Saturday, February 13, 2021

Viewing the Earth from the Side

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Earth Systems, Earth Science, Earth and Space Science, Geology 

Ed Hessler

Tell the truth but tell it slant.--Emily Dickinson (1263)

I wish I had thought of the title which heads a spectacular photoessay in Nightingale by Robert Simmon on satellite imagery: Earth at a Cute Angle.

The essay is about the dominant use of "nadir imagery,to use remote sensing jargon, i.e., top-down which makes things appear "unnaturally flat. It's a view that is disconnected from our everyday experience," writes Simmons. ... "We're used to seeing things from the side...never looking straight down."

Simmon takes us on a written and lavishly illustrated (a couple of embedded videos, too) essay on these two views and the importance of  oblique remote sensing.

Side-on 'oblique' aerial images give us a sense of depth and make it easier to connect abstract data to our own, lived experience. It was once the norm when such images were made from balloons. Today such images requires scientists and engineers to program satellites to shoot at unusual angles as well as from greater distances. I think you will agree that the results are worth it.

Nightingale is the journal of the Data Visualization Society.

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