Satellite View of Kansas

Published January 2001
Size 37" wide x 24" tall
Summary "Satellite View of Kansas" is a mosaic of 16 Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) images acquired during late summers of 1988 through 1993.


These excerpts from the "Satellite View of Kansas" highlight a portion of the map and allow you to view the map's descriptive text and physiognomic regions key.

North of Medicine Lodge, croplands under center pivot irrigation appear as dark circles. The light-colored square patches, especially visible south and east of the town, are agricultural fields and pastures.

Satellite View of Kansas is a mosaic of 16 Landsat Thematic Mapper ™ satellite images acquired during late summers of 1988 through 1993. The TM instrument records both reflected and emitted energy from the earth's surface in 7 regions, or bands, of visible and infrared portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Although the images depicted here appear in natural color - vegetation appears green, water appears blue - they are actually a composite of 2 infrared and 1 visible bands. Infrared bands are used because they are less affected by atmospheric scatter from water vapor and other airborne particles than visible bands. The benefit is a high-contrast, haze-free image

An extraordinary amount of detail about the physical landscape of Kansas can be seen from Landsat's vantage point 420 miles above the earth's surface. Rolling hills and lush forests characterize the Ozark Plateau in the southeastern corner. The Cherokee Lowlands, just to the northwest , are less hilly and less forested. Both physiographic regions have similar mining and industrial histories. Large strip mines can be seen as dark lines cutting across the northwest corner of Cherokee County. The wooded and undulating landscape of the Osage Cuestas shatters the commonly held misconception that Kansas is flat and treeless. The darker green areas scatter throughout Chautauqua County north to Woodson County are dense oak forests of the Chautauqua Hills, known for their thick sandstone layers. About 750,000 years ago, at least two glaciers sculpted the Glaciated region in the northeast corner. The Flint Hills are home to one of America's last large expanses of native prairie grassland. The uniform shades of green seen in Case County are indicative of unbroken grasslands. Sumner County, one of Kansas' top wheat-producing counties, lies in the Wellington-McPherson Lowlands. The large tan areas in Sumner County are fields covered with wheat stubble. The Soky Hills transition from sandstone-capped hills in the east, to limestone-capped hills midway, to chalk formation outcrops in the west. The Niobara Chalk formation can be seen as light purple and white markings in Gove County. Irrigated Croplands dominate portions of the Arkansas River Lowlands. Crop Circles resulting from center-pivot irrigation can be seen concentrated in the lower half of Finney County. The Red Hills get their name from iron oxide, or rust, found throughout the region's mesa and butte topography. The High Plains consist of open expanses of flatlands and gently rolling hills. Most of the land has been farmed, although a few areas of native shortgrass prairie remain along draws and hill slopes along stream valleys. From native prairies and forests to plowed fields and urban centers, the landscape of Kansas is unique, varied, and beautiful resource.

Ordering Information

Kansas Geological Survey

Map sheets: Full-sized paper maps are readily available. For pricing, contact KGS at (785) 864-3965

University of Kansas

Map sheets are available at the following locations on the KU campus:

University of Kansas Bookstore
KU Natural History Museum


8 ½" x 11" Report Sheets: Specially-formatted letter-sized reproductions are available in custom quantities. Contact KARS at (785) 864-1500.