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Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change

Topics: Remote sensing, land change, satellite imagery, time series, landscape evolution, Landsat

Length: One class periods

Type of Resource Being Described: Images with Background Information


Earthshots is an e-book of before-and-after Landsat images (1972-present), showing recent environmental events and introducing the concept of remote sensing. Each set of images includes a detailed description, photographs and maps, a list of references, and a question/answer. Users can click on an interactive world map at flagged locations and view various landscapes and features. The map and sites are searchable by landform category, such as forest, water, glaciers, and deserts, as well as natural disasters and wildlife. Each site has multiple images from various image dates to show how the region changes over time, along with narrative descriptions of what the user is viewing.


  • Understand the earth's dynamic land surface. 
  • View how landscapes change over time.
  • Understand the various features that satellite imagery can show us.
  • Build skills in interpreting satellite imagery and change detection.


Go to this USGS website to view the e-book.