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TerraFly is an interactive tool that allows for visualization and manipulation of spatial data. Accessed via a standard Web browser or customized CD-ROM versions, and independent of a users' level of expertise, this system allows the integration of remotely sensed data with digital data while a user is seamlessly flying over and viewing the resulting imagery. Data currently available includes land, urban, and coastal imagery collected by satellites, aerial photography, and other remote sensing means covering 97% of continental US (including Alaska) in high quality. Features that expand the data manipulation capabilities in TerraFly include: a compass control that allows 360-degree control of flight direction and speed, access to a database of place/street names and their coordinates, complete descriptions of areas of defined interest, zoom in/zoom out capabilities, ability to view specific spectral bands of the imagery, and information overlays that allow users to highlight specific features from the database. TerraFly supports synchronous flight in multiple windows, so imagery taken at different times, with different resolutions or camera-types can easily be compared side-by-side. The application can be used in K-12 classrooms to promote the use of interactive programs that teach students about their world and its environment. It can be customized to show relevant geographic areas of interest; for example, you can fly over your neighborhood or an ancient ruin in Greece. Teachers can tailor the experience to their needs by choosing various overlays, homework assignments, and interactive games to be used in conjunction with TerraFly. Step-by-step and animated tutorials are available to help users get started.
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