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Making sense of space-based Earth image data: the KidSat data system

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5 Author(s)
P. M. Andres ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA ; L. Amy ; D. Steinwand ; J. Lawson
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The KidSat data system provided near real-time access to digital images taken from the space shuttle. The images were made available to middle school students and teachers across the country and overseas through the World Wide Web. The KidSat Project was one of the first NASA programs to attempt to use the web as a means of distributing image data within minutes of the time they were captured in space. After the first hurdle, getting the image data online in a timely manner, was cleared, it became the goal of the data system to present that data in an understandable context. The development of the system was a collaborative effort. Members of the data system team conferred continually with teachers, students, and other members of the KidSat Project. Modifications to the data system were made as often as was possible, while attempting to avoid confusing the users. The goal was to create an online system that presented the KidSat images in a manner that allowed the students to better understand and interpret these images. In short, that goal was reached, but whether the users agreed with this judgment may be directly related to the speed with which they could connect to the Internet. Many lessons were learned along the way, and strategies for future similar projects were devised. For the three KidSat missions, over 1500 images were captured and made available on the data system. Additionally, metadata describing the shuttle location and orientation, satellite weather data (captured at or near the time of the KidSat image), and digital maps of the area directly surrounding the KidSat image were made available. How these various data sets were assembled and how effectively design and operational goals were met is discussed in detail

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:37 ,  Issue: 4 )