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Ground Truthing


The acquisition of earth images from the sky has revolutionized the understanding of weather and other earth systems. But images must be interpreted and an image is not reality. The process of verifying what an image really represents is called ground truthing. For example, in a weather image that shows certain pixels as white, it isn’t obvious whether the white represents snow, ice, fog, or clouds. Ground truthing in that case would involve going to the area or calling someone there to find out what was happening at the time of the image production.

The Landsat image of the Iturralde structure in 1985 revealed a circular pattern that conditions created when that image was produced by the instrumentation. The mission to the Iturralde structure is the attempt to provide ‘ground truth’ and, in the process, ascertain whether or not the structure is indeed the result of a meteor impact.

So what needs to be done to ground truth at the Iturralde structure? The scientists will engage in numerous activities many of which would fall in the following categories :

• magnetometer readings
• survey of flora and fauna
• collection of soil samples
• obtaining core samples
• acquisition of mineral and rock specimens

For a detailed treatment of ground truthing this url is an excellent source.