8.08.2008

Gee-Oh!-Graphic

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Every once in a while the government does something really great. The pictures taken from the Landsat satellite are such an example. They’re wonderful, artful and very beautiful. The satellite snaps pictures as it passes over the earth, and then the images of cities and the larger landscape are colorized to convey all kinds of scientific information: temperature, ocean currents, crops and land cover, deforestation, location of fires, before-and-after views of Katrina-affected land, erosion, the polar ice cover, atmospheric conditions, snow, altitude. The geographic information is accurate, while the colors—vivid, even garish, almost hallucinogenic (and you know the government will love that description)— are rendered in ways that allow clarity for the various geological disciplines. They’re a mapmaker's dream and an artist’s inspiration.
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Here are a few of the ones I liked. The images are in the public domain (hey, we paid for them) with the credit noted at the bottom of this post. I pulled most of the images from the web simply by Googling “Landsat,” but you can see a more edited and informative grouping as part of an exhibition supported by the Library of Congress. And you can learn more about the project at NASA.
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Who knew our tax dollars could be put to such good use?

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Wildfires on the Sioux Reservation, South Dakota

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Northern Russia

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Great Sandy Desert, Australia

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The Andes
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Northern Tundra, Russia

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Guinea-Bissau

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Bolivian deforestation

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The city of Tucson

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Kent County, Maryland

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Namibia desert

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Lena River Delta, Russia


Images courtesy of USGS National Center for EROS and NASA Landsat Project Science Office

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5 comments:

ericgelber said...

Thank you for listing me on your blog-roll. I just listed your blog on my blog-roll. I visit your blog almost every day. I am a big fan of geometric abstraction.

These satellite images are truly fantastic and very artistic. NASA and other science organizations both private and government run generate mind blowing imagery that the art community should be made more aware of.

mary-klein said...

Joanne, I think you would enjoy Annie Bissets' blog. Her woodblock print series, Three Prophets, is based on satellite views of Bethlehem, Mecca and Lumbini - the birthplaces of Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha. The prints are stunning to see online - and the description of her process is facinating.

Donna Thomas said...

These pictures are breathtaking! Thank you for sharing.

pam farrell said...

Hi Joanne:
I have found these images amazing and quite beautiful. Inspirational to say the least.

Here's a link to my blog, where I've posted my own paintings with geographical/continental references in response to these.

http://pfarrellartblog.blogspot.com/

Thanks, Pam

Alan said...

Great blog, Joanne! I'm a contemporary art obsessive, and was Googling Gary Hume's work when I stumbled upon your site. I'll return for more substantial treats periodically.