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We study the problem of finding the characteristic scale of a given satellite image. This feature is defined so that it does not depend on the spatial resolution of the image. This is a different problem than achieving scale invariance, as often studied in the literature. Our approach is based on the use of a linear scale space and the total variation (TV). The critical scale is defined as the one at which the normalized TV reaches its maximum. It is shown experimentally, both on synthetic and real data, that the computed characteristic scale is resolution independent.