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Earth Exploration Toolbook Chapter: Measuring Distance and Area in Satellite Images DLESE Reviewed Collection
This chapter describes how to set a scale and measure distances and areas on satellite images. Using ImageJ, a freely available image analysis program that runs on most operating systems, users set the spatial calibration of an image, then select and measure distances and areas on it. The measurement results are reported in real-world units. The technique is most useful and accurate for nadir view (straight down) images. In this chapter, users examine satellite images of the Aral Sea, which has shrunk dramatically since 1960 because the rivers that flow into it have been tapped for irrigation. Users access satellite images of the region, then set a scale and measure the width of the sea each year. On another set of images, they highlight areas that represent water and measure them to see how these areas of the sea changed.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
  • College (13-14)
  • College (15-16)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Computer activity
    • Case study
    • Module / Unit
    • Tutorial
  • Visual:
    • Imagery - remotely sensed
  • Dataset:
    • Remotely sensed
  • Physical object
Subject:
  • Environmental science
  • Geographical Sciences:
    • Human geography
    • Physical geography
Technical requirements:
Java
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
Cost information is not known
This product is free and clear for general use.
DLESE Catalog ID: NASA-ESERevProd558
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Change, constancy, and measurement
      • E - Science and technology:
        • Abilities of technological design
        • Understandings about sci. / tech.
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Populations, resources, environments
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Change, constancy, and measurement
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • E - Science and technology:
        • Understandings about science and technology
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Environmental quality
        • Natural and human-induced hazards
        • Natural resources
        • Sci. / tech. in local, national, and global challenges
  • National Geography Standards:
    • Environment and society:
      • How human actions modify the physical env.
      • The changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources
    • Physical systems:
      • The characteristics and spatial distribution of ecosystems on Earth's surface
      • The physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth's surface
    • The uses of geography:
      • How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future
    • The world in spatial terms:
      • How to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on Earth's surface
      • How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Contact: TERC