America From the Air: A Guide to the Landscape Along Your Route
Daniel Mathews and James Jackson (2007) Houghton Mifflin
Dan and I wrote this book as a guide to those who choose the window seat when flying across parts
of North America. Our intention was to provide an image and an essay for locations seen every 20
minutes on the principle flight paths taken by commerical aircraft in the US outside of Hawaii.
The images are reproduced in the book at the scale you would see them from an altitude of 30,000'.
We included a short section on clouds and aviation weather, which might give you something to
do if the view of the ground is obscurred. We also included a section on air photo interpretation of
geology and landforms.
In the process of writing the book, we found a number of resources that we think may be of use to
teachers preparing lessons in geology or geography. The following list is not exhaustive, but it does provide
resources that may help you to prepare a lesson plan.
Please advise me if the links do not work at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources of Aerial and Other Images:
Google Earth-First you download the application to your computer. Then you open it . . .
it is quite wonder filled:
The National Map Seamless Server The US Government serves up a variety of imagery here:
The Eros Data Center The US Geological Survey long ago placed its center for satellite and other remotely
sensed data in South Dakota. The name of the center may suggest something else: humor in the Dakotas.
State Orthoquads: This links to a page with state by state high resolution imagery. Almost all have a page. Almost all are free.
The Gateway to Astronaut Photography NASA has been sending people into space for short and long journeys for over 40 years. They carry cameras.
Flickr is a photo-sharing website. It has (atleast) two groups devoted to air photos.
Oregon Image Explorer
California Geographical Survey Dr William Bowen has compiled a wonderful site on the state's geography and geology. The Flight Movies are a particular delight
Cal State-Long Beach has assembled a fine collection of low elevation oblique images. If you want to see
the San Andreas Fault in fine detail along many miles of its trace, this is perhaps the best collection
What can you see on these images? Interpretation websites:
Dr Shott provides an online tutorial covering the material typically seen in air photo interpretation course:
Nasa has a second page devoted to geomorphology as seen from space, a fine complement to Shott's tutorial:
Errata- we made some errors in writing the book.
Page 60 Lake Mead is incorrectly identified as a California lake, when it is a Nevada and Arizona lake (thanks to Dan Evans, Washington DC)
Page 74 The White River is incorrectly identifed as the Wabash (thanks to Dr. Haendel, Los Angeles, CA)
Page 159 Interstate 91 is noted as Interstate 95 (thanks to Sig Roos, Concord, MA)
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