The Earth Educational Collective

Dear friends,

We live now in a rapidly changing world. Every day the surface of our planet looks different than yesterday: developed areas expand, new roads and croplands appear, forests are shrinking, tornados and forest fires come and change the landscape around us. Some of the changes cause a remarkable degradation of our environment and living conditions for millions of people. Ironically, human activities are often the engine behind those changes.

Our ability to monitor our planet, both from space and through coordinated remote sensing, allows us the opportunity to see the changes, and potentially mitigate the negative consequences. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of satellites observe our planet from space with various instruments day and night. Records going back a few decades are available in archives, allowing trained individuals the ability to spot the long-term trends. The satellite images, and the software tools needed for their processing, are widely available, often for free. In the recent past, remote sensing data analysis was the sole privilege of militaries and scientists only. Today school students can assess, process, and study this data to monitor their neighborhood or any remote location on Earth.

The Earth Educational Collective has been a bilateral project, involving school aged student teams from the US and Russia, which opened up an opportunity to share views on natural phenomena from different positions, and compare environmental challenges in the two countries and elsewhere around the world. This joint environmental monitoring project utilizing satellite images obtained from multiple sources was conducted in 2021-22 by Transparent World, a Russian nonprofit dedicated to educational uses for satellite imagery, and EarthEd, an American nonprofit that encourages wilderness educational experiences.

Our project offered free training for several student teams from the US and Russia on:
- handling satellite images online and in desktop open source software;
- basic skills in geographic information systems (GIS);
- analysis of the environment in our changing world with remote sensing.

The initial phase of this project is now finalized. However, the project's materials are free and available to be used for learning the basics of remote sensing and GIS with online tools. The recordings of lectures, project meetings, and the participants' presentations could be found here:

We hope that these materials will be useful for you and will give you a better understanding of the practical applications of core STEM technologies. Satellite mapping is being used effectively to explore and solve some of the world's most pressing climate and consumption related issues. With the resources we provide, You will begin to learn how to access and use high definition satellite images for scientific research.

The core team of the project's participants stays connected. If you have an interest in joining or have any questions, please contact us via email: We are exploring options for a second, more advanced project in the future, and are always looking for potential supporters and participants!