This perspective view shows the Panama Canal with the Gulf of Panama in the foreground and the Caribbean Sea in the distance. The canal runs northwest-southeast from the city of Colon on the Atlantic side to Panama City on the Pacific side. Water levels are maintained along its length by three reservoirs, the largest of which is Lake Gatun, visible at the right center of the image. Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914, the canal extends for approximately 50 miles, and is widely considered to be one of the world's great engineering achievements.
This shaded relief perspective view was generated using topographic data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). A computer-generated artificial light source illuminates the elevation data to produce a pattern of light and shadows. Slopes facing the light appear bright, while those facing away are shaded. On flatter surfaces, the pattern of light and shadows can reveal subtle features in the terrain. Colors show the elevation as measured by SRTM, and range from green at the lowest elevations to white at the highest elevations.
SRTM, launched on February 11, 2000, uses the same radar instrument that comprised the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) that flew twice on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1994. The mission is designed to collect three-dimensional measurements of the Earth's surface. To collect the 3-D data, engineers added a 60-meter-long (200-foot) mast, an additional C-band imaging antenna and improved tracking and navigation devices. The mission is a cooperative project between NASA, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) and the German (DLR) and Italian (ASI) space agencies. It is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, Washington, D.C.
Size: scale varies in this perspective image
Location: 9.0 degrees North latitude, 79.8 degrees West longitude
Orientation: looking West
Original Data Resolution: SRTM 30 meters (99 feet)
Date Acquired: February 2000 (SRTM)