Eyes in the Sky II: Eyes on Satellite Data

From the Outside Looking In 1

NOAA Satellite
SARSAT satellite: Image source: NOAA.
Humans are interacting with the Earth in ways that have alarming and potentially irreversible consequences for Earth's systems. We are depleting natural resources, polluting the land, water, and air, and contributing to the extinction of many other life forms. As an observer on the ground, it is difficult to fully comprehend the complex and dynamic world we live in. However, satellites afford us a unique outside-looking-in perspective of our planet, allowing us to see large-scale features and changes over time. The data from these "eyes-in-the-sky" enable us to examine both global and local environmental problems and consider and develop solutions that can safeguard Earth and its inhabitants.

The Role of Earth Observation 1

High above Earth, satellites collect and deliver vast quantities of publicly available data about our planet. Geospatial technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), geovisualization tools, the Global Positioning System (GPS), and image analysis provide the tools necessary to explore, model, interact with, and analyze these data to reveal vital information about how and why the global Earth system is changing, how Earth's systems respond to natural and human-based changes, and what consequences these changes may have for human civilization.

Analysis Techniques for Studying Earth 2

The goal of this website is to provide teachers and (in turn) their students with the skills to:

  1. Be able to locate and access many different Earth science datasets.
  2. Become competent users of geospatial technologies, learning a wide variety of analysis techniques for investigating global and local environmental issues.

1Adapted from Eyes in the Sky II online course materials, Copyright 2010, TERC. All rights reserved.
2Adapted from Earth Analysis Techniques, Copyright 2011, TERC. All rights reserved.

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