Comparison of idle fields from 2011 to 2015
Oct 21, 2015Federal Agencies Release Data Showing California Central Valley Idle Farmland Doubling During Drought

NASA, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), United States Geological Survey (USGS), and the California Department of Water Resources, released data today showing the effect the current drought has had on agricultural production and the idling of California farmlands.

Ayse Kilic (University of Nebraska)
Oct 14, 2015Tracking Agricultural Water Use on a Smartphone

This fall scientists at the University of Nebraska, with partners at Google Inc., the University of Idaho and the Desert Research Institute, introduced the latest evolution of METRIC technology—an application called EEFLUX, which will allow anyone in the world to produce field-scale maps of water consumption.

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.

cropland in PA
Aug 18, 2015How Landsat Helps: New Agricultural Case Studies from USGS

The Social and Economic Analysis team at the Fort Collins Science Center recently added five new agriculture focused case studies to their “Landsat Imagery: A Unique Resource” website.

Virginia wine country
May 20, 2015Landsat Helping in Virginia Wine Country

The Virginia Wine Board partnered with Wise DEVELOP to map the extension of Virginia vineyards. Vineyard extent was measured using data from Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI).

abandoned farm in Montana
Sep 26, 2014Modeling a Changing American Landscape

Land change is a signature activity of human civilization. Since the dawn of history, people have purposefully converted natural landscapes to human-dominated areas. Typical motivations for land change are cultivation (e.g. slash-and-burn fields, rice paddies, modern farms); occupation (villages, cities, housing developments); and other cultural and economic pursuits (roads, schools, airports).

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

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 Benefits of Landsat Imagery in Water Resources, provides examples of why Landsat is so valuable.

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

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 monitoring water use in areas such as the western United States, where the majority of the water has already been allocated.

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.

Napa Valley Vineyard
Mar 11, 2014The Grapes of Landsat

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.

CropScape map
Feb 12, 2014NASS Releases 2013 Geospatial Data for U.S. Crops

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 access to interactive visualization, geospatial queries and dissemination without the need to download specialized software.

Feb 4, 2014NASA Maps Earth’s Croplands from Space

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, a new NASA-funded effort aims to map crop fields worldwide, identify what’s growing where, and determine whether it’s irrigated or fed by rain.

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 cities growing, rivers flooding, lava flowing from volcanic eruptions, forests expanding or shrinking, crops greening through the growing season, and even of evidence of pollution.

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 government out of $410, 372.

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 plantations. However, the coarse resolution of the fire alerts coupled with outdated national maps, made it hard to establish culpability.

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

May 9, 2013 • 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 Earth Engine technology, Google has compiled decades of Landsat images into a new, interactive time-lapse […]

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

Feb 19, 2013 • 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 water availability. Why are evapotranspiration rates so important to know? It’s because the amount of water available […]

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 scientists modeled the relations among land uses, agricultural production, and dynamic nitrate (NO3) contamination of aquifers.

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 the Landsat mission is essential to her company’s ability to maintain a competitive edge in today’s global economy.