navigation image map

Before we begin the LANDSAT GAME (below), we will now demonstrate for you our strategy in identifying the MISR image shown at the bottom of the previous page.

At the outset, the first step is to rotate the image such that its orientation has North towards the top. How? Look at the clouds in that scene. Since MISR is flown during the morning on Terra, the cloud shadows should be towards the left corner. Thus, the image needs a 90° clockwise rotation, giving this properly oriented scene:

Properly oriented Mystery scene.

The writer's (NMS) first impression of the scene overall is that it is not in arid or desert terrain and that no mountains lie within it. The green areas seem to be forested. The strip of land between two water areas lies between two oceanic bodies, or a sea and a lake, or two lakes. There is a pinkish area at the end of one water inlet that could be a city. Above it there is a sharp dividing line between mixed forest/open land and more barren land. Still further up, the pinkish terrain is flat but has numerous lakes and narrow dark strips.

Thhis last feature reminded me of the glacially-scoured terrain found in the Canadian Shield (see page 2-9). This is typical of several such shields (landscapes consisting of Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks, exposed by erosion) but only one of these has been modified by glaciation. This is the Fennoscandian Shield north of the Baltic Sea. So I hypothesized that this Sea was in the picture. Its east end stops abruptly at land. The sharp dividing line could be the boundary between two countries with different land use practices. What then is the second water body. Probably a lake.

At this point, I was pretty sure I knew the answer as to "where". The Shield area was in Finland. I now consulted a World Atlas and found one showing Finland, and noted where it met the Baltic. I also factored in the scale - MISR images typically cover 150 miles (about 250 km) or more. The water body on the right was Lake Ladoga. The pink citylike area was St. Petersburg in Russia. Everything fit. Check your atlas to confirm this. Incidentally, when the German Army during the second World War besieged St. P. (known then as Leningrad), for nearly 1000 days, at one time the only way the Soviet Army could supply the nearly starving city was over the ice of Lake Ladoga in winter or by ship in summer. And, the sharp border boundary is the result of land clearing by the Finns as a defensive measure (they had fought valiantly against the Soviets in a short but fierce war in the winter of 1940) that would prevent incursion through forests.

A splendid image of St. Petersburg can be looked at now by clicking to page 6-12a and scrolling to the bottom.

This, then, is the procedure I used to zero in on the location of the MISR scene. It, or variations, can now be applied to the Landsat scenes that follow (these are scaled to about 100 miles on a side).


Your challenge is to identify where each of the (mainly) Landsat images below is located. Hints are given. When you have made your guesses, click here for the answers. No cheating - make your guesses first and then go look at the answers.


Home of Ancient Philosophers and Big Games

Check the answer to this especially for some great information


Allied Invasion from the South; A Coastal Playground


The Meeting of Two Continents (Geographers' arbitrary decision)

Perhaps this scene's identity may become more obvious when it is placed in a larger context, as is done with this computer merge between a Landsat natural color image and topographic data from the SRTM mission.

Or going to the other extreme and examining this further hint: At the meeting of the continents, there is a great city, shown below - famed as a center of Christian Orthodoxy and later important in the Muslim Faith.

Aster image.


Tallest Mountain on the Continent; Big-Game Country


Longest Structure in the World; Note large Square (right center)

Check out the Answer to see this Longest Structure.


Asia's famed financial city is at the lower right

(see SPOT 3 closeup below)


UN Home City here; Land of the Yodelers


The War of the 1960s


Have you seen this before

Primary Author: Nicholas M. Short, Sr. email:

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