Geodesy Teaching Activities


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3D View from a Drone | Make a 3D Model From Your Photos part of Activities
Using cameras mounted to drones, students will design and construct an experiment to take enough photos to make a 3-dimensional image of an outcrop or landform in a process called structure from motion (SfM). This activity has both a hands-on component (collecting data with the drone) and a computer-based component (creating the 3-dimensional model).___________________Drones can take photos that can be analyzed later. By planning ahead to have enough overlap between photos, you take those individual photos and make a 3-dimensional image!In this activity, you guide the students to identify an outcrop or landform to study later or over repeat visits. They go through the process to plan, conduct, and analyze an investigation to help answer their science question.The Challenge: Design and conduct an experiment to take enough photos to make a 3-dimensional image of an outcrop or landform, then analyze the image and interpret the resulting 3-d image.For instance they might wish to study a hillside that has been changed from a previous forest fire. How is the hillside starting to shift after rainstorms or snows? Monitoring an area over many months can lead to discoveries about how the erosional processes happen and also provide homeowners, park rangers, planners, and others valuable information to take action to stabilize areas to prevent landslides.

Subject: Geoscience, Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
Grade Level: Middle (6-8), High School (9-12)
Quantitative Skills: Gathering Data
EarthScope Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:Structure from Motion
Collection Source: EarthScope
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Unit 1: Introduction to the hydrologic cycle and stakeholder analysis part of Measuring Water Resources
This unit introduces the hydrological cycle to provide context for the module as a whole. It particularly focuses on those portions of the hydrological cycle that take place on land and that form the basis for ...

Subject: Geoscience:Hydrology:Ground Water:Groundwater flow, Water supply/water resource evaluation, Unsaturated zone/recharge, Water cycle/groundwater-surface water interface, Geoscience:Geology:Environmental Geology, Geoscience:Hydrology:Ground Water:Groundwater modeling, Water and society, policy, and management, Environmental Science:Sustainability, Water Quality and Quantity:Groundwater , Surface Water , Geoscience:Hydrology:Surface Water:Water Management and Policy, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Geoscience:Hydrology:Snowpack and Snow Melt
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Collection Source: GETSI
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Unit 2: Characterizing groundwater storage with well and GRACE data part of Measuring Water Resources
This unit provides students with experience analyzing traditional (depth to water table measured in a well) and geodetic: GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) data for monitoring changes in groundwater ...

Subject: Geoscience:Hydrology:Ground Water:Water cycle/groundwater-surface water interface, Geology of groundwater occurrence, Geoscience:Geology:Environmental Geology, Geophysics:Gravity, Geoscience:Hydrology:Ground Water:Aquifer properties, Groundwater flow, Environmental Science:Water Quality and Quantity:Groundwater , Geoscience:Hydrology:Ground Water:Groundwater modeling, Water supply/water resource evaluation, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Geophysics in other disciplines
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Collection Source: GETSI
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Getting started with Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry part of Cutting Edge:Enhance Your Teaching:Teaching with Online Field Experiences:Activities
Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry method uses overlapping images to create a 3D point cloud of an object or landscape. It can be applied to everything from fault scarps to landslides to topography. This ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
EarthScope Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:Structure from Motion
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Unit 1: Slip-sliding away: case study landslides in Italy and Peru part of Surface Process Hazards
How have mass-wasting events affected communities, and what lessons have we learned from these natural disasters that might help us mitigate future hazards? In this unit, students answer these questions by being ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geomorphology:Tectonic Geomorphology, Landforms/Processes:Mass Movement, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Geoscience:Geology:Tectonics, Environmental Science:Sustainability, Natural Hazards:Mass Wasting, Earthquakes, Geography, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):College Introductory
Collection Source: GETSI
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Unit 3: Static GPS/GNSS Methods part of High Precision Positioning with Static and Kinematic GPS
The application of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) in the earth sciences has become commonplace. GNSS data can produce high-accuracy, high-resolution measurements in common reference frames. Static GNSS ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geomorphology:Landforms/Processes, Geography:Geospatial, Geoscience:Geology:Geomorphology:Landforms/Processes:Mass Movement, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Geoscience:Geology:Geomorphology:GIS/Mapping/Field Techniques
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Collection Source: GETSI
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Unit 2: Examining the Distribution of Mass Wasting Events part of Planning for Failure: Landslide Analysis
What factors contribute to the distribution patterns of mass wasting events? In this unit, students will use a frequency-ratio method, one of the most common quantitative methods used in the statistical analysis of ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
Collection Source: GETSI
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Unit 1: Introduction to Flooding part of Flood Hazards
Do geoscientists understand the meaning of floods and their role within the broader context of ecological and societal impacts? In this unit, students are introduced to the concept of flooding and the mechanisms ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
Collection Source: GETSI
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Unit 4: Water budget assessment of a California drought part of Measuring Water Resources
The California Drought of 2012–2016 had significant social and economic consequences. This final unit focuses on this drought as a case study for measuring the hydrologic system so that we can better understand ...

Subject: Geoscience:Hydrology:Snowpack and Snow Melt, Ground Water, Geoscience:Geology:Environmental Geology, Geophysics:Geophysics in other disciplines, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Meteorology:Extreme weather, Geoscience:Hydrology:Surface Water, Environmental Science:Water Quality and Quantity:Surface Water , Environmental Science:Natural Hazards:Extreme Weather:Drought, Environmental Science:Sustainability, Water Quality and Quantity:Water Conservation, Groundwater , Geography:Geospatial, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16), College Lower (13-14)
Collection Source: GETSI
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Exploring Tectonic Motions with GPS part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
Using a map showing the horizontal velocities of GPS stations in the Plate Boundary Observatory and other GPS networks in Alaska and Western United States, students are able to describe the motions in different regions by interpreting the vectors resulting from long-term high-precision Global Positioning System (GPS) data. Show more information on NGSS alignment Hide NGSS ALIGNMENT Disciplinary Core Ideas History of Earth: HS-ESS1-5 Earth' Systems: MS-ESS2-2 Earth and Human Activity: MS-ESS3-2, HS-ESS3-1 Science and Engineering Practices 4. Analyzing and Interpreting Data 5. Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking 6. Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions Crosscutting Concepts 4. Systems and System Models 7. Stability and Change

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards, Geoscience:Geology:Tectonics, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards:Earthquakes
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), Middle (6-8), High School (9-12)
Quantitative Skills: Vectors and Matrices
EarthScope Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data: Data:GPS/GNSS, Geophysics GPS/GNSS
Collection Source: EarthScope, ANGLE
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Volcano Monitoring with GPS: Westdahl Volcano Alaska part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
Learners use graphs of GPS position data to determine how the shape of Westdahl Volcano, Alaska is changing. If the flanks of a volcano swell or recede, it is a potential indication of magma movement and changing ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards:Volcanism, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards, Engineering
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), Middle (6-8), High School (9-12)
Quantitative Skills: Vectors and Matrices, Graphs
EarthScope Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data: Data:GPS/GNSS, Geophysics GPS/GNSS
Collection Source: ANGLE, EarthScope
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Unit 5: Mitigating future disasters: developing a mass-wasting hazard map part of Surface Process Hazards
This unit serves as the summative assessment of the Surface Process Hazards module. In September 2013, the Boulder area of Colorado experienced an extreme rain event that led to mass wasting in many areas. This has ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geomorphology:Geomorphology as applied to other disciplines, Landforms/Processes:Mass Movement, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Geography, Environmental Science:Sustainability, Natural Hazards:Mass Wasting, Health Sciences, Environmental Science, Natural Hazards, Geography:Physical, Environmental Science:Land Use and Planning
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):College Introductory
Collection Source: GETSI
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Unit 4: Anatomy of a tragic slide: Oso Landslide case study part of Surface Process Hazards
Landslides can have profound societal consequences, such as did the slide that occurred near Oso, Washington in 2014. Forty-three people were killed and entire rural neighborhood was destroyed. In this unit, ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geomorphology:Landforms/Processes:Mass Movement, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Environmental Science:Sustainability, Natural Hazards, Health Sciences, Geography, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards:Mass Wasting
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):College Introductory
Collection Source: GETSI
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Unit 2: Global Sea-Level Response to Temperature Changes: Temperature and Altimetry Data part of Understanding Our Changing Climate
What is the contribution of seawater thermal expansion to recent sea-level rise? In this unit, students create time-series graphs of global averaged sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) data spanning 1880–2017 ...

Subject: Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate:Sea Level Change, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards, Global Change and Climate:Climate Change:Impacts of climate change, Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate:Climate Change, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climate Change, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics, Geophysics:Geodesy, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climate Change:Impacts of climate change
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Collection Source: GETSI
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Measuring Plate Motion with GPS: Iceland | Lessons on Plate Tectonics part of Activities
This lesson teaches middle and high school students to understand the architecture of GPS—from satellites to research quality stations on the ground. This is done with physical models and a presentation. Then students learn to interpret data for the station's position through time ("time series plots"). Students represent time series data as velocity vectors and add the vectors to create a total horizontal velocity vector. They apply their skills to discover that the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is rifting Iceland. They cement and expand their understanding of GPS data with an abstraction using cars and maps. Finally, they explore GPS vectors in the context of global plate tectonics.

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards, Geoscience:Geology:Tectonics, Geoscience
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12), Middle (6-8)
Quantitative Skills: Vectors and Matrices
EarthScope Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data: Data:GPS/GNSS, Geophysics GPS/GNSS
Collection Source: EarthScope
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Measuring Ground Motion with GPS: How GPS Works part of Activities
With printouts of typical GPS velocity vectors found near different tectonic boundaries and models of a GPS station, demonstrate how GPS work to measure ground motion.GPS velocity vectors point in the direction that a GPS station moves as the ground it is anchored to moves. The length of a velocity vector corresponds to the rate of motion. GPS velocity vectors thus provide useful information for how Earth's crust deforms in different tectonic settings.

Subject: Geography:Geospatial, Geoscience:Geology:Tectonics, Geophysics:Geodesy
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), Middle (6-8), High School (9-12)
Quantitative Skills: Models and Modeling
Collection Source: EarthScope
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Unit 2: Monitoring surface and groundwater supply in central and western US part of Eyes on the Hydrosphere: Tracking Water Resources
In Unit 2, students learn how the techniques for water budgeting (covered in Unit 1) can be used to monitor both groundwater (High Plains Aquifer) and surface water (western mountain watershed) systems. Students ...

Subject: Environmental Science:Water Quality and Quantity, Water Quality and Quantity:Water Conservation, Groundwater , Environmental Science:Land Use and Planning, Sustainability, Geoscience:Hydrology:Surface Water:Water Management and Policy, Environmental Science, Natural Hazards:Extreme Weather:Drought, Environmental Science:Water Quality and Quantity:Surface Water , Geoscience:Hydrology, Geology:Environmental Geology, Geoscience:Hydrology:Ground Water:Water supply/water resource evaluation, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Meteorology:Extreme weather, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
Collection Source: GETSI
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Unit 1: Climate Change and Sea Level: Who Are the Stakeholders? part of Understanding Our Changing Climate
How are rising sea levels already influencing different regions? This unit offers case study examples for a coastal developing country (Bangladesh), a major coastal urban area (southern California), and an island ...

Subject: Geoscience:Hydrology, Environmental Science:Water Quality and Quantity, Geoscience:Geology:Environmental Geology, Geophysics:Geodesy, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climate Change, Environmental Science:Sustainability, Global Change and Climate:Sea Level Change, Environmental Science, Global Change and Climate, Global Change and Climate:Climate Change, Climate Change:Impacts of climate change, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climate Change:Impacts of climate change, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Collection Source: GETSI
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Unit 2.1: Geodetic survey of an outcrop for road cut design part of Analyzing High Resolution Topography with TLS and SfM
This unit offers an alternative application for high-resolution topographic data from an outcrop. Using engineering geology methods and data collection from TLS and/or SfM, students design safe "road ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Structural Geology, Geophysics:Geodesy, Engineering
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Collection Source: GETSI
On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Unit 1: GPS/GNSS Fundamentals part of High Precision Positioning with Static and Kinematic GPS
The constellations of satellites orbiting our planet enable high-precision positioning not just for consumer or survey applications but also for geoscience research such as detecting plate motions, landslide ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geomorphology:GIS/Mapping/Field Techniques, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Geography:Geospatial
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Collection Source: GETSI
On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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GETSI Developed This material was developed and reviewed through the GETSI curricular materials development process.
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