In the 1990s, a photo taken by the probe Voyager showed the Earth as a small island right in the middle of an infinite black ocean 6 billion kilometres away. A ‘Blue Marble’ turned into a ‘Pale Blue Dot’ and initiated a public discourse about a sustainable handling of our resources. Therefore, ‘Blue Dot – Shaping the Future’ became the title of the mission of Alexander Gerst’s space flight. From 28 May to 10 November 10, 2014 the ESA Astronaut fascinated the German public with his live-impressions from the International Space Station (ISS). Simultaneously, the project ‘Columbus Eye – Live-Imagery from the ISS in Schools’ established a learning portal on earth observation from the ISS (www.columbuseye.uni-bonn.de). The portal makes use of NASA’s High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment which features four cameras observing the earth 24/7. Columbus Eye is carried out at the University of Bonn and sponsored by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Space Administration. The main goal of Columbus Eye is to enable children to observe our planet from the astronaut’s perspective while applying professional remote sensing analysis tools. During the IAC 2014, we published a concept on how the fascination of technology and environment should be bundled in order to ignite the pupil’s interest on spaceflight and earth observation. Following up on this, in 2015 we are proud to present the implementations of this concept: the HDEV archive and, even more important, the observatory. While the archive provides spectacular footage of e.g. the Mediterranean Sea, the Himalaya, and sunrises available for everybody, the observatory was specifically constructed for pupils and teachers. Here, it is possible to learn about processes and phenomena of the coupled human- environment system in an interactive manner. The pupils can conduct easy-to-use image processing analyses on their own. In doing so, they get the opportunity to derive a map out of an HDEV image and hence turn a continuous spatial texture into a discrete spatial pattern of land uses. The presentation explains how teachers can be taught to apply the Columbus Eye learning tools in their everyday school lessons. Additionally, we present the next mission of the project: HDEV videos will be edited in order to perceive them in virtual reality. Witnessing geospatial analysis turns into experience and enters our understanding.
Research Containing: Earth Observing System
For over two decades nighttime satellite imagery from the Operational Linescan System (OLS) has been used to detect impervious surfaces. However, OLS-based maps suffer from the sensor’s coarse resolution (2.7 km/pixel), overglow, and saturation in urban areas, resulting in inaccurate estimates of the extent and degree of impervious surfaces. In order to provide more reliable estimates of impervious surface extent, we used high resolution (~10 m/pixel) nighttime photography from the International Space Station (ISS). Focusing on the city of Berlin in Germany, we produced a map of the extent of impervious surfaces. Our classification was 85% accurate for both user and producer measures. Impervious surfaces omitted by ISS photography were mainly transit roads and airport runways, while green areas and water bodies within the city were falsely identified. An analysis based on ISS imagery classified 55.7% of the study area as impervious, which is only 3.9% less than ground truth (while the OLS-based estimate was 40% higher than ground truth). ISS imagery failed to provide reliable information about the degree of imperviousness for individual pixels (±20% errors); nevertheless it accurately estimated the spatially-averaged degree of imperviousness for the whole study area (30.2% vs. the reference value of 30.1%). These results show that ISS photography is an important source of nighttime imagery for mapping the extent of impervious surfaces, and represents a considerable improvement over OLS capabilities.