Ground Zero flyover simulations
During thirty-nine flight missions, EarthData gathered information about land surface elevations at the World Trade Center site by using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) instruments that measured the amount of time it took beams of light to strike the ground and return to the instruments. With this data, they produced three-dimensional models of the site. First responders used these images to assess the damage, pinpoint depressions and other areas that posed particular risks to emergency crews, and track the removal of debris.
EarthData also used LIDAR data and aerial photographs to produce two video files that depict the contours of the World Trade Center site as it would have appeared to someone flying over it in mid-September 2001.
This video simulation depicts the site as seen from west to east just north of Liberty Street. The domed structure visible from 0:01-0:07 is part of the adjacent World Financial Center complex, and the World Trade Center site is just behind the dome. Pieces of the metal "skin" of the twin towers are visible from 00:00:07-00:00:13.
The video below shows the site as seen from southwest to northeast along West Street. The tall, dark structure that dominates the right side of the screen from 0:05-0:09 is 90 West Street, the remains of the twin towers are visible from 00:00:09-00:00:12, and the partially demolished 6 World Trade Center is visible from 00:00:13-00:00:15.