Friday, January 16, 2009

NASA Earth Observatory

The NASA Earth Observatory website is on my top ten list of useful websites for a Geography teacher. Every image of the day is spectacular, and is a great discussion tool to introduce a lesson. The following article 'Earth Observed' from The Big Picture, highlights 20 spectacular satellite images taken from the Earth Observatory. I have chosen three of my favourite satellite images below as an example of what is available.

The picture above is one of my favourite. The image was taken by ASTER, one of NASA's Terra satellites on October 12, 2004. It is an image of the southeastern Fars province in southern Iran. As you can see, a large river moves through the arid regions, and then spreads out into an alluvial fan. Of course, the broad belt of agricultural land is obvious. Teaching rivers is great with images like this.

This image is also a definite favourite. It was taken by Ikonos, a commercial satellite on the 27th June, 2002. This forest, divided into quarters by two dirt logging roads (orange roads) is located in the northern Republic of Congo, Africa. Satellite images were collected to attempt to create a map of logging roads and forest disturbance across tropical African Forests.

And finally...

This satellite image was also taken by the commercial IKONOS satellite in September 2004. However, that is where the similarity ends. These are the houses and streets of Las Vegas in Nevada, USA. The settlement patterns themselves are amazing, and could really be any major city in a developed country around the world. Check out the pools as well... and think about what was here prior to urban sprawl and development...

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