How to interpret Google Earth satellite images?

sand storm seen from satellite

Google Earth provides satellite images of the planet which contains a lot of important data. You can easily identify various changes within your environment from any location without an actual visit to the affected spot.

Although basic skills in map reading can be of great help, a good knowledge of the area will enable you to identify changes instantly.

You can easily see light brown sandstorm patterns on dryland that has been affected by desertification.

The effect of volcanoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires among other events that have taken place in recent times can also be observed.

You can also see the effects of population growth, changes in the transportation system, different ecosystems, vegetation, and lots more.

Good knowledge of landmarks within a region like conservation areas which are managed by the government can be identified easily.

If you are new to the area that you are viewing on Google Earth, an atlas or a reference map would be of great assistance.

Major landmarks and other important features are named in maps, making it easy for you to locate other elements in a particular region.

There are online mapping services that can be employed to enable you to understand certain changes that occur around you as seen in the satellite image.

For effective interpretation of the information contained in satellite images, here are some key considerations:

1. Identify the North

Identifying where the north is will enable you to figure out the exact position of certain elements in the satellite image.

The satellite image should be oriented with the north towards the top for easy identification of certain features, just the way we use landmarks to find our way when we are lost.

Knowing that the north is up, you can easily find certain structures that are to the east or west of a river or a city that is to the north or south of a mountain.

On Google Earth, the north is oriented toward the North by default, so that you can easily match several elements to a reference map.

2. Find a Scale

You can zoom in on specific areas to view elements of nature like lakes, mountains, and rivers, as well as places of interest like schools, business locations, tourist centers, parks, and healthcare…
Continue reading the article and learn more about Google Earth on

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