Earth Exploration Toolbook Chapters


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Investigating Climate Change Using Observed Temperature Data
DATA: Historic temperature data from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). TOOL: Spreadsheet. SUMMARY: Download, import, and graph temperature data. Compare different locations and investigate changes in annual average temperature over time.

Investigating Earthquakes with ArcExplorer GIS
DATA: Recent and Historical Earthquake Data. TOOL: ArcExplorer Java Edition for Education GIS. SUMMARY: Explore earthquake data and import them into a Geographic Information System (GIS). Analyze the data to predict where the next big earthquake will occur.

Investigating Renewable Energy Data from Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Panels
DATA: Soltrex Online Data. TOOL: Microsoft Excel. SUMMARY: Examine solar energy generation; explore websites that monitor and report solar energy production from panels at many different locations; and consider how much of a school's or home's energy needs could be supplied by solar power.

Investigating the Precipitation-Streamflow Relationship
DATA: Streamflow data, Precipitation data. TOOL: Spreadsheet application. SUMMARY: Produce a graph to compare data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Is Greenland Melting?
DATA: Thickness, velocity, and annual melt extents of the Greenland ice sheet TOOL: My World GIS SUMMARY: Explore map layers to examine annual melting and long-term changes of Greenland's ice sheet.

Life in Extreme Environments
DATA: Global Multi-Resolution Topography Data and NSF Ridge 2000 Data. TOOL: GeoMapApp. SUMMARY: Create topographic profiles of the ocean floor to explore the structure of a spreading center. Learn about the life forms found in these extreme environments and investigate the conditions affecting them.

Litter Retriever with a GPS Receiver
DATA: GPS waypoints TOOL: GPS unit, Google Earth SUMMARY: Track litter in a park or public space with a GPS receiver. Then import the data into Google Earth and consider the ideal location for new trash receptacles.

Looking into Earth with GIS
DATA: Seismic Wave Model Output. TOOLS: My World GIS, Microsoft Excel. SUMMARY: Examine seismic wave data in a Geographic Information System (GIS). Analyze wave velocities to infer the depth of the crust-mantle boundary.

Mapping Local Data in a GIS
DATA: Student-collected GPS data and site characterizations TOOLS: MyWorld GIS, spreadsheet program - Follow a study of Urban Heat Islands as an example of map-based science research projects.

Measuring Distance and Area in Satellite Images
DATA: MODIS Imagery. TOOL: ImageJ. SUMMARY: Examine images of the Aral Sea from 1973 through 2003. Use image analysis software to measure changes in the width and area of the freshwater lake over time.

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