Thursday, August 26, 2010

The EROS Data Center near Sioux Falls, SD

The EROS Data Center, located about 5 miles northeast of Sioux Falls, SD, is the central repository of satellite and aerial images in the world today. This is the location that receives, processes and stores the incredible images taken by space satellites and the space shuttle.

We decided to pay the site a visit and found a very interesting (and free) Visitor Center that is well worth investigating. Here, Rick and Orinda are standing in front of a LANDSAT satellite of the kind used to take pictures and images in infrared and other light bandwidths.

Here is an example of the kind of images that are available (and can be downloaded to your computer). The shot to the left shows the desert area of Saudia Arabia in 1986. To the right is the same area taken 18 years later. The green dots represent central pivot irrigation systems which now cover thousands of acres -- in only 18 years! Water pumped through these systems comes from an ancient aquifer--they believe that some of this water has been in the aquifer for over 20,000 years!

EROS, under the US Dept. of the Interior, is unique in that it houses images from all over the world and the resulting data can be accessed by many different people.

Here, Orinda is checking out a Large Format Camera that was taken to space in the shuttle. The key to this camera is the very large film size (about 10" square) which allows amazing resolution. Makes my Canon Rebel look pretty small by comparison (but a lot more portable!)

EROS is at the cutting edge of technology and so is Orinda in these spiffy 3-D glasses. The map in front of her is 3-D enabled and the mountains seemed to jump out at her.

The detail of these images was remarkable. Here is a set of images showing Sioux Falls, SD and we were easily able to find the Yogi Bear RV Park where we are staying. Orinda is trying to point where it is, but seems a bit short for the task.

This beautiful set of images shows the state of SD with the Missouri River bisecting it. Orinda is pointing to the City of Madison where our mail forwarding service is located. The red tinted areas are actually areas of plant growth, while the blueish area west of the river are actually prairie.
Finally, here is a reminder of Hurricane Andrew just off the coast of Florida. This is the location where such incredible images are downloaded and then processed. It is hard to believe how big this storm was!


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Sounds like a great place to visit, thanks for the idea.

Freely Living Life said...

What an interesting place!

The photo of Hurricane Andrew is just spectacular!

Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful day! =)