Radar Topography of Manila Bay
July 22, 2002
These two images show exactly the same area, Manila Bay and nearby volcanoes on Luzon Island in the Philippines. The image on the left was created using the best global topographic data set previously available, the U.S. Geological Survey's GTOPO30. In contrast, the much more detailed image on the right was generated with data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.
The city of Manila is on the eastern shore of Manila Bay at the right edge of the image. The large central plain to the north of the bay, irrigated by the Panpanga and Agno rivers, is the most important agricultural region in the Philippines. The Bataan Peninsula and volcanic Mt. Bataan at lower center along with the small island of Corregidor near the bottom edge became famous when the Allied forces made their last stand there during World War II. Dominating the upper left of the scene is 1,600-meter- (5,249-foot-) high Mt. Pinatubo, whose violent eruption on June 15, 1991, wrought widespread destruction on Luzon as well as injecting dust and gas into the atmosphere, which lowered global average temperatures for over a year.
The image on the right combines two types of Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data. The image brightness corresponds to the strength of the radar signal reflected from the ground, while colors show the elevation measurements. Colors range from blue at the lowest elevations to brown and white at the highest elevations.
For some parts of the globe, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission measurements are 30 times more precise than previously available topographical information, according to NASA scientists. Mission data will be a welcome resource for national and local governments, scientists, commercial enterprises, and members of the public alike. The applications are as diverse as earthquake and volcano, flood control, transportation, urban and regional planning, aviation, recreation, and communications.
Elevation data used in this image was acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, launched on Feb. 11, 2000.