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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
  • Environmental science
  • Geographical Sciences:
    • Human geography
Technical requirements:
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
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Contact: TERC