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SRTM CENTRAL AMERICA IMAGES


Information on:
Hi-Res. Tiff | Colored Height and Shaded Relief of Central America
Hi-Res. Tiff | Perspective View with Landsat Overlay, Lakes Managua and Nicaragua
View the Central America Image Gallery

Colored Height and Shaded Relief Colored Height and Shaded Relief, Annotated

Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, southern Mexico and parts of Cuba and Jamaica are all seen in this image from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. The dominant feature of the northern part of Central America is the Sierra Madre Range, spreading east from Mexico between the narrow Pacific coastal plain and the limestone lowland of the Yucatan Peninsula. Parallel hill ranges sweep across Honduras and extend south, past the Caribbean Mosquito Coast to lakes Managua and Nicaragua. The Cordillera Central rises to the south, gradually descending to Lake Gatun and the Isthmus of Panama. A highly active volcanic belt runs along the Pacific seaboard from Mexico to Costa Rica.

High-quality satellite imagery of Central America has, until now, been difficult to obtain due to persistent cloud cover in this region of the world. The ability of SRTM to penetrate clouds and make three-dimensional measurements has allowed the generation of the first complete high-resolution topographic map of the entire region. This map was used to generate the image.

Two visualization methods were combined to produce the image: shading and color coding of topographic height. The shade image was derived by computing topographic slope in the north-south direction. Color coding is directly related to topographic height, with green at the lower elevations, rising through yellow, red, and magenta, to white at the highest elevations.

Elevation data used in this image were acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, launched on February 11, 2000. The mission used the same radar instrument that comprised the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar that flew twice on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1994. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission was designed to collect three-dimensional measurements of the Earth's surface. To collect the 3-D data, engineers added a 60-meter (200-foot)-long mast, installed additional C-band and X-band antennas, and improved tracking and navigation devices. The mission is a cooperative project between NASA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, and the German and Italian space agencies. It is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, Washington, D.C.

Size: 1720 by 1670 kilometers (1068 by 1036 miles)
Location: 14.5 degrees North latitude, 85.0 degrees West longitude
Orientation: North toward the top
Image Data: Shaded and colored SRTM elevation model
Date Acquired: February 2000
Image: NASA/JPL/NGA

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Perspective View with Landsat Overlay, Lakes Managua and Nicaragua

Perspective View with Landsat Overlay

This perspective view shows Lakes Managua and Nicaragua near the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. Lake Managua is the 65-kilometer (40-mile)-long fresh water lake in the foreground of this south-looking view, emptying via the Tipitapa River into the much larger Lake Nicaragua in the distance. The capital city of Managua, with a population of more than 500,000, is located along the southern shore of Lake Managua, the area with the highest population density in Nicaragua.

The physical setting of Lake Managua is dominated by the numerous volcanic features aligned in a northwest-southeast axis. The cone-like feature in the foreground is Momotombo, a 1,280-meter (4,199-foot)-high stratovolcano located on the northwest end of the lake. Two water-filled volcanic craters (Apoyegue and Jiloa volcanoes) reside on the Chiltepe Peninsula protruding into the lake from the west. Two volcanoes can also be seen on the island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua: El Maderas rising to 1,394 meters (4,573 feet) and the active El Conception at 1,610 meters (5,282 feet).

This three-dimensional perspective view was generated using topographic data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and an enhanced false-color Landsat 7 satellite image. Colors are from Landsat bands 5, 4, and 2 as red, green and blue, respectively. Topographic expression is exaggerated two times.

Landsat has been providing visible and infrared views of the Earth since 1972. SRTM elevation data matches the 30-meter resolution of most Landsat images and will substantially help in analyses of the large and growing Landsat image archive. The Landsat 7 Thematic Mapper image used here was provided to the SRTM by the United States Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Elevation data used in this image was acquired by the SRTM aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, launched on February 11, 2000. SRTM used the same radar instrument that comprised the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) that flew twice on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1994. SRTM was designed to collect three-dimensional measurements of the Earth's surface. To collect the 3-D data, engineers added a 60-meter-long (200-foot) mast, installed additional C-band and X-band antennas, and improved tracking and navigation devices. The mission is a cooperative project between NASA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and the German and Italian space agencies. It is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, Washington, D.C.

Size: scale varies in this perspective image
Location: 12.1 degrees North latitude, 86.1degrees West longitude
Orientation: looking South
Image Data: Landsat bands 5, 4, 3 as red, green, blue respectively
Original Data Resolution: SRTM 30 meters (99 feet)
Date Acquired: February 2000 (SRTM)

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