U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, leading the U.S. delegation to the 2015 Ministerial Summit of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), today signed an agreement with Mexico serving as a regional milestone for international cooperation in using land-surface satellite images for the benefit of effective land use planning and sustainability.
Since late 2008, when Landsat earth observation images were made available to all users free of charge, nearly 30 million Landsat scenes have been downloaded through the U.S. Geological Survey portal – and the rate of downloads is still increasing.
The 2.38 million Landsat images freely downloaded in 2011, benefited the U.S. economy by $1.8 billion found a new study published this month by a team of economists from Colorado State University and the USGS Fort Collins Science Center.
On the most recent nautical chart of the Beaufort Sea where the long narrow Tapkaluk Islands of Alaska’s North Slope separate the sea from the shallow Elson Lagoon (Nautical Chart 16081) a massive shoal is immediately noticeable just west of the entrance to the lagoon. On the chart it looks like a massive blue thumb jutting out into the sea. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) identified this prodigious, 6-nautical mile-long, 2-nm-wide shoal using Landsat satellite data.
In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey took 3.6 million images acquired by Landsat satellites and made them free and openly available on the Internet.
Last Thursday, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it is now hosting Landsat 8 imagery on its publicly accessible Simple Storage Service (S3).
Landsat is a key data input for many products developed and used in water resources, agricultural monitoring, land use and land cover monitoring, forest management, and development planning.
Orbiting Earth more than 400 miles away in space, far from human view; recording repeated images of land around the globe for more than 42 years; offering customers petabytes of historical and current data for free, the Landsat program of Earth observing satellites could be seen as the personification of the most single-minded office worker — tirelessly systematic, yes, but after so many years, perhaps less than dramatic.
Mapbox is a cloud-based map platform startup that creates custom maps with open source tools. The team at Mapbox consists of over fifty cartographers, data analysts and software engineers, located in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, California. One of the open-source tools used by Mapbox is Landsat imagery. The company has a satellite team consisting of five employees dedicated to projects that use Landsat imagery to develop new products and enhance existing imagery.
SilviaTerra is a four-year-old start-up company with five full-time employees that is contributing to the change in the way forests are managed in the United States. The company provides next-generation, highly accurate forest inventory data to fifteen users of various sizes. The customer base includes national and international timber companies. SilviaTerra is profitable and continues to grow.