Earth Observation Day
Earth Observation Day (EOD) is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and outreach event sponsored by AmericaView to celebrate the Landsat mission (landsat.usgs.gov and landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov), a joint effort of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Landsat program has provided a continuous space-based record of the surface of the Earth since 1972. Every day, Landsat satellite imagery provides information to scientists, researchers, farmers, forest managers, policy makers, and many others that helps them make wise decisions about our resources and our environment. This year EOD was celebrated officially on Tuesday, October 11, 2016. But as we like to say at AmericaView, “Every day is Earth Observation Day!” Visit the Earth Observation Day Facebook Page and Twitter Feed
Change is everywhere. We see change best when we can compare things—like before and after images. Landsat helps us do this. Landsat satellites have been imaging our planet over four decades, allowing us to see how the Earth’s land surface has changed. This poster provides examples of change over time as observed by Landsat satellites.
During 2013, teachers and AmericaView scientists worked with the GLOBE SATELLITES program to explore the surface temperature of two common types of land cover, asphalt and grass, using Landsat satellite data and measurements taken by students. The idea was to explore patterns of surface temperature as they relate to Earth’s energy budget. Land cover influences a wide range of important socio-economic and ecological conditions, including local climate, air and water quality, human health and wellness, soil permeability and productivity, stream flow and runoff, and wildlife habitat, to name a few. Mapping land cover using free Landsat data, along with surface temperature measurements, comprise engaging, standards-based exercises that introduce remote sensing technology and critically important spatial thinking skills, fostering a richer, more interesting, and more powerful scientific and cultural understanding of the local environment. For more information on the GLOBE SATELLITES / AmericaView Earth Observation Day 2013 Field Campaign click here. A tutorial covering how to access free Landsat and other remote sensing data is available here.
Why Landsat Images?
Landsat images date back to 1972 and are the longest, most comprehensive set of satellite data of Earth and its features. The images are an exciting and freely available educational resource for teachers of all levels. Landsat images and derived products such as land cover maps (for example, at right), surface temperature maps, tree canopy maps, and soil permeability maps can be used in a wide variety of STEM disciplines including the physical and life sciences. Landsat images also support exploration and investigation in interdisciplinary subjects such as geography, social studies, political science, even history. Thus, land cover mapping using free Landsat imagery helps to meet science content standards and objectives in Physical Science, Life Science, Geography (including critically important spatial thinking skills), as well as Inquiry Standards and 21st Century Learning objectives. Full state mosaic Landsat posters from USGS are available here.
Support for Teachers and How to Get Involved
One of the unique features of Earth Observation Day is that AmericaView scientists, all of whom are experts in remote sensing and related geospatial technologies, are available to support teachers in their respective states. Pre-service teachers learning to use GPS receivers during an Earth Observation Day event in West Virginia. Support can come in various ways, either by answering questions about the lesson plans, or by pointing teachers toward other resources, or by offering to talk with students in the classroom. AmericaView scientists are committed to helping their state’s K-12 teachers as they expand their horizons and begin to integrate remote sensing as a fun, informative, and engaging teaching tool in their classrooms. For information about K-12 use of Landsat images on Earth Observation Day, October 11, 2016, contact either by email or call him at 724-938-4255 or by email or call her at 865-456-4498. A 2013 white paper explaining Earth Observation Day in more detail is available here.