August 2014


The Great Salt Lake shrank between 1985 and 2010
Aug 21, 2014Landsat and Water: Using Space to Advance Resource Solutions

[By Jon Campbell, USGS] A recent White House-led assessment found that Landsat is among the Nation’s most critical Earth observing systems, second only to GPS and weather. A new USGS study, Landsat and Water — Case Studies of the Uses and [...]

Landsat-derived map of field use
Jul 23, 2014Landsat’s Role in Water Resource Management

[By Larisa Serbina and Holly M. Miller, USGS] Water availability and allocation are issues gaining a great deal of attention, particularly in arid climates. Increases in population growth and recent droughts bring urgency to measuring and [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

Child looking at Landsat image
Sep 27, 2013Mapping the World with Landsat

Speeding around the Earth at 16,800 mph (27,000 kph), two Landsat satellites are quietly, expertly watching and recording changes in Earth’s lands from space. They are gathering data for people to make maps–all kinds of wonderful maps–of our [...]

Safflower
Sep 4, 2013Landsat Impedes Crop Insurance Fraud

With unbiased Landsat imagery as evidence, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed an earlier jury-conviction of a northern California farmer found guilty on 16 counts of filing false federal crop insurance claims—scheming the [...]

Burning fields in Indonesia
Jul 30, 2013Using Landsat 8 to Locate Fires in Indonesia

In June, air pollution over Singapore and Malaysia spiked as forests in neighboring Sumatra (Indonesia) burned. Using NASA's daily fire alerts and official national maps, the fires were located in the vicinity of oil palm and acacia tree [...]

May 9, 2013Landsat Images Provide the Gold Standard for New Earth Applications

Images from Landsat satellites provided free to the public by the Department of the Interior's U.S. Geological Survey were the starting points for “a new breakthrough” reported today by Time and announced on the Official Google Blog. Using its [...]

Estimated mean annual ratio of ET to P
Feb 19, 2013New Maps Provide Crucial Information for Water Managers

For the first time, U.S. Geological Survey scientists have mapped long-term average evapotranspiration rates across the continental United States—a crucial tool for water managers and planners because of the huge role evapotranspiration plays in [...]

Jan 22, 2013What is the Economic Value of Satellite Imagery?

Does remote-sensing information, such as that from Landsat and similar Earth-observing satellites, provide economic benefits to society, and can this value be estimated? Using satellite data for northeastern Iowa, U.S. Geological Survey [...]

Soybean Crops in Brazil / Paraguay
Aug 29, 2012Landsat Adds Tremendous Value to Decision-Making and Bottom Line

Dr. Stephanie Hulina, President of Geospatial Data Analysis Corporation (GDA Corp) discusses how access to free Landsat imagery from USGS enables her business to provide value-added products to her company's clients. The long-term continuity of [...]

Dr. Martha Anderson, research scientist, USDA
Aug 26, 2012Mapping Water Use from Space

[Source: Library of Congress] Dr. Martha Anderson, research scientist, USDA, talks about using images from the Landsat satellite program to monitor water use and drought on U.S. farms with pinpoint accuracy to measure evapotranspiration, the [...]

Apr 26, 2012Landsat Satellites See Texas Crop Circles

A water-rich polka dot pattern takes over the traditional rectangular patchwork of fields in this time series animation of 40 years of Landsat images. In the dry Texas panhandle near the town of Dalhart, this transformation is due to [...]

The fragile semi-arid Souss region of Agadir, Morocco
Apr 1, 2012Managing a Fragile Environment in Morocco

The Souss region of Agadir, Morocco is a fragile semi-arid area that is important to Morocco's fruit and vegetable agriculture industry. To better manage this vulnerable region a French-Moroccan collaboration is using a high-speed network for [...]

Saudi Arabia fields
Mar 29, 2012Fields of Green Spring up in Saudi Arabia

The green fields that dot the desert draw on water that in part was trapped during the last Ice Age. In addition to rainwater that fell over several hundred thousand years, this fossil water filled aquifers that are now buried deep under the [...]

Landsat 8
Feb 2, 2012A New Way To Map Drought and Water Use Worldwide

Every month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Center for Climate Prediction has a drought briefing by teleconference to identify the latest drought areas in North America. ARS scientists Martha Anderson and Bill [...]

girl eating corn
Feb 1, 2012It Takes a Satellite To Feed the World

Source: Charles L. Walthall, USDA Agricultural Research Service Forum It's ironic that just when Earth-monitoring satellites are needed more than ever to address the food and freshwater demands of a burgeoning global human population, we face an [...]

cow
Nov 30, 2011Beef Productivity Study Utilizes Landsat

In an effort to help Australian beef producers determine if intensive grazing systems are needed to remain competitive, a new report has analyzed various grazing systems in Queensland, Australia. Landsat data was used to help trend pasture [...]

Drought map for 2007
Oct 10, 2011EarthSky Interview with Martha Anderson: Using Landsat to Monitor Water Use from Space

Martha Anderson, a research scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, uses images from the Landsat satellite program to monitor water use and drought on U.S. farms with pinpoint accuracy, even at the scale of individual fields. As water [...]

Aug 25, 2011Landsat Helps Stave Off Crop Insurance Fraud

This February with the help of Landsat a California farmer was found guilty of committing crop insurance fraud in San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Lassen counties. The farmer was fined $10,000 dollars, ordered to pay $211,516 in restitution, and [...]

Jan 10, 2011Landsat Part of USDA’s CropScape Geospatial Data Service

Source: Zhengwei Yang, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service To provide easier access to geospatial satellite products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) today announced the launch of [...]

Horticulturist David Ramming with grapes growing in the San Joaquin Valley
Dec 15, 2010Landsat Data Addresses Needs of California Growers

With the capability to provide valuable information about individual farm fields, vineyards, and orchards, NASA satellites soon will provide California growers in the San Joaquin Valley with important information about crop growth, irrigation [...]

Sep 2, 2010Most New Farmland Comes from Cutting Tropical Forest

Source: Louis Bergeron, Stanford Report A new study led by a Stanford researcher shows that more than 80 percent of the new farmland created in the tropics between 1980 and 2000 came from felling forests, which sends carbon into the atmosphere [...]

Feb 25, 2010Landsat Helps Assess Crop Water Productivity

Xueliang Cai and Landsat Science Team member, Prasad Thenkabail, have used satellite data, including Landsat, to calculate crop water productivity, i.e. how much water is used for crop production—the so called “crop per drop.” Details of their [...]

Agriculture Idaho
Jan 21, 2010Water Watchers

Dean Stevenson has farmed the plains of south-central Idaho most of his forty-seven years. Like all farmers, he worries about things like the price of sugar beets and malt barley or the cost of gasoline, but most of all, he worries about water. [...]

rice paddies
Nov 18, 2009How Wetlands and Rice Paddies Affect the Spread of Bird Flu

In the mid-1990s, highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu) emerged in southern China. Severe outbreaks in the winter of 2005-2006 spread the virus, designated H5N1, across Asia, Europe, and Africa, killing hundreds of people, thousands of [...]

Noreen Thomas
Sep 16, 2009Landsat Cultivates Fans Among Midwest Farmers

Contributor: Gretchen Cook-Anderson, NASA Earth Science News Team Noreen Thomas’ farm looks like a patchwork quilt. Fields change hue with the season and with the alternating plots of organic wheat, soybeans, corn, alfalfa, flax, or hay. Thomas [...]

Rick Allen (top) along with Bill Kramber (middle) and Tony Morse (bottom)
Sep 15, 2009Landsat-Based Water-Use Mapping Method Hailed as an Important American Government Innovation

Contributor: Laura E.P. Rocchio Last night, Harvard University’s prestigious Ash Institute selected a Landsat-based water-use mapping method as a 2009 Innovations in American Government Award winner. “The 2009 Innovations finalists epitomize [...]

vineyard
Feb 26, 2009Researchers Estimate Vineyard Area Using Landsat

In a study published in the Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, Spanish researchers demonstrate that Landsat data can be used to locate vineyards and estimate their relative area. This work is important because the European Union requires [...]

Jan 1, 2009Agriculture Students Use Landsat to Evaluate Crop, Rangeland

Source: Steven L. Miller, University of Wyoming Agriculture students in a University of Wyoming class used remote sensing information to analyze crop and rangeland they are either familiar with or farm and ranch upon.The class, taught by Ramesh [...]

Landsat-derived land use maps of St. Kitts and Nevis Islands.
Jul 10, 2008New Landsat-Based Maps of Complex Caribbean Islands Reveal Conservation Opportunities Where Sugar Cane Cultivation Has Become Unprofitable

A new set of vegetation maps for five islands of the Caribbean Lesser Antilles, including Grenada, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Eustatius and Barbados, appear in the June issue of the Caribbean Journal of Science.  Most of the maps are based on Landsat [...]

Burma: Post-Flood Rice Impact Analysis
Jul 9, 2008USDA FAS Uses GIS, MODIS, and Landsat to Monitor Rice Production in Burma

Source: ESRI Press Release, Redlands, California, USA Subsequent to Cyclone Nargis, a category 3 tropical storm that struck the low-lying and heavily populated coastline of Myanmar (Burma) on May 2, 2008, the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) of [...]

May 28, 2008Monitoring Conservation Tillage Via Landat 5 Data

Source: Sharon Durham, USDA ARS To find out how much acreage is being farmed using conservation tillage, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have gone up high--to satellites.Soil scientists Dana G. Sullivan and Timothy C. Strickland, [...]

soil changes map
Mar 24, 2008Landsat Helps Map Soil Carbon Flux

Source: Sara Uttech, Soil Science Society of America, 608-268-4948, suttechsoils.org Changes in soil carbon occur with changes in land management. Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and The University of Tennessee investigated [...]

Irrigation system in Colorado.
Apr 17, 2007Precious Resources: Water & Landsat’s Thermal Band

Contributor: Laura Rocchio “Chronic water supply problems in many areas of the West are among the greatest challenges we face in the coming decades.” Mark Limbaugh, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Assistant Secretary for Water and [...]

USDA agricultural engineer examines a sample of grain.
Apr 2, 2007Landsat – Protecting the Price of Bread

Contributor: Laura Rocchio Year-to-year we expect the price of bread to remain relatively stable, but rarely do we realize the complex interactions and activities that are responsible for that price stability. And even less often do we realize [...]

A farmer tending his field.
Apr 6, 2006Saving Millions in Government Dollars: Landsat Helps Fight Crop Insurance Fraud

Contributor: Laura Rocchio Farming is a risky business. A farmer must deal with the precarious nature of the weather, the volatility of commodity prices, the perils of insects and disease, all so that you and I can eat. The U.S. Department Read [...]