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Posts Tagged ‘Earth As Art’

2017 Capricon Science Fiction Convention

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Illustration from Planet Earth As Art When Seen From Space presentation
Illustration from Planet Earth As Art When Seen From Space presentation

I’ll be spending the next few days at the Capricon Science Fiction Convention at the Westin in Wheeling IL and once again I’ll be participating in the convention’s programming. The highlight for me will be my presentation on Saturday Planet Earth As Art When Seen From Space My presentation begins with a brief overview of image processing and the techniques I use to process satellite images. Then I dive in to a diverse selection of images I’ve processed – most of which are from the Landsat 8 program.

One point: the most challenging and aggravating part of putting together this presentation was not working with the images but trying to identify the names of the geographical features in the image. In terms of naming geographical features, particularly extended features, I give Google Earth a solid F. To identify feature names I had to resort to quite a variety of online resources. On the bright side, the quest to locate geographic feature names was quite the learning experience and led me to a number of resources that I had no idea existed.

While I greatly enjoy the opportunity (and honor) of doing solo presentations at the conventions I attend, I usually find that being a participant on a panel is more interesting because of the dialogs that occur between panelists. At this year’s Capricon I’ll be participating in three utterly unrelated panel discussions.

On Friday I’ll be serving as the moderator for the panel Science Fiction Art – Classic vs New Mediums. Joining me on the panel are Meg Frank, Brian Babendererde, and Carol Metzger. Our objective is to answer the question of what makes art classic versus contemporary? We’ll also explore how the artist’s medium affects the "feel" of the artwork and how the advent of digital art has changed the way we view art.

On Saturday, I will once again be on a panel about scientific literacy. Titled Science Literacy for ALL 2.0 moderator Alicia Choi has the challenging task of moderating Pat Sayre McCoy, Richard Garfinkle, Carol F Metzger, and myself while we debate/explore the meaning of science literacy and it’s importance in today’s society. This panel is a continuation of the panel we did at the 2016 Capricon. And for my money, that was the best panel I participated in that year. This year though I think I’m going to argue against an emphasis on scientific literacy and for an emphasis on the development and promotion of critical thinking skills and critical reasoning.

Also on Saturday, I’ll be putting on my military thinking helmet and exploring the subject Mighty Space Fleets of War – in which Chris Gerrib will lead his staff of armchair generals J.A. Sutherland, Joseph Stockman, and myself on an exploration of the design of future space battleships and their armaments. Of particular interest to me is the question "why would they fight" as this plays into economics and my own presentation The Globalization of the Solar System, a talk I gave at a number of venues in 2016 as a representative of the Chicago Society for Space Studies.

Outside of the programs I am participating in, some of the other programs at Capricon that I would like to attend include:

  • Is Art School Worth it? – whose title says it all.
  • Do We Live in a Petri Dish? – addressing the age old question of are we just the specimens in some grand experiment.
  • Separating Art from the Artist – explores how an artist’s personality affects how you view their art.
  • The Future of Publishing – discussing the future of Self-publishing, e-books, Kickstarter, etc.
  • The Future’s So Bright…Or Is It? – a discussion of dystopias – a fascinating subject for me and a subject area for which I been a SF panelist at past cons.
  • Art in the BEFORE TIMES – a discussion of how art was made in the pre-digital age.
  • Improve Your Photography Using Histograms – where Jay Kreibich will share his perspectives on the use of histograms in image processing.

The Illustration

To illustrate this post I’ve used an image of the Bissagos Islands, an archipelago off the coast of the west African nation of Guinea-Bissau. This is one of the images I use in my presentation. Some of the remote sensing images I’ve processed are available as merchandise on Redbubble in my Planet Earth Satellite Imagery gallery.

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Best of Earth As Art Contest

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Yukon Delta
The Yukon Delta

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Landsat series of Earth observation satellites, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA are sponsoring an Earth As Art art contest. In the contest you can vote for up to 5 pictures from the selection of 126 Earth images. Voting closes on July 6. The five winning images in the Earth as Art contest will be announced on July 23 in Washington, D.C. at a special event commemorating the launch of the first Landsat satellite.

While the purpose of these images is to provide scientific information, a great many of them are strikingly beautiful. Spectacular views of mountains, valleys, islands, forests, grasslands, and agricultural patterns have a rather unique aesthetic appeal. The combination of natural features that have been colorized using a digital palette produces images that are not only beautiful but also informative. It is worth noting that the Earth as Art concept was preceded by the Mars as Art and Sun as Art programs that were a consequence of robotic missions studying Mars and the Sun.

About the Landsat Program

Built by NASA and operated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Landsat satellites supply Earth scientists, land-resource managers, and policy makers with data about changes to the global landscape. Some changes, like floods or volcanic eruptions, occur quickly while others, like urban sprawl or regrowth from forest fires, appear gradually. Landsat records these and many other changes to the Earth’s landscape – whether man made or induced by natural processes. NASA is preparing to launch the next Landsat satellite in 2013, which will be turned over to USGS for operations and data distribution.

Australia Great Sandy Desert
The western region of Australia’s Great Sandy Desert

Earth As Art Images

You can download full size versions of the Earth As Art images but to do so requires that you register for an account on the USGS Earthexplorer web site. To register for an account visit https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/register/.

Earth As Art Contest Web Site

As previously noted the contest is open until July 6 and you may vote for up to 5 images. To view the contest entries and vote, visit eros.usgs.gov/eaa_voting/

Reference Links

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