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Earth Exploration Toolbook Chapter: Measuring Distance and Area in Satellite Images DLESE Reviewed Collection
Users download and analyze MODIS imagery from 2001 and 2003 to quantify the shrinking of the Aral Sea. The chapter steps users through downloading, installing, and measuring with ImageJ, a freely available image analysis program. Users employ the software to set the spatial calibration of an image, then select and measure distances directly from the image. Measurement results are reported in real-world units. Users also select, measure, and compare the area covered by the sea in three time-series images. The techniques described are useful only for nadir view (straight down) images.
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
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Original, creative works created for the Earth Exploration Toolbook website remain the intellectual property of that program and may be used freely for any non-commercial, educational purpose with attribution to TERC, Carleton College, and the chapter author's affiliation. We encourage the reuse and disemination of the material on this site for educational, noncommercial purposes as long as attribuition is retained. To this end the material on this site is offered under a Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0.
DLESE Catalog ID: SERC-EET-000-000-000-020
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:
Author: LuAnn Dahlman
Center for Science Teaching and Learning at TERC