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USGS - science for a changing world

Land Remote Sensing Program

The USGS is fostering the use of land remote sensing technology to meet local, national, and global challenges.

As Glaciers Worldwide Are Retreating, One Defies the TrendLandsat Chronicles Deforestation in ColombiaSaudi Wheat Experiment Relied on Fossil WaterThree Gorges Dam Brings Power, Concerns to Central ChinaLandsat Monitors Gypsy Moth DamageHurricane Sandy Slammed Eastern U.S. Four Years AgoHurricane Matthew Exacts Heavy Toll on HaitiBeauty of Earth Science Revealed Within Great Smoky MountainsCedar River Surges to Second-Highest Level in Eastern IowaLandsat Confirms Spatial Extent of Wind Tower Sediment Plumes
As Glaciers Worldwide Are Retreating, One Defies the Trend
Many glaciers around the world are losing ice mass and retreating.
Landsat Chronicles Deforestation in Colombia
Deforestation has long been a fact of life in the Amazon, Andean, and Caribbean regions of Colombia, South America, something that Landsat satellite data have thoroughly chronicled through the years.
Saudi Wheat Experiment Relied on Fossil Water
In the mid-1980s, Saudi Arabia embarked on an ambitious agricultural plan to grow crops in its desert areas using ancient fossil water deep beneath the sand, and installed center-pivot irrigation systems in the barren Wadi As-Sirhan basin in the northwest part of the country.
Three Gorges Dam Brings Power, Concerns to Central China
The construction of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in central China offers an interesting glimpse into the balancing act borne from humanity's changing of the natural landscape.
Landsat Monitors Gypsy Moth Damage
Massive defoliation caused by a severe outbreak of the European gypsy moth caterpillar during the spring and summer of 2016 across southern New England and the Mid-Atlantic was easily captured by the Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager sensor from 438 miles in space.
Hurricane Sandy Slammed Eastern U.S. Four Years Ago
On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy barreled across the shorelines of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, impacting lives across two dozen states that fell within its destructive path.
Hurricane Matthew Exacts Heavy Toll on Haiti
A week after Hurricane Matthew slammed through southwestern Haiti on October 4, 2016, Landsat 8's Operational Land Imager sensor provided dramatic documentation of the scope of destruction in the Caribbean country.
Beauty of Earth Science Revealed Within Great Smoky Mountains
Earth Science reminds us that the study of Earth and its biological processes can occur anywhere—whether we realize it or not.
Cedar River Surges to Second-Highest Level in Eastern Iowa
On September 27, 2016, the Cedar River surged to a crest of 22 feet at Cedar Rapids, Iowa—6 feet above the river’s major flood stage designation.
Landsat Confirms Spatial Extent of Wind Tower Sediment Plumes
Earth observation satellites help researchers confirm the presence of large plumes containing suspended sediments extending from hundreds of wind towers in the coastal waters of the North Sea southeast of England.
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Remote Sensing Highlights

2016 William T. Pecora Award Recognizes Excellence in Earth Observation

Dr. Curtis E. Woodcock, individual award, and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), group award, were announced as the recipients of the award.

2016 William T. Pecora Award: Nominations being accepted through June 10, 2016

The William T. Pecora Award is presented annually to individuals or groups that have made outstanding contributions toward understanding the Earth by means of remote sensing. Nominations for the 2016 award must be received by June 10, 2016.

Landsat 8 Thermal Data Update

Landsat 8 Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) data continue to be collected with the scene select mirror encoder electronics disabled (mode 0). While in this mode, the TIRS line of sight model (LOS) will be regularly updated and modifications are being made to automate revisions to the LOS in the Level-1 Product Generation System (LPGS).
Landsat 8 Operational Land Imagery (OLI) and TIRS data that have been collected through the 4th quarter of 2015 (October-December) will be reprocessed into nominal Level-1 products containing valid TIRS data, and will be available in February 2016.
TIRS data acquired during the 1st quarter of 2016 (January-March) will be reprocessed and made available in April. A strategy is being developed for generating near-real time products moving forward while operating in mode 0. More details will be posted on the Landsat Missions Web site as they become available.

Visit the Highlights Archive for information highlighted here in the past.

Featured Science

Multiple Satellite Eyes to Track Algal Threat to U.S. Freshwater
Algal Blooms

Landsat 8 is demonstrating promising new capabilities for water quality assessment. Satellite-based instruments allow for more frequent observations over broader areas than physical water sampling. Four federal agencies—NASA, NOAA, EPA, and USGS—are joining forces to develop an early warning system for toxic and nuisance algal blooms. Through this project, satellite data on harmful algal blooms will be converted to a format that stakeholders can use through mobile devices and web portals. This will improve detection of these blooms and help researchers better understand the conditions under which they occur.

Visit the Featured Science Archive for information highlighted here in the past.

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Page Last Modified: December 02, 2016