Data - June 21, 2011

Mouse over one of the red dots to learn more about the data. On some browsers, you may need to click the dot.

Not bad for a first effort!

The average albedo for all samples is 0.11 - That's pretty low, but when you look at the images, you can see that it makes sense. Some of those photos are dark, and they were not adjusted in any manner.  (The average albedo for Earth is about 0.3)

Things to consider
  • The submitted photos do not provide a statistical representation of Earth's surface.
    • 51% were grassy surfaces. (average albedo = 0.11, typical is about 0.25)
    • 30% were concrete and brick surfaces (with a great deal of variability among them). (average albedo = 0.27, typical can range from 0.04 for new asphalt to 0.55 for fresh concrete)
    • 17% were soil, dirt or sand surfaces. (average albedo = 0.16, these are usually around 0.2, so we are in a good range here)
    • 2% were constructed wood surfaces. (average albedo = 0.09, no typical value has been found)
      • 100% of our surfaces are land-based but that is only about 29% of the actual surface of Earth!
  • The average is a straight average, it's not weighted in any way.
  • No consideration of the sun's angle of incidence has been made; i.e. the data is not normalized in any manner.
  • The photos were not adjusted in any way to provide even illumination or consistent lighting - this might be something to investigate in the future.

About the data:
This photos used to create this map can be found on Flickr, under the title Albedo Project.
  • exif (location) data is excluded in the photos.
  • Location data on the map has been rounded in order to avoid address level identification.
  • Where more than one photo was submitted, when appropriate the results were averaged.
  • The Google Fusion data used to create the map can be viewed here.
  • Images were renamed to facilitate storage
  • Map was created using Google Fusion tables.
  • Data was calculated using a procedure from an IPY STEM workshop at the University of Amherst, MA. The activity was created by Professor Mort Sternheim with funding from the National Science Foundation, Award #0732945.