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The Earth Scan Laboratory (ESL), a facility in the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) of the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences (DOCS) at LSU was founded in 1988, and was one of the first universities in the United States to have a real-time satellite capture capability. The ESL's unique location, north of the central Gulf of Mexico, provides a radio horizon for polar orbiting satellites that extends north, into the Hudson Bay, south beyond Panama, and east/west to cover both seaboards of the United States. Over the past two decades, the ESL has built a reputation for providing access to a variety of sensor systems on board a large array of satellites. With it ability to capture several of the National OceÂ¿anographie and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) environmental satellites, including the eastern GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) satellite, the ESL is able to observe local ocean phenomena, such as the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current (LC) as well as the El Nino/La Nina oscillations of the eastern Pacific ocean. The ESL provides a large archive of imagery on its web site (http://www.esl.lsu.edu), and focuses on access to real-time data. An overview of the ESL capabilities and activities is given, with attention to ocean observation, and its role in research, education, commerce, and emergency response.