Must-Follow Twitter Feeds for Earth Observation

Is Earth observation data useful when it comes in messages limited to 140 characters? Hundreds of organizations apparently think so. Here’s a list of essential EO Twitter streams to follow.

Image of “CubeSats,” deployed by a crew at the International Space Station on Feb. 11 and tweeted by the Johnson Space Center’s Twitter account, @NASA_Johnson. Image Credit: NASA.

Image of “CubeSats,” deployed by a crew at the International Space Station on Feb. 11 and tweeted by the Johnson Space Center’s Twitter account, @NASA_Johnson. Image Credit: NASA.

Earth observation (EO) data comes from all over and in countless forms: from satellites orbiting hundreds of miles above our planet, from marine buoys riding currents in every ocean basin, and from seismic sensors deep within the Earth. This cornucopia of data is shared at conferences, viewed online via an ever-growing number of portals, and on Twitter.

Yes, Twitter: the social media app known for vapid communiqués about comestibles and pithy life lessons limited to 140 characters per “tweet.”

But Twitter is also serious business, including thousands of accounts churning out data on every aspect of Earth observation.

Use of the app has grown tremendously since co-founder Jack Dorsey sat at a keyboard nearly seven years ago and typed the message “inviting coworkers. jack.” According to Twitter, there are now about 1 billion registered users, who have sent a total of 300 billion tweets since March 21, 2006.

Only 100 million users tweet on any given day, but that still translates into a huge amount of usable Earth observation data, especially if you know whose tweets to follow. And that’s the rub. Who do you follow to separate the EO signals from the noise of the Twitterverse?

To help users get started, I’ve put together a list of some of my personal favorite EO accounts grouped by topic below. Feel free to suggest others and we’ll add them to our Twitter feed @Earthzine.

National and International Programs

To my mind, the Twitter feeds below include some of the most important ones to follow for EO information around the globe. And this is just a small sample of what’s out there. (Several invaluable NASA and other twitter feeds are listed separately, below.)

Tweet from @esascience from Feb. 12. Image Credit: ESA.

Tweet from @esascience from Feb. 12. Image Credit: ESA.

• European Space Agency: @ESA
• Group on Earth Observations: @GEOSEC2025
• Disasters Charter: @DisastersChart
• The World Meteorological Organization: @WMOnews
• African Physicists: @AfricanPhysics
• Canadian Space Agency: @CSA_ASC
• U.K. Space Agency: @spacegovuk
• ESA Science: @esascience
• Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency: @JAXA_en
• India Space: @India_inSpace
• ESA EarthObservation: @ESA_EO
• Earth Observing Lab: @ncareol
• Aberystwyth University: @AU_EarthObs
• SkyTruth: @SkyTruth
• ESA Italy: @ESA_Italia
• World Resources Institute: @worldresources
• Space Generation Advisory Council: @SGAC

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

There are dozens of NASA and NOAA accounts. Here’s a sampling of some feeds I use on an almost daily basis while researching articles for Earthzine:

• NASA: @NASA
• NOAA: @NOAA
• NASA EO: @NASA_EO
• National Weather Service: @NWS
• NASA Goddard: @NASAGoddard
• NASA ESTO: @NASAESTO
• NASA Climate: @EarthVitalSigns
• NASA Landsat Program: @NASA_Landsat
• NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive mission @NASA_SMAP
• NASA Astronauts: @NASA_Astronauts
• Sensing Our Planet: @sensingrplanet

 

Hardware and Software

To keep track of EO tools-of-the-trade, these are a good bet:

Tweet by @Esri, Feb. 12. Image Credit: Esri.

Tweet by @Esri, Feb. 12. Image Credit: Esri.

• Small satellites: @smallsats
• SuomiNational Polar-orbiting Partnership: @NASANPP
• GEOspatial World: @geoworldmedia
• NOAA Satellites: @NOAASatellites
• Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI):  @ESRI
• Geospatial Discussion: @Geodiscussion

Miscellaneous

These Twitter accounts don’t fit neatly into the categories above, but they’re well worth following:

• Marshall Shepherd: @DrShepherd2013
• U.S. Geological Survey Land Cover: @USGSLandCover
• National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research: @AtmosNews
• EarthCube: @EarthCube
• Earth Science Week: @earthsciweek
• Climate Central:  @ClimateCentral
• USGS Landsat: @USGSLandsat.

If you have your own favorite Twitter feeds featuring EO, I’d like to hear about them. Email them to odavidson@earthzine.org, or tweet them to @Earthzine.