Russia – ” Transparent World ” NGO succeeded in publishing an unusual guidebook “Take Space Imagery across Passes in the Khibiny Tundras” (fig.1). In addition to the detailed description of tourist itineraries of various difficulty levels, excellent color illustrations and maps the book contains a large number of space images, which will undoubtedly become handy for both experienced tourists and for newcomers in the Kola Peninsula. The author is Yu. V. Kozlova, Cand. Sc. (Education), Master of Touristic Sports of Russia; satellite data are provided by ScanEx RDC.
The Earth surface imagery is a relatively new type of geospatial information for most tourists. A location shown on a space image is easily “recognized” and perceived more naturally. Use of space data in addition to maps enhances understanding of planned journey area and greatly facilitates field navigation. Besides, space images present actual information concerning natural and infrastructural objects, which is particularly important for building an itinerary taking into account the fact that maps of Russian territory have not been long updated and often are attributed by severe distortions. Particular interest is drawn to 3D models of the Earth surface achieved by ScanEx RDC specialists through processing Landsat 7 images with the use of ScanEx Image Processor® application. They somewhat remind of panoramic photographs but feature a lot wider view angle.
The space images clearly show seasonal area changes, they provide additional information on ravines, small hollows, morainic deposits, snow patches. Besides, vertical zonality is apparent: a forest zone, its nature and borders, dwarf birch thickets, moss and dwarf shrub covers. Space images also serve as a source of latest information on industrial development or fire consequences.
The guide presents descriptions and pictures of passes and itineraries associated with climbing atop the Khibiny primary mountains in the summer season – the best time of the year for trekking in this region. For reading convenience the Khibiny tundras region is divided into eight sections each having its own peculiarities and being illustrated with a space image reduced to 1:100 000 scale. The reason for that is to facilitate comparison of satellite data with cartographic materials available for tourists.
In addition to detailed information on itineraries and passes the guide contains historical data on exploration of the Khibiny mountains, their climatic and physical-geographical attributes, industrial exploration as well as depicts transportation and touristic infrastructure of the region. Separate sections are dedicated to descriptions and space images of the largest cities – Apatity and Kirovsk, and the section about Kirovsk includes a 3D-model of the city suburbs (fig. 2) derived from Landsat 7 imagery.
The guide also features space images acquired by Terra (ASTER, MODIS), IRS-1C/1D, RADARSAT-1, Landsat 5, Landsat 7, SPOT 2, QuickBird , EROS A, satellites as provided by ScanEx RDC. The book’s edition is 1 thousand copies.