General resources

This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.

  • CCRS - Fundamentals of Remote Sensing. This tutorial covers the essential elements of remote sensing throughout five chapters: Fundamentals, Sensors, Microwaves, Image Analysis, and Applications. The chapters are subdivided into numerous topics, which proceed in a sequential order and cover the seven basic elements which together compose the remote sensing process: 1.Energy Source or Illumination, 2.Radiation and the Atmosphere, 3.Interaction with the Target, 4.Recording of Energy by the Sensor, 5.Transmission, Reception, and Processing, 6.Interpretation and Analysis, and 7.Application. Also touched on are electromagnetic radiation, the electromagnetic spectrum, radiation, and passive vs. active sensing. Graphics and animations accompany each subsection. Also encountered at the end of each section are two features - Did You Know and Whiz Quiz. These segments are designed to expand the applications of the covered concepts and test the knowledge of the resource user. (more info)
  • Earth Science Picture of the Day. This NASA-sponsored site features a different image or photograph each day with an accompanying explanatory caption. The site also provides an extensive archive of images searchable by 31 different subject areas or 51 specific topics. (more info)
  • Earth Science Practice Exams. This site contains on-line quizzes to test knowledge of physical geology, including rocks, oceans, glaciers, rivers, plate tectonics, paleontology, and planetary geology. There is also a practice geologic time scale with Eons, Eras, Periods, and Epochs to be filled in and checked. Each quiz is in multiple choice format and allows users to check for correct answers as the quiz is taken. ( This site may be offline. )
  • Earth Science for Schools. This collection of introductory information on Earth Science includes pages discussing Earth's origin and structure, the atmosphere, plate tectonics, the rock cycle, volcanoes, fossil fuels and polymers. It was created by the Moorland School, a co-educational boarding school and day school situated in Clitheroe, Lancashire, UK. ( This site may be offline. )
  • EarthTrends: The Environmental Information Portal. This is a large website that provides searchable databases, data tables, maps, country profiles and written reports on a variety of environmental issues. Topics include coastal and marine ecosystems, freshwater ecosystems, water resources, climate and atmosphere, human population and health, environmental economics, energy and resources, biodiversity, agriculture, forests and grasslands, and environmental governance and institutions. The data and maps found within each of these topics provide useful information for research projects for both students and educators. (more info)
  • Earthguide. Earthguide is an Earth and environmental science educational resource for both students and teachers consisting of: reports from an expedition to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; sections on ocean diatoms, Earth radiation (with animation), and the physics of waves; and images of ocean creatures, places, minerals and scientific equipment. Earthguide also offers news and events; a glossary; world maps; a photosynthesis game; and links to science sites and teaching tools. (more info)
  • GeoDIL: A Geoscience Digital Image Library. This large collection of photographs includes topics such as Earth resources, minerals, rocks and rock-forming processes, surficial geology, structural geology and tectonics, geologic time, paleontology and planetary geology. (more info)
  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: Scientific Visualization Studio. This is the web page for The Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS), a branch of the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) that generates visuals to promote a greater understanding of Earth and Space Science Research Activities at the Goddard Space Flight Center. The Scientific Visualization Studio creates scientific stories by combining the visualization of remote sensing data with conceptual scientific animations for presentation to the scientific community and to the general public through educational institutions, museums, Compact Discs and videos. The Facilities section contains a detailed overview of the instruments used to create the visualizations. The Image Wall contains twenty reports on National Aeronautical & Space Administration projects including El Nino, the Biosphere, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), astronomy, seasonal climate variations, hurricanes, Antarctica, urban growth, and others. The reports come complete with project write-ups and downloadable images and movies. (more info)
  • Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory On-Line Data. This site provides access to a variety of oceanographic and atmospheric data products. Some of the products available include Ocean Buoy data, tsunami data, 1997-98 El Nino sea level for the US West Coast, Alaska, and Hawaii, real-time images and data from research ships, climate databases via the FERRET program, the Atmospheric Chemistry Data Server, seafloor data from the coaxial segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, data on exploration of hydrothermal vents, Florida current transport data, EPIC observational data, Pacific Ocean hydrography from WOCE P15S Cruise cross sections, Ka'imimoana Shipboard Acoustic Doppler Current Profile (ADCP) Data, Atmospheric Chemistry Trace Gas Program data, Historical TAO CTD data, near real-time TAO CTD data, and access to other distributed NOAA data and information. This site also has animations and virtual reality displays of tsunamis, El Nino and La Nina, fisheries oceanography, and Convection and Circulation at Ocean Ridge Crests. (more info)
  • Scientific Graphics Toolkit. The Scientific Graphics Toolkit (SGT) facilitates easy development of platform independent, Java applications to produce highly interactive, flexible, publication quality, object oriented graphics of scientific data. Features include user settable or automatically scaled axes, sophisticated, automatically self-scaling time axes, labels as movable, customizable objects, automatic generation of legends to explain the data being displayed, and many more. Includes on-line documentation, examples, and streaming video tutorial. (more info)
  • Terra: The EOS Flagship. This website provides access to images and data from NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra instruments (ASTER, CERES, MISR, MODIS, and MOPITT). A collection of fact sheets on Terra-related topics includes: what are aerosols?, changing global cloudiness, surface absorption and reflection, changing global land surface, and the roles of the ocean in climate change. A publications index offers links to a Terra brochure, press kit, science writers guide, and instructions on how to build a paper model of Terra. There is also a link to the Earth Observatory, which details new science results from Terra and other NASA Earth'science missions. ( This site may be offline. )
  • The National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC). The National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) is the national repository for geophysical data, one of three National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) National Data Centers, and part of the US Department of Commerce (USDOC) and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). NGDC manages environmental data in the disciplines of marine geology and geophysics, paleoclimatology, solar-terrestrial physics, solid earth geophysics, and glaciology (snow and ice). In each of these fields NGDC also operates a World Data Center (WDC-A) discipline center serving to oversee the acquisition and exchange of global data. NGDC's data holdings currently contain more than 300 digital and analog databases. Data and inventories in many disciplines are fully searchable and selected listings, data, and images can be downloaded directly or via an FTP or Gopher archive. (A link is also provided to NOAA's NOAAServer, which offers cross-disciplinary searches of data available from NOAA Data Centers and Centers of Data, including NGDC.) Specific NGDC data categories include Solar-Terrestrial Physics (STP), Solar and Upper Atmosphere, Ionosphere, Geomag (ground-based measurements of the geomagnetosphere), GOES SEM (energetic particle, x-ray, and magnetic field measurements at geosynchronous altitude), GOES SXI (Solar X-Ray Imager), NOAA/POES (energetic particle measurements at polar-orbit altitude), and DMSP (cloud imagery, city lights, fires, energetic particles). (more info)
  • The Virtual Geography Department. The Virtual Geography Department in an ongoing project that hopes to interlink geography department curricula both nationally and internationally using the Internet and World Wide Web. The goal of the Virtual Geography Department Project is to offer high quality curricular materials and classroom and laboratory modules that can be used across the Internet by geography students and faculty at any university in the world, and all the while, promote collaborative research. Stress is being placed on curriculum integration through the creation of on-line "electronic" texts and resource materials that will be of service to a wide range of departments. The project links existing materials on the Internet and has commissioned new materials to address topics not now represented. In this way, geographers at many universities can share the time and expense of developing hypermedia and multimedia curricular materials and benefit from the materials that might not otherwise be made available commercially. Specific curricula materials, classroom modules, and laboratory exercises that presently available are categorized by the following topics: cartography, earth's environment and society, geographic information systems/remote sensing/statistics, history and philosophy of geography, physical geography, urban and economic geography, virtual fieldtrips, and world regional geography and area studies. The site also provides links to geography departments throughout the world, links to geography-related online courses organized by subject, and links to online resources for geographers such as geography-related journals, professional organizations, and map collections. ( This site may be offline. )
  • Visible Earth. This site provides a searchable collection of NASA Earth science images, animations and data visualizations. Most images are available at multiple resolutions, with a description of the image and metadata. Users can search the database using full text; or with advanced searches by topic, keyword, sensor, geographic region, parameter, and dates. Examples of topics represented in this collection are snow and ice, agriculture, oceans, climate, the atmosphere, human dimensions, land surface, the solid earth and more. (more info)