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In this activity, students learn how different classes of topographic features reflect light in characteristic ways, and how data captured by satellite sensors can be used to measure vegetation cover. They are introduced to the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) and use software to create a graph comparing the NDVI values in different parts of the map. The analysis results in a histogram, showing percentage NDVI values for the image. Required satellite images and software are accessed through a Web link on the Global System Science website. This activity is supported by a textbook chapter, "Losing Tropical Rain Forests," part of the unit, A New World View, in Global Systems Science (GSS), an interdisciplinary course for high school students that emphasizes how scientists from a wide variety of fields work together to understand significant problems of global impact.
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