Part 1—Explore the Global Map Collection

Step 1 –
Access Global Maps at NASA's Earth Observatory

  1. NASA's Earth Observatory provides satellite images, Earth news, and scientific background articles about our home planet. Access the NASA Earth Observatory (more info) website in a new window.
  2. On the Earth Observatory Home page, click the Global Maps tab that appears just below the page banner.
  3. On the Global Maps page, scroll down and view the selection of maps available.

Step 2 –
Explore and Interpret Animations of Global Datasets

Reduced-size single frame from a paired animation comparing vegetation on land to land surface temperature. Click image for a larger view.

Each of the Global maps contains a ready-to-explore animation. Each frame of the animation shows one month of data. Beside each map there is a list of related maps to compare.

  1. Scroll down the list of Global maps and select the Vegetation map. Then click Land Surface Temperature under the Related Maps heading. You will now have two maps displayed in your browser window. You can step through the animation in this window, or you can click the link to Download a Quicktime animation of this comparison. Depending on your browser settings, you will be able to view the animation online, or from a downloaded file.
  2. This animation pair shows the distribution of vegetation (where green plants are growing) compared to Earth's average surface temperature for a particular month.

  3. Use the animation control buttons to step through the frames and compare how the two parameters are related.
  4. Use the image descriptions, located below the images, to guide you in looking for relationships between the datasets.
  5. Use your browser's Back button, or click the Global Maps link at the top of the page, to return to the list of Global maps. Access a few other maps to see a range of the types of data and animations available through Earth Observatory's Global maps collection.