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 Sustainability. Results of this work were published online on April 28, 2014 in the Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.

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.

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 (SRTM) data in order to provide a clear view of changing glacier dynamics in the region.

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 changing weather conditions, eventually burning more than 12,900 acres by the time it was declared out on September 4, 2013. Remote even by Alaska standards, the Castle Rocks fire plotted approximately 100 miles to the west of Denali park headquarters and 160 miles southwest of Fairbanks.

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, and applications examples.

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 production.

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 Landsat 1. In 2012, for the 40th birthday of Landsat, NASA edited together selections of an archive video from 1973 about the ERTS launch. Featured in this 1973 video was a senior geologist at NASA, Nicholas Short, and at Dartmouth College, Robert Simpson and David Lindgren. NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) jointly manage Landsat, and the USGS preserves a more than 40-year archive of Landsat images that is freely available over the Internet.

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 calculations of their volumes and ongoing contributions to global sea rise as the world warms.

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 test image of Half Dome from a 2.5 miles away. The image composite shown above uses the MSS bands 3, 2, and 1.