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Societal Benefit: Human Health & Wellness Traditional Geocache

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Geocache Description:

Human health is often entwined with environmental conditions. Lands*t is used to detect algal blooms, map disease risk zones, and uncover other consequential links between the environment and human health. We rely on clean lakes, waterways, and reservoirs for safe swimming, fishing, and drinking water.

Water Quality & Algal Blooms
Most bodies of water contain microscopic, photosynthesizing organisms called cyanobacteria, which are harmless at normal levels. But certain conditions – lots of sunlight, stagnant water, and high amounts of nutrients like those in fertilizers – allow cyanobacteria populations to grow exponentially. The result is scummy green water called harmful algal blooms, which and can be seen from space.

Monitoring toxic algal blooms is critical as they can lead to poor water quality, and pose a health risk to humans and animals. Lands*t data helps environmental managers monitor these events and the pollution—often excess nitrogen and phosphorus—that can contribute to algal blooms. To learn more about harmful algal blooms in freshwater sources in California, visit

Monitoring toxic algal blooms, like one Lake Erie experienced in 2017 (below), is critical for keeping drinking water safe.

Lands*t & Disease
Animals and insects, like bats and mosquitoes, can be pathways (or vectors) for human infectious diseases. Being able to map vector habitat is a critical step for fighting disease transmission. Lands*t data helps scientists identify habitats with conditions favorable for disease-carrying insects and animals, such as areas where water has accumulated in depressions that become breeding grounds.

Lands*t & Mental Health
Lands*t data has even been used to study mental health over time as a function of green space. In a study from 2019, scientists used over 30 years of Lands*t data to track Denmark residents' mental health over time as a function of green space. They found that the more prolonged greenspace exposure, the lower the likelihood of an individual developing psychological disorders.

With a spatial resolution of 30 meters, Lands*t is well suited to mapping various components of changing landscapes, including agriculture and urbanization, that might pollute waterways.


Additional Hints (Decrypt)

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Bcra gur jrngure pbire
Cerff qbja ba gur "Pyrne" Ohggba
Ragre gur pbzovangvba
Cerff qbja gur "Bcra" ohggba
Bcra gur pbzcnegzrag

Gb Pybfr, cerff gur "Bcra" ohggba naq pybfr
Pybfr gur pbire

rznvy: fpbggvabwnv@tznvy.pbz

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)