Theras A. Gordon Wood ‐ Company

UrtheCast — Living Geography

During the recent launch of UrtheCast, Dr. David Williams made an interesting note. It used to be that we witnessed the earth change over hundreds of thousands of years. The technology was not available to witness the subtle changes, or sometimes immense changes, that the earth goes through on a consistent basis. When talking about his different missions into space, he noted the changes he had witnessed. A sight that only few before him had seen, and now, with UrtheCast, a sight that many after will have the opportunity to witness.

Imagine if geography textbooks were never out of date?

UrtheCast could provide a new breed of geography, a living geography. A way to fundamentally alter how we view the earth, how we teach about the earth, how we interact with the earth itself. Geography itself has always been about memorization. Understanding how Russia is divided between Europe and Asia by the Ural Mountains, or that for the most part, the Canadian/American border runs along the 49th Parallel. Geography, as it existed, was static and related to your location in the world. Leaps and bounds have been made in updating geography, but nothing as relevant as this. Now, with UrtheCast, geography is alive, it is updating on a daily basis and it is relative to your life, not just where you are in the world.

Imagine studying a geographic region and watching a time lapse video, witnessing the changes in that location. Whether it’s deforestation, lakes shrinking or growing, or urban increases.

Imagine doing this across several regions and seeing how changes in one area affect changes in another.

Imagine witnessing droughts or floods and being able to track the political or social fallout from natural events.

That’s living geography. That’s going to have an impact.

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Your Name Has a Place in the Stars

On June 28th, the day that UrtheCast the company launched, we also launched a contest in which we invited people from all around the world to name the camera that UrtheCast is installing on the International Space Station (ISS) through a joint effort with RSC Energia and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. This camera will provide the world’s first ever, high definition, streaming video of planet Earth. The camera will provide a 40 km wide, high resolution, color image down to as close as 1.1 meters. To say the least, this is a unique initiative, one of which needs a unique name to go along with it. UrtheCast has received hundreds of names so far, everything from play on words, to the overtly obvious, to the “Hey, that’s kind of cool!” and many others.