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Lecture by USGS Specialist Highlights "Earth As Art" Satellite Imagery Exhibition at FSU Exploratorium

Presentation To Include Sneak Preview of ‘Moving Window Display’ Technology

Imagine being able to see moving satellite images of Earth from space within seconds of the satellite passing over a specific region—without leaving the comforts of a computer! Ron Beck, a program information specialist in the U.S. Geological Survey’s Land Remote Sensing Program, will discuss a new display designed by USGS that may eventually allow people to do just that during a special guest lecture at Frostburg State University. His talk will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2, at FSU’s Compton Science Center, room 226.

The lecture is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception with refreshments at 8 p.m. in FSU’s Exploratorium, where a display of colorful, visually appealing satellite imagery is on view in an exhibition titled “Earth As Art.” The exhibition includes a variety of images illustrating the interesting color variations and patterns created by geologic structures, drainage, glaciers and vegetation from throughout the world. From an altitude of 440 miles, the satellites offer a rare, spectacular perspective of the changing planet.

During his talk, Beck will demonstrate how the moving window display works and discuss its applications, including its role in putting together the aesthetically pleasing imagery in “Earth As Art.” Beck will discuss how the U.S. Geological Survey has been collecting satellite images to study changes to the surface of the planet. A group of images from the large archive form the basis for the "Earth as Art" exhibition. He will explain how the images were selected and how such data are used by the global science community. It will be the first public demonstration of the moving window display technology before it goes on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum.

The moving window display enables viewers to see an animation of the view from satellites that pass within the range of the USGS Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science in South Dakota. The display includes a map showing the path of the satellite as it approaches a central receiving station and reveals the converted measurements in a way that viewers can “see” the area below the satellite as it passes over. The technology has typically been used by USGS to monitor environmental changes and disasters, like Hurricane Katrina or a volcanic eruption at Mount Saint Helens in Washington.

“We’ve developed a system that converts the signal very quickly … you’re seeing the same view that you would have from the satellite,” Beck said.

Jim Jeffries, a key organizer of the event who works at the USGS office in Frostburg, is excited to bring the public a glimpse of the important work being done by USGS.

“I am a graduate of Frostburg State University—I completed my degree in earth science there in 1990—so it is a thrill to me to be able to bring things like this to the campus for the benefits of the students, faculty and the community at large,” he said. “It is interesting for folks in the general population to see the types of Earth Observation technology—and the reasons for it—that their federal government has and is working with in order to provide information for public officials to help them make informed decisions, and for scientists to study our planet and its changing face.”

The lecture and exhibition are sponsored by USGS and the FSU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For more information, contact Greg Andorfer at (301) 687-4090 or Jim Jeffries at (301) 687-0919 x12 or via e-mail at

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call (301) 687-4102, TDD (301) 687-7955.

For further information on this release, contact:

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