REMOTE-SENSING ACTIVITY
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Yellowstone LandCover

Purpose

To use satellite images to create a land cover map of the Old Faithful region of Yellowstone National Park as it was before the fires of 1988. Compare landcover maps to satellite images to learn how to interpret landcover from satellite images.

Materials

Background

You are a map maker. You know that satellite images and aerial photographs provide useful information about the surface. You often use this information to draw land cover maps.
Satellite data from the Landsat thematic mapper (TM) sensor is collected every 16 days over the Yellowstone area.
The satellite image below is a false color composite that uses some of the information collected by the Landsat TM sensor. Use the legend to help you identify some of the different types of land cover in Yellowstone National Park. Now compare the satellite land cover features to the land cover map.

 

Yellowstone National Park -- August 2, 1989
Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM)
False Color Composite
Image Processing by Janet Chien

Land Cover Map (1994)
(Analysis, Wyoming Gap, 1996 1201,
Land Cover for Wyoming: University of Wyoming,
Spatial Data and Visualization Center, Laramie, Wyoming.)

GR_WET

Grass dominated wetland (marsh)

WBPINE

Whitebark pine

MNSAGE

Mountain Big Sagebrush

DG_FIR

Douglas Fir

SAMEAD

Subalpine meadow

LGPINE

Lodgepole pine

SH_RIP

Shrub-dominated riparian

GR_RIP

Grass-dominated riparian

FO_RIP

Forest-dominated riparian

B_ROCK

Basin exposed rock/soil

A_ROCK

Alpine exposed rock/soil

SPRUCE

Spruce-fir

TUNDRA

Alpine meadow tundra

ASPEN

Aspen forest

BURNED

1988 Fire

Map makers know that sometimes land cover features cannot be interpreted from either aerial photos or satellite images. When this happens, map makers travel on foot to collect the information they need. For example, on the Landsat image there is a pattern of light green, but you cannot know if it represents a grassy area or a sagebrush area.Only by going there can you be sure.

Please continue for the landcover mapper activity in the Old Faithful Geyser area.

 

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