Land Remote Sensing Program
Land Remote Sensing Program Highlights Archive Text Size: + | -
NOTE: Information and links in Land Remote Sensing Highlights are current at the time the information is posted.
On June 18, 2015 in Canberra, Australia, the U.S. Geological Survey and Geoscience Australia signed a comprehensive new partnership to maximize land remote sensing operations and data that can help to address issues of national and international significance.
The USGS has begun production of higher-level (more highly processed) Landsat data products to help advance land surface change studies. One such product is Landsat surface reflectance data. Surface reflectance data products approximate what a sensor held just above the Earth's surface would measure, if conditions were ideal. The precise removal of atmospheric artifacts increases the consistency and comparability between images of the Earth's surface taken at different times of the year and different times of the day.
NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have started work on Landsat 9, planned to launch in 2023, which will provide mission-critical continuity in the Earth-observing program's record of land images.
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 2015 award must be received by June 15, 2015.
Taking a hard look at the value of Landsat to the U.S. economy was the goal of the Landsat Advisory Group of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee. The team of commercial, state/local government, and non-profit geospatial information experts updated a critical review of the value of Landsat information that was recently released to the public. Their conclusion states the economic value of just one year of Landsat data far exceeds the multi-year total cost of building, launching, and managing the satellites and sensors. The impressive return emphasizes Landsat's role as a crucial national asset comparable to the satellite-based GPS system and National Weather Service satellites. Empowered by free access to the Landsat data archive since 2008, researchers are examining our planet in much greater detail.
The #2 seed in NASA's Tournament Earth 2015 competition took the Landsat 8 image of the colorful faults of Xinjiang, China to the championship. Coinciding with college basketball's "March Madness" tournament, NASA's online voting used the same bracket format to determine a favorite image. The winning image, selected by readers of the web site, was a first for a Landsat image.
The sensors on Landsat 8-the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS)-are a new kind of technology for the Landsat series. These pushbroom scanners are a change from their whiskbroom predecessors. This means their individual characteristics and calibrations can produce differences in data characteristics and quality. A special issue of the journal Remote Sensing aims to provide a good understanding of the radiometric and geometric properties of the Landsat 8 instruments and their data. Two calibration scientists from the USGS EROS Center were guest editors for the issue, in which 18 open access papers cover the design, calibration, and spectral and radiometric characterization of the OLI and TIRS.
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