Yes, that's a satellite photo, and yes, there really is a gigantic set of connecting canals spelling "HAMAD" in Abu Dhabi.
Oil sheik Hamad bin Hamdan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi is the douchebag who paid to have his name etched into the sand so that it would be visible from space. At least we know all that $4 per gallon gasoline we're buying is helping to support a good cause.
Though maybe the biggest takeaway from this is realizing that at least one super wealthy oil sheik is a huge fan of The Tick.
Admit it -- you would have drawn a dong.