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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.

Landslide near Oso, WashingtonSesan River, Cambodia and VietnamYarki Island and Lake Baikal, RussiaSundays River Valley, South AfricaLandscape change in Argentina32 Years of Change: Incheon, South KoreaGrampians Fire, AustraliaEffects of Flooding:  Hyeres, FranceCuesta del Viento Reservoir, ArgentinaBear Glacier, Alaska
Landslide near Oso, Washington
On March 22, 2014, a massive landslide occurred in the Cascade Mountains near Oso, Washington. Triggered by heavy rains, the slide covered the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River and destroyed numerous homes.
Sesan River, Cambodia and Vietnam
These Landsat images show the Sesan River (Tonle San), which runs through the boundary region between northeast Cambodia and Vietnam.
Yarki Island and Lake Baikal, Russia
Located in southern Siberia in Russia, Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world (1,700 m) and contains 20 percent of the fresh surface water on the planet.
Sundays River Valley, South Africa
Near the southernmost tip of Africa lies the Sundays River Valley, an agricultural area rich in citrus fruit production.
Landscape change in Argentina
These Landsat images show portions of the Cordoba and San Luis provinces in central Argentina. The urban area to the right of image center is Villa Dolores.
32 Years of Change: Incheon, South Korea
The shoreline area of Incheon, South Korea, has been changing dramatically over the past 32 years, as depicted by these Landsat images acquired in 1981 and again in 2013.
Grampians Fire, Australia
On January 15, 2014, lightning sparked a brushfire in Grampians National Park in the State of Victoria in southeastern Australia.
Effects of Flooding: Hyeres, France
In mid-January 2014, unusually heavy rains in southeast France led to flooding, landslides, and evacuations. These Landsat 8 images show the area around Hyeres, along with the Giens Peninsula (Presqu'ile de Giens) and nearby islands.
Cuesta del Viento Reservoir, Argentina
The Cuesta del Viento (Wind Slope) Reservoir formed behind a large dam that was constructed on the Jachal River in 1997-1998 in the northeastern San Juan Province of Argentina.
Bear Glacier, Alaska
Bear Glacier is located on the Kenai Peninsula near Seward, Alaska.

Remote Sensing Highlights

2014 William T. Pecora Award Announcement: Nominations Accepted through May 1, 2014

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 are accepted for public and private sector individuals, teams, organizations, and professional societies. Both national and international nominations are welcome.

Landsat 8 - Year One!

It has been a full year since the launch of the Landsat 8 satellite! During this time, over 160,000 Landsat 8 images have been acquired and made available to users worldwide. Landsat 8 is the latest success in a decades-long NASA and U.S. Geological Survey partnership that has provided a continuous record of change across Earth's land surfaces since 1972.

Making Outstanding Landsat Data Even Better

The USGS is committed to continually improving the data coming from its latest satellite, Landsat 8. Since its launch in February 2013, the project's engineers have been refining the data as they learn more about the performance of the satellite. On February 3, 2014, the Landsat 8 archive will be cleared from the online cache and reprocessed to take advantage of calibration improvements identified during its first year of operation. All Landsat 8 scenes will be removed from the online cache at this time and these data will then be reprocessed starting with the most recent acquisitions and proceeding back to the beginning of the mission. Reprocessing is expected to take approximately 50 days. Most users will not need to reorder data currently in their local archive; however, users are encouraged to review all Landsat 8 calibration notices and evaluate the improvements as they relate to specific applications.

Technical Announcement: AmericaView Wins Major Competitive Grant from USGS

AmericaView, a university-led, state-based consortium designed to promote remote sensing science and technology, was awarded a nearly $1 million National Land Remote Sensing Education Outreach and Research Activity grant by the U.S. Geological Survey this week through a competitive process. AmericaView will use the increased funding to further develop the national consortium; expand the science of remote sensing through education; and promote awareness of remote sensing technology for providing crucial insight into such issues as environmental climate monitoring, natural resource management, land cover mapping, projected land use change, and disaster analysis.

Chelton Receives 2013 Pecora Award for Achievements in Ocean Remote Sensing

The Department of the Interior's U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA presented the 2013 William T. Pecora Award for achievement in Earth remote sensing to Dudley B. Chelton, distinguished professor of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, Corvallis. Chelton was recognized for his contributions to ocean remote-sensing science, education, and applications.

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

Featured Science

Tracking Urban Change and Flood Risk with Landsat
Tracking Urban Change and Flood Risk with Landsat

When it comes to helping communities across the US stay up-to-date on their flood risk, the Landsat satellite can take a bow. Landsat images help track urban change, a factor that can impact a community's flood risk. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, uses these images to help identify where they should launch a new flood study. Flood studies determine how prone different neighborhoods are to floods of a certain intensity or likelihood.

Remote Sensing Activities Report
DOIRSWG 2012 report

The Department of the Interior has released its remote sensing activities report. This report, from the DOI Remote Sensing Working Group, provides a sampling of the many FY12 applications of remote sensing across the Department. Remotely sensed data, information, and resources contribute significantly to mission-critical work across the DOI. Spanning data sources from aerial photography, to moderate resolution satellite data, to highly specialized imaging sensors and platforms, DOI personnel use remotely sensing capabilities to evaluate and monitor land-surface conditions over the vast areas for which DOI has responsibility.


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


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Page Last Modified: March 21, 2014