The first photo of the United States by NASA satellite

Jan 9, 2015

In 1974, NASA published their first satellite photo of the contiguous United States by stitching together a bunch of individual images.

A giant photo map of the contiguous 48 states of the United States, the first ever assembled from satellite images, completed for NASA by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service Cartographic Division. The map is 10 by 16 feet, is composed of 595 cloud-free black-and-white images returned from NASA’s first Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS-1). The images were all taken at the same altitude (912 kilometers: 560 miles) and the same lighting angle. The images were produced by the spacecraft’s Multi-spectral Scanner System (MSS) in Band 5, or the red portion of the visible spectrum, during the period July 25 to October 31, 1972.

Become a member.
Get unlimited access to tutorials, courses, and practical guides. Make great charts.

Join Today

Membership

This is for people interested in the process of creating, designing, and exploring data graphics. Your support goes directly to FlowingData, an independently run site.

What You Get

  • Learn to make any chart with instant access to step-by-step tutorials.
  • Download source code and files to use with your own data.
  • In-depth courses on visualization to learn at your own pace.
  • Stay up-to-date with additional resources and visualization tools.
  • Get the members-only newsletter.

Favorites

Real Chart Rules to Follow

There are rules—usually for specific chart types meant to be read in a specific way—that you shouldn’t break. When they are, everyone loses. This is that small handful.

Unemployment in America, Mapped Over Time

Watch the regional changes across the country from 1990 to 2016.

The Changing American Diet

See what we ate on an average day, for the past several decades.

Cuisine Ingredients

What are the ingredients that make each cuisine? I looked at 40,000 recipes spanning 20 cuisines and 6,714 ingredients to see what makes food taste different.