Author Archive

ESW Poster Back
Jul 5, 2018Come Play with Us! Exploring America with Landsat for Earth Science Week 2018

A new 2018 Earth Science Week poster offers inspiring Landsat views of the American landscape and has a fun game of exploration on its reverse side.

American Oyster
Aug 24, 2017Oyster Prospecting with Landsat 8

In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of Maine have demonstrated that Landsat 8 satellite data can be used to find locations where oysters farms should thrive.

Mar 20, 2017Spectral Characterization

The measured wavelength locations of the ETM+ spectral bands are compared to Landat 5’s TM in Table 8.1 The spectral bandwidths are determined by the combined response of all optical path mirrors (i.e. primary, secondary, scan line corrector, scanning), the spectral filters, and the individual detectors. The spectral filters, located immediately in front of each […]

Aug 1, 2016Landsat 7 Science Data Users Handbook

The Landsat 7 Data Users Handbook is a living document prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Project Science Office at the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, SD, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Landsat Project Science Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, […]

EAA4 brochure cover
Mar 29, 2016Earth as Art 4: A Fusion of Science and Art

At first glance, science and art might seem like an unlikely pairing. Yet throughout history, the intersection of these two fields has often resulted in science-based works of sublime beauty.

Sample RSR plot
Mar 11, 2016Spectral Response of the Multispectral Scanner System
In-Band, Band-Average Relative Spectral Response

< The Multispectral Scanner System   The band-average relative spectral radiance responses of the Landsat-1 through -5 Multispectral Scanner System (MSS) instruments are provided below as extracted from the best reproductions of the original data available. The original measurement data has been lost to history and the only remaining source of the relative spectral responses […]

close-up of study area land-terminating glacier
Oct 28, 2015Despite Warming, Landsat Reveals Decadal Slowdowns on Greenland Ice Sheet

Ice sheets are in perpetual motion, making their way downslope like a river. If the amount of snow that an ice sheet accumulates does not keep pace with its loss to the sea, sea level will rise. As temperatures have climbed, positive feedback loops have led to an accelerated loss of ice sheet sections that touch the sea, but in an unexpected twist to the global warming saga, scientists have just discovered a negative feedback loop that is slowing down the Greenland Ice Sheet sections that end on land—a sliver of good news for sea-level rise.

Lake Havasu 1911 map
Oct 22, 2015Creating an Oasis in the Desert: Lake Havasu City, Arizona, 1911

Humans have modified the landscape of Planet Earth in many ways. This modification is nothing new—it began as the earliest humans began burning of local grasslands to encourage new growth, tilling the soil for the first agricultural experiments, and building small dams to ensure a water source. Yet today’s changes are more frequent and also larger in area, from the construction of cities, reservoirs, and tunnels, to widespread land use change through the conversion of the natural land cover to cropland, grazing pastures, mining sites, and other uses.

Sep 24, 2015Landsat Helps Feed the Birds

The BirdReturns program, created by The Nature Conservancy of California, is an effort to provide “pop-up habitats” for some of the millions of shorebirds, such as sandpipers and plovers, that migrate each year from their summer breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada to their winter habitats in California, Mexico, Central and South America.

“Balloon View–Nantucket to Boston” map 1885
Aug 27, 2015Cape Cod, 1885

The sandy peninsula of Cape Cod, Massachusetts juts into the Atlantic Ocean with its characteristic crook and twirl in both images: “Balloon View–Nantucket to Boston” made in 1885, and a Landsat 8 satellite image made 129 years later in 2014. Aspirations to rise above the Earth and to record the Earth’s surface from there are a long-standing theme of human culture.

first image from Sentinel-2A covers the Po Valley, framed by the Alps in the north and the coastal mountains of France and Italy in the south
Jun 30, 2015Sentinel-2 Delivers First Images

Just four days after being lofted into orbit, Europe’s Sentinel-2A satellite delivered its first images of Earth, offering a glimpse of the ‘color vision’ that it will provide for the Copernicus environmental monitoring program.

New York City Landsat 8 - 2013
May 27, 2015New York City, 1860

New York City in 1860 was thriving for some of the same reasons the city thrives today. The city’s location was then, and is now, central for the movement of people and freight to and from Europe and elsewhere. Waterways were the primary transportation pathways in 1860. New York’s deep and well-connected port, nearer to the ocean than the ports of other cities on the East coast of the United States, was a huge boon to shipping. The Hudson River connected New York City’s port to a wide gateway westward through the Erie Canal to Lake Erie and beyond. Europe sent and received goods and people across the Atlantic Ocean to New York. Cities on the Great Lakes could enjoy the benefits of shipping to and from Europe, completely by water!

iGETT participants
Mar 16, 2015Landsat Helps to Build a Geospatial Workforce

The federal government has invested billions of dollars to ensure our country’s leadership in space-based observations of our planet. We need a workforce that is fully prepared to understand and use this data for solving problems of local, national and global concern. Community colleges provide fertile ground for remote sensing workforce development at an effective technician level. They serve almost half the undergraduate students in the United States, and they are well positioned to increase workforce diversity. Nearly half of all Hispanic/Latino and Pacific Islander/Asian students, 36% of African American students, and 42% of Native American/ Native Alaskan students attend a two-year public institution (U.S. Department of Education 2009).

Call for Papers: A Special Issue of <em>Remote Sensing of Environment</em> on Landsat 8 Science Results
Dec 18, 2014Call for Papers: A Special Issue of Remote Sensing of Environment on Landsat 8 Science Results

With the launch of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) in February 2013, the already unprecedented Landsat global record continues and could reach 50 years or longer in length. LDCM, renamed, Landsat 8 when the mission was declared operational in May 2013, is based on several technological advances that are providing more and higher quality multispectral data than previous Landsat missions. In addition, Landsat 8 includes new multispectral measurements that are expanding science and applications.

William T. Pecora
Nov 18, 20142014 William T. Pecora Award Winners

This afternoon at the Pecora 19 conference in Denver, Colorado, the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA presented a group Pecora Award to The Landsat 8 Team.

Taking Landsat 8 to the Beach
Aug 22, 2014Taking Landsat 8 to the Beach

Some things go perfectly with a summer trip to the coast: sunscreen, mystery novels, cold beverages, and sand castles. Other things—like algae blooms or polluted runoff—are a lot less appealing. The newest generation of Landsat satellite is helping researchers identify and study potential problem areas from space.

Out-of-Band Spectral Response
Jul 24, 2014Out-of-Band Spectral Response

The band-average out-of-band spectral responses of the Operational Land Imager (OLI) are provided in this spreadsheet.

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 available to the public by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners.

Landsat 8 image of Great Salt Lake 2013
Mar 12, 2014Great Salt Lake, 1859

With imagination one can explore and understand how very different life was for people in the United States before the Golden Spike was hammered into the ground in Utah in 1869. That was a much-hailed event that knitted the country together by linking two railroad lines from the eastern and western ends of the continent. Just ten years earlier, when the map at left was made, life was more centered on local transactions. It was hard for families with children to visit friends because travel in this part of the country was slow and arduous, over bumpy dirt roads by horse and wagon. A life involving daily travel for several miles from home each day to work was not feasible. Yet change was in the air even then.

Spanish Armada feature image
Feb 5, 2014Winds of Change: Defeat of the Spanish Armada, 1588.

The series of battles that unfolds with these seven maps is considered one of the most important campaigns in naval history; a campaign that ended with the defeat of the powerful Spanish Armada in 1588. Cartographer Robert Adams created these maps for a 1590 book chronicling the famed naval campaign.