May 2014


Burned area in Denali National Park
May 27, 2014Landsat 8 Helps Map Fires during Long, Busy Alaska Fire Season

[Source: Brian Sorbel, NPS Alaska Region Fire GIS Specialist] Alaska Region, Alaska Cohesive Strategy—Response to Wildfire Lighting ignited the Castle Rocks fire in the deep backcountry of Denali National Park and Preserve in early July, 2013. [...]

NLCD partner contributions
May 23, 2014A Look at National Land Cover Database 2011

[Source: USGS via YouTube] This 40-minute video presentation by Dr. Collin Homer, from the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (EROS), gives an overview of the latest version of the National Land Cover Database—NLCD 2011—its [...]

LACIE logo
May 22, 2014Remembering Robert B. MacDonald

Earlier this year on Jan. 7, 2014, a giant in the world of Landsat applied science— Robert B. MacDonald—passed away. MacDonald was largely responsible for first envisioning and formulating how to use early Landsat data to estimate global crop [...]

Screen Capture from 1977 video
May 22, 20141977 Video: Landsat—Satellite for all Seasons

This 1977 NASA video series, "Landsat—Satellite for All Seasons," provides examples of early Landsat applications. The concatenated videos include:   + Growing Concerns This video illustrates how Landsat data were used to aid agriculture [...]

Landsat 8 Daily Imaging Rate to Increase
May 21, 2014Landsat 8 Daily Imaging Rate to Increase

[Source: USGS Landsat] During the 2014 Northern Hemisphere growing season the daily imaging rate will be gradually increased to optimize Landsat 8’s science data collection. An average of 550 images per day have been collected since operations [...]

Landsat Reserchers, 1973
May 8, 2014Landsat Video From the Archives

The Landsat program is the longest continuous global record of Earth observations from space—ever. On July 23, 1972 NASA launched the first satellite in this program, then known as ERTS, the Earth Resources Technology Satellite and later renamed [...]

Tad Pfeffer
May 7, 2014Nearly 200,000 Glaciers Mapped for Better Sea Level Rise Estimates

[Source: CU-Boulder] An international team led by glaciologists from the University of Colorado Boulder and Trent University in Ontario, Canada has completed the first mapping of virtually all of the world’s glaciers—including their locations [...]

MSS image of Half Dome, May 1972
May 1, 20141972 MSS Image of Half Dome

In May of 1972, two months before the launch of Landsat 1, engineers from Hughes Aircraft Company took their engineering model of the Multispectal Scanning System (MSS) out to Yosemite National Park, set it up on Glacier Point, and took this [...]

Mike at Landsat
Apr 30, 2014Spanning the Generations to Bring You the Wide World of Global Science

Two Washington D.C.-based events this month helped introduce Landsat to the public. On April 21 and 22, at an Earth Day celebration in D.C.’s Union Station, visitors explored changes to Earth’s landscapes over time. Using cubes displaying four [...]

girl in a park
Apr 23, 2014Research Shows Green Space Keeps You From Feeling Blue

[Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health] If you start feeling better as spring begins pushing up its tender shoots, you might be living proof of a trend discovered in data from the Survey of the Health of [...]

Bahrain built-up areas 2013
Apr 22, 2014Looking at Urban Expansion in Bahrain

[Source: Carla Schafer, AAAS] Satellite images since 1987 show substantial environmental change on the island nation of Bahrain, including shifting vegetation patterns and more than a doubling in the extent of urbanization, according to a new [...]

EP near Modest, Calif.
Apr 21, 2014Environmental Watch with Landsat Satellites

[Source: Kasha Patel, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center] Landsat satellites have monitored Earth’s environment for more than four decades, providing detailed imagery of some of our planet’s most precious ecosystems such as forests, coastlines, [...]

Missouri River flooding
Apr 15, 2014Space Veteran Landsat 7 Marks 15 Years of Observing Earth

[Source: Jon Campbell, USGS] Launched on April 15, 1999, the Landsat 7 satellite has now been observing Earth from outer space for 15 years. The Landsat program is a decades-long NASA and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) partnership that has [...]

A Triptych of Urban Growth, NLCD 2001-2011
Apr 7, 2014Nation’s Authoritative Land Cover Map New and Improved

[Source: USGS] Just released, the latest edition of the nation’s most comprehensive look at land-surface conditions from coast to coast shows the extent of land cover types from forests to urban areas. The National Land Cover Database (NLCD [...]

Earth Observing satellite constellation
Apr 2, 2014Sustainable Land Imaging Architecture Study (Interim Status) Briefing Held

[Source: NASA Earth Science Projects Division] On April 1, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) hosted an event to present to the research and industrial community the interim results and assessments from NASA's Sustainable [...]

Susan Kohler
Apr 1, 2014Upcoming Landsat Activity for Educators

What happens to the Mallard Duck population when prairie potholes disappear? On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. EDT, Susan Kohler, a NASA Educator and Professional Development Specialist, will be presenting a free 60-minute webinar featuring [...]

A technician surveys the TIRS instrument and the calibration equipment
Mar 27, 2014Upcoming Sustainable Land Imaging Architecture Study Interim Status Briefing

Source: NASA Earth Science Projects Division   Event: NASA's Sustainable Land Imaging Architecture Study Interim Status Report Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EDT Date: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Location: NASA Headquarters James E. Webb [...]

R.H. Goddard
Mar 20, 2014Landsat 8 Sweeps the 2013 “Goddards”

People. It takes a lot of people to build, launch, and operate a satellite, especially a satellite that regularly returns accurate scientific data. On February 11, 2013, Landsat 8 was successfully launched into orbit. Many of the people who [...]

Landsat Cal/Val Team
Mar 13, 2014Landsat Cal/Val Team Receives 2013 Robert H. Goddard Award for Science

Landsat helps scientists comprehend what changes have occurred on Earth’s land surfaces. Since 1972, Landsat satellites have been amassing information about the land cover of our planet and land cover, as obscure as it may sound, is important [...]

Henry Wong
Mar 12, 2014Remembering Henry Wong

The venerable Landsat Program has relied on a cast of thousands to become the successful four decade-plus land observing satellite program that it is today. Sadly, one of those important cast members passed away last month. Henry “Hank” Poy Read [...]

Napa Valley Vineyard
Mar 11, 2014The Grapes of Landsat

[By Matt Davenport for the AGU GeoSpace blog] California’s persistent drought is forcing grape growers to keep a more-attentive-than-normal eye on their vines, as water shortages and elevated temperatures alter this year’s growing season. “This [...]

CLASlite team
Mar 7, 2014Carnegie Landsat Analysis System-lite (CLASlite) Classroom Launches in Spanish

[Source: Moore Foundation] On March 4, 2014, the CLASlite team at the Carnegie Institution for Science (Department of Global Ecology) launched the Spanish version of the Carnegie Landsat Analysis System-lite (or CLASlite) Classroom, hosted by [...]

William Pecora
Mar 5, 2014Call for Nominations: 2014 William T. Pecora Award

[Source: USGS] The William T. Pecora Award is presented annually to individuals or groups that have made outstanding contributions toward understanding the Earth by means of remote sensing. Nominations are accepted for public and private sector [...]

Lunar image from OLI March
Feb 28, 2014Landsat 8 Images Earth’s Biggest Satellite—Check it Out

Landsat 8 was built to do something none of its predecessors had done before: look at the Moon. You may ask why an Earth-observing mission would want to image Earth’s natural orbiting celestial body. Well, it all goes back to getting good data [...]

Landsat 8 launch
Feb 27, 2014Celebrating Landsat 8’s First Year in Orbit

[Source: NASA Science Visualization Studio] On Feb. 11, 2013, Landsat 8 launched into Earth orbit, riding on an Atlas V rocket. Weighing in at 6,133 pounds, Landsat 8 is the eigth satellite in the long-running Landsat program, jointly managed by [...]

onion skin still
Feb 25, 2014The Landsat Onion Skin: Peeling Back Landsat’s Layers of Data

[Source: NASA Science Visualization Studio] Landsat satellites circle the globe every 99 minutes, collecting data about the land surfaces passing underneath. After 16 days, the Landsat satellite has passed over every spot on the globe, and [...]

Landsat Orbital Swath
Feb 19, 2014Round She Goes: Landsat’s Orbital Swath

[Source: NASA Science Visualization Studio] As a Landsat satellite flies over the surface of the Earth the instruments aboard the satellite are able to view a swath 185 kilometers wide and collect images along that swath as the satellite [...]

Landsat 8: Good Things, Getting Better
Feb 18, 2014Landsat 8: Good Things, Getting Better

[By: Rebecca Johnson, Jim Lacasse, Gene Fosnight, and Ron Morfitt, USGS EROS] It’s hard to believe a year has passed since the launch of Landsat 8. This first anniversary is going to be an exciting, upbeat celebration because the new satellite [...]

L5 from L8, band 8
Feb 14, 2014Landsat 8 Spots an Old Friend

Eight months ago, on June 5, 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey decommissioned the venerable Landsat 5 satellite. That day, the USGS Landsat Flight Operations Team transmitted the last command to Landsat 5, effectively terminating the mission and [...]

L7 velocity graphic
Feb 12, 2014Recent Landsat 7 Maneuvers Affect WRS Footprints

[Source: USGS Landsat] On January 9, 2014, the USGS executed a delta-velocity (Delta-V) maneuver to pre-position Landsat 7 for a larger delta-inclination (Delta-I) maneuver used to maintain the satellite's mean local crossing time. NOAA’s space [...]

CropScape map
Feb 12, 2014NASS Releases 2013 Geospatial Data for U.S. Crops

[Source: USDA] The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) updated its online geospatial exploring tool, CropScape, adding Cropland Data Layers from crop year 2013. This tool gives public an easy [...]

Landsat 8 rocket
Feb 11, 2014A High-Flying Rookie Season

[Subset from: NASA-USGS Landsat 8 Satellite Celebrates First Year of Success by Kate Ramsayer and Jon Campbell] Landsat 8 is acquiring around 550 images per day – significantly more than the 400-image-per-day design requirement. Between Landsat [...]

Landsat 8 Celebrates First Year of Success
Feb 11, 2014Landsat 8 Celebrates First Year of Success

[Source: Tom Holm, USGS & Steve Cole, NASA] One year ago, on February 11, 2013, NASA launched the Landsat 8 Earth-observing satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, Calif. A flawless launch, followed by the transfer Read more [...]

Landsat bathymetry
Feb 11, 2014Landsat and the Sea

One year ago today, Landsat 8 blasted off from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base and arched over the shimmering Pacific on its way into orbit. Landsat 8’s main sensor, the Operational Land Imager (OLI), is the latest model in the long line [...]

Landsat SR CDR products
Feb 6, 2014Landsat Surface Reflectance Fact Sheet Available from USGS

[Source: USGS] Landsat Surface Reflectance Climate Data Records (CDRs) are high level Landsat data products that support land surface change studies. Climate Data Records, as defined by the National Research Council, are a time series of [...]

Cropland
Feb 4, 2014NASA Maps Earth’s Croplands from Space

[Source: Kate Ramsayer, NASA Goddard] It takes a lot of land to grow food for the world's seven billion people. About a third of Earth's terrestrial surface is used for agriculture. And about a third of that, in turn, is used to grow crops. Now, [...]

Landsat 7 Acquisitions to be Interrupted
Feb 3, 2014Landsat 7 Acquisitions to be Interrupted

[Source: USGS Landsat] No Landsat 7 data will be acquired beginning at 8:30 a.m. CT on Tuesday, February 4, 2014, until about 2:15 p.m CT on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 due to a Delta-I (Inclination) maneuver. Read more [...]

Landsat 8 Reprocessing Begins
Feb 3, 2014Landsat 8 Reprocessing Begins

[Source: USGS Landsat] The entire Landsat 8 archive will be cleared from the online cache and reprocessed to take advantage of calibration improvements identified during its first year of operation starting on Feb. 3, 2014. All Landsat 8 scenes [...]

S. Covington
Jan 24, 2014How to Manage a Satellite Going 17K MPH

[Source: Library of Congress] Steven J. Covington tells the story of Landsat 5, which was launched in 1984 for a three-year lifetime and was kept alive for nearly 29 years through ingenuity and luck. Speaker Biography: Steve Covington started [...]

Immediate TIRS Data Adjustment
Jan 23, 2014Immediate TIRS Data Adjustment

[Source: USGS Landsat] An incorrect bias adjustment for Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) data was discovered in the latest release of the Landsat 8 processing system, which has caused a significant error in the TIRS products produced from Landsat [...]

Earth data
Jan 22, 2014Unleashing the Power of Open Data Unanimously Endorsed for Another 10 Years

[Source: GEO] In Geneva on January 17, 2014, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) received unanimous endorsement to unleash the power of open data for a second decade. There was agreement to continue building on the organization’s first 10 [...]

Barb Ryan
Jan 21, 2014Unleashing the Power of Earth Observations

In December 2013, the Secretariat Director of the Group on Earth Observations gave a TEDx talk in Barcelona, Spain making the case that all Earth-oberservation data collected from governments and institutions should be open and available to [...]

New Ground Control Points for Select Landsat 8 Scenes
Jan 17, 2014New Ground Control Points for Select Landsat 8 Scenes

[Source: USGS Landsat] New Ground Control Points (GCPs) will become available for three WRS-2 path/rows and GCPs contained within large water bodies will be removed on February 3, 2014 to coincide with the Landsat 8 archive reprocessing. As a [...]

DOI building
Jan 10, 2014Landsat Science Team Meeting in D.C.

The Landsat Science Team met in Washington D.C. for a meeting on the future of the Landsat program. Charged by the President to develop a plan for sustainable Landsat observations over the next twenty to twenty-five years, NASA and the USGS [...]

MapBox graphic
Jan 9, 2014MapBox ESIP Presentation Includes Landsat

Today, Chris Herwig from MapBox presented at the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) about MapBox's endeavor to use both MODIS and Landsat data to create a cloud-free world atlas. Herwig's presentation, titled, "Clear Skies: [...]

River Thames flood map
Jan 8, 2014Flooding in the UK

As part of the International Charter—Space and Major Disasters, a number of satellite-derived maps showing the extent of flooding across the UK have been released, including the above Landsat 8-derived map of flooding along the River Thames near [...]