(4 March 2010) The Eduspace website was developed to introduce Earth observation techniques and applications to secondary school students, although some material is more suited to university undergraduate level. Since its introduction in 1998, it has provided an invaluable educational resource by making available catalogues of Earth imagery and a sophisticated image processing software package called LEOWorks, which enables satellite imagery to be manipulated and analysed on school computers.
For many years, the website was based upon a modular structure, which included an introduction to the principles of Earth observation, an ‘Envisat for Schools’ module and examples of Earth observation applications applied to different themes or geographical areas, such as Europe from Space, Africa from Space, Disaster Monitoring and Global Change.
The new version of Eduspace is easier to navigate and use. It also provides much more flexibility, so that additional content can easily be included in future. The current modules have been retained, but they are presented in a different way.
The section dedicated to explaining the principles and techniques of Earth observation remains an important introductory part of the website. The Envisat for Schools theme continues to provide information about the mission of ESA’s largest environmental satellite, its instruments and applications, including two case studies. However, the revised website presents the various application areas as different themes – Earth from Space and Environmental Issues – that can also be searched by geographical area.
The cornerstones of the website are the case studies. They provide teachers and students with examples of in-depth studies of a selected area, within a particular theme. The background information and varied exercises are intended to provide a valuable source of ideas about how to introduce Earth observation from space into the classroom.
This existing material will eventually be extended so that it provides general information about all of the continents.
The latest version of the LEOWorks software is able to perform many advanced processing operations, including image classification, geometric correction and pan-sharpening.
Eduspace is currently available in eight languages: English, French, German, Danish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. Other language versions are planned; for example, Greek will be available shortly.
For those who are unfamiliar with Earth observation and remote sensing, there is now a new introductory lesson available on the Education portal. The ‘Space Basics – Earth observation’ material gives a short explanation of the main terminology used in Earth observation. It also provides classroom exercises using satellite images and Eduspace.