two-stage method for query based automatic retrieval of satellite image patches is proposed. The semantic category of query patches are determined and patches from that category are ranked based on an image similarity measure. Semantic categorization is done by a learning approach involving the two-dimensional multi-resolution hidden Markov model (2-D MHMM). Patches that do not belong to any trained category are handled using a support vector machine (SVM) based classifier. Experiments yield promising results in modeling semantic categories within satellite images using 2-D MHMM, producing accurate and convenient browsing. We also show that prior semantic categorization improves retrieval performance.