Images of Katrina

Student Worksheet: Aerial Surveillance of Impacts from Hurricane Katrina

Features on the aerial images are not labeled, so unless you are familiar with the area included in the image, it may be difficult to find specific locations. In addition, the geographic orientation of aerial images varies from image to image (that is, the top of the image may correspond to any direction; north, south, east, west, etc.). To overcome this problem, you can use an online mapping engine to locate street names and other features for the areas you want to examine. Matching conspicuous features on aerial images (such as shorelines, major highways, lakes, etc) with labeled images from online maps will help identify specific areas on aerial photographs. The following directions use the Google™ mapping engine to help locate specific features in the vicinity of Biloxi, MS.

  1. Open the mapping Web site (, and enter “biloxi” in the “Search” box at the top of the page and click on the “Search” button. A map of the greater Biloxi area will appear. Click on the “Satelite” button in the upper right corner of the map to display a satellite image of the area. Be sure that the “Show labels” box is checked so that major streets are outlined and labeled. Locate the “+” button in the upper left corner of the map, and click this button to zoom in. Locate the President Broadwater Golf Club, and zoom in until Beach Boulevard (U.S. highway 90, south of the golf club), Veterans Avenue (east of the golf club), Popps Ferry Road (west of the golf club), and Pass Road (north of the golf club) are visible.
  2. Move the window containing the hybrid map to one side of your desktop. Open a second window, and adjust the size and position of the windows so that both are visible.
  3. In the second window, open the Katrina base map index at Click on the square overlying the location of Biloxi, Mississippi. A new index map should appear titled “Biloxi, Mississippi Image Index Map.” The green lines on the map indicate major roadways. The series of open squares represent individual photographic images. When you place your cursor over a square, your browser should display the Web address of the corresponding image. Locate the square whose address is, and click on this square. This should open an image titled “24333378.jpg.” If a different image opens, try again until the correct number appears.
  4. You now have an aerial photographic image of a portion of the Biloxi shoreline. The left side of the image corresponds to south, the top of the image is west, the right side corresponds to north, and the bottom of the image is east. Position your cursor over the image. The cursor will change to a magnifying glass containing a “+” sign. Click once to zoom in. Use the scroll buttons to move the window until the shoreline comes into view. Scroll down to scan the shoreline. Do you notice anything unusual along this portion of the beach?
  5. Locate Veterans Avenue near the bottom right corner of the image. Follow Veterans Avenue south (toward the left of the image) until the intersection of Veterans Avenue and Beach Boulevard is visible. Describe the apparent condition of the motel at 1865 Beach Boulevard (the northwest corner of the intersection).
  6. Use your satellite map and the Biloxi index map to locate a photographic image that includes the portion of US 90 that crosses a bridge over Biloxi Bay between Biloxi and Ocean Springs, MS. Describe the condition of the bridge near the Biloxi side of the Bay.
  7. Beauvoir, the retirement estate of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, was among many irreplaceable historic sites in Katrina’s path. Beauvoir is located at 2244 Beach Boulevard in Biloxi (number 2244 is about halfway between Beauvoir Road and Brady Drive; use the lakes on the President Broadwater Golf Club, the large storage tank to the west of Beauvoir Road, and the marina east of Brady Drive to help locate this area on the aerial photograph). What can you determine from aerial imagery about the estate’s condition following the hurricane?
  8. Use the Katrina base map index to open an index map for Bay St. Louis, MS (see Step 3), and locate an aerial photographic image that includes bridges to the east of the city connecting to Biloxi along US 90. What is the condition of these bridges?
  9. Use the Katrina base map index to open an index map for New Orleans, LA (see Step 3), and create a satellite map to locate the intersection of Interstate Highway 10 and Orleans Avenue. Use the satellite map as a guide to locate an aerial photographic image that includes this intersection (Orleans Avenue is between Esplanade and Canal Street; use the bends in the Mississippi River to help match the satellite image to locations on the index map). Was the on-off ramp at this intersection useable when the image was acquired?
  10. The Mississippi River is the major waterbody in the dominant watershed in North America, and drains 41% of the United States. The lower Mississippi River supports a variety of wetland, open-water and floodplain habitats, but has been extensively modified for commercial shipping and other human activities. Because Louisiana is a major oil producing state with abundant crude oil reserves, extensive facilities have been developed to refine, store, and distribute petroleum products and other chemicals. Louisiana has the second highest petroleum refining capacity in the U.S. (after Texas). Many of these facilities are located on the lower Mississippi River or near the coast, and consequently are vulnerable to damage by severe storms. As of September 20, 2005, the National Ocean Service had detected visible sheening (the rainbow colored appearance of oil floating on water) in aerial images of approximately 80 spill sites. One such spill was reported from a refinery located near Cox Bay. Use an online mapping engine to locate Cox Bay. The aerial image that includes this area is located at Do you see any evidence of sheening in this image? Where? (Note: sheening in these images looks sort of like confetti on the water surface). If you look at a satellite image of this area, you will see extensive tree cover along the Mississippi River shoreline. What do the aerial images show about the post-Katrina condition of these trees?


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