June 2014


Carolyn Merry
Jun 4, 2014Remembering Carolyn Merry

Carolyn Merry, a distinguished figure in the geospatial world who spent a year with the Landsat Project Science Office at Goddard Space Flight Center during the development of the Landsat 7 satellite in the 90’s, passed away yesterday.

Map of nations with land cover mapping satellites
May 30, 2014Insights Provided by New Compendium of Land Cover Mapping Satellites

A compendium of civilian satellites with the potential to image global land surfaces has been compiled by Alan Belward and Jon Skøien from the Land Resource Management Unit of the European Commission’s Institute for Environment and [...]

A Landsat 8 Yearbook: Earth Images for Everyone
May 29, 2014A Landsat 8 Yearbook: Earth Images for Everyone

Landsat 8 has been on the job for a year now — since May 30, 2013, when NASA transferred ownership and operation of the satellite to the U.S. Geological Survey.

aquaculture operation
May 28, 2014Losing Tidal Flats Around the Yellow Sea

Using Landsat time series data, a group of Australian and British ecologist have found that the Yellow Sea has lost 28% of its tidal flats in the last three decades.

Himilayas
May 28, 2014Glacier Monitoring in Nepal to Help Locals

A recently published report gives a comprehensive look at the glaciers of Nepal over the last three decades, at ten year increments (1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010). The information was derived from Landsat and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission [...]

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

Lighting ignited the Castle Rocks fire in the deep backcountry of Denali National Park and Preserve in early July, 2013. Over the next two months, the Castle Rocks fire would fluctuate between periods of activity and inactivity depending on [...]

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

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 current status, future plans, [...]

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.

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

During the 2014 Northern Hemisphere growing season the daily imaging rate will be gradually increased to optimize Landsat 8’s science data collection.

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

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 and sizes—allowing for [...]

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

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 Wisconsin: The more green space in the neighborhood, the happier people reported [...]

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

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 analysis by the Geospatial [...]

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

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, glaciers, volcanoes and oceans. Scientists, researchers, [...]

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

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 provided a continuous, unbiased [...]

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

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 2011) is made [...]

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

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 Land Imaging (SLI) Architecture Study.

Susan Kohler
Apr 1, 2014Upcoming Landsat Activity for Educators

What happens to the Mallard Duck population when prairie potholes disappear?

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

On April 1, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will host an event to present to the research and industrial community the interim results and assessments from NASA’s Sustainable Land Imaging (SLI) Architecture Study.

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.

Napa Valley Vineyard
Mar 11, 2014The Grapes of Landsat

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.

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

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 Stanford University Online [...]

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

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 individuals, [...]

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

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 NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.

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

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 recorded data in 11 different wavelength regions. [...]

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

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 proceeds through its orbit. The spacecraft travels [...]

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

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 is meeting, if not exceeding, all expectations. “Landsat 8 is nearly perfect,” [...]

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

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.

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

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 access to [...]

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

Landsat 8 is acquiring around 550 images per day – significantly more than the 400-image-per-day design requirement. Between Landsat 7 (launched in 1999 and still active) and Landsat 8, nearly 1,000 images per day are being collected. This is [...]

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

A flawless launch, followed by the transfer of operational control on May 30 to the U.S. Geological Survey, marked the start of the satellite's mission to extend an unparalleled record of observing Earth's landscape from space. Landsat 8 is the [...]

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

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 measurements with [...]

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

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, a new NASA-funded effort aims to map [...]

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

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.

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

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 will be removed from [...]

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

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.

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

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 8 scenes acquired from [...]

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

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 years of [...]

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

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 consequence of the [...]

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.