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General Information Product 133

Tracking Change Over Time

Thumbnail of and link to report PDFIntroduction

Landsat satellites capture images of Earth from space—and have since 1972! These images provide a long-term record of natural and human-induced changes on the global landscape. Comparing images from multiple years reveals slow and subtle changes as well as rapid and devastating ones. Landsat images are available over the Internet at no charge. Using the free software MultiSpec, students can track changes to the landscape over time—just like remote sensing scientists do!

The objective of the Tracking Change Over Time lesson plan is to get students excited about studying the changing Earth. Intended for students in grades 5–8, the lesson plan is flexible and may be used as a student self-guided tutorial or as a teacher-led class lesson. Enhance students’ learning of geography, map reading, earth science, and problem solving by seeing landscape changes from space.

Revised March 10, 2016

First posted September 28, 2011

Suggested citation:

U.S. Geological Survey, 2016, Tracking change over time (ver. 2.0, March 2016): U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 133, variously paged,

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