February 2014

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 [...]

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 [...]

UNESCO photo of water discovered in Kenya
Sep 12, 2013Vast Water Reserves Found in Drought-Prone Northern Kenya

Large underground water reserves have been found in Turkana, one of Kenya’s driest and poorest regions. The discoveries were made by the natural resources exploration firm, Radar Technologies International, during the course of a survey of [...]

Leonard Lopate
Aug 8, 2013Environmental Monitoring with Public Domain Satellites

WNYC's Leonard Lopate talks with SkyTruth president, John Amos, about using public domain satellite imagery, such as Landsat, to monitor the environment. SkyTruth uses all types of satellite imagery to monitor environmental changes and [...]

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 [...]

Feb 1, 2013Landsat Monitors Chesapeake Bay Change

Landsat is a critical and invaluable tool for characterizing the landscape and mapping it over time. Landsat data provides a baseline of observations for science about how human activities on the land affect water quality, affect wildlife [...]

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 [...]

Cladophora on shore of N. Manitou Island
Sep 26, 2012Using Landsat to Map Cladophora in the Great Lakes

Cladophora, a nuisance, native green algae that grows attached to solid substrate in all of the Laurentian Great Lakes, has expanded its range partially due to invasive quagga and zebra mussels. During significant storm events it detaches and [...]