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USGS - science for a changing world

Land Remote Sensing Program

October 19, 2017, 6:00-9:00 PM (CDT): Maintenance is scheduled. The LRS site will be unavailable during this time. Thank you for your patience.

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

Wildfires Devastate California Wine CountryPine Island Glacier\Puerto Rico after Hurricane MariaIrma Churns Up Sediment in the Florida KeysHurricane Irma Slams BarbudaHurricane Harvey FloodingHurricane Harvey Inundates Gulf CoastGypsy Moth Infestation Continues in New EnglandFire in GreenlandBatagaika Crater and the Megaslump
Wildfires Devastate California Wine Country
Residents had little warning when wildfires that ignited late Sunday night, October 8, 2017, were fanned by wind gusts of 50 miles per hour and blasted across California's wine country.
Pine Island Glacier's Newest Iceberg
Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica has snapped off its share of icebergs in recent years. The frequency of noteworthy breaks is evidence that the ice shelf is becoming increasingly fragile.
Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria
Hurricane Maria swept across Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, as a Category 4 hurricane and the fifth strongest storm ever to hit the United States.
Irma Churns Up Sediment in the Florida Keys
Hurricane Irma crossed the Florida Keys the morning of September 10, 2017, as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 miles per hour.
Hurricane Irma Slams Barbuda
Hurricane Irma was a Category 5 superstorm when it lashed the Caribbean island of Barbuda on September 6, 2017.
Hurricane Harvey Flooding
Extensive flooding inundated the Gulf Coast of Texas after Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on August 25, 2017.
Hurricane Harvey Inundates Gulf Coast
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Texas as a Category 4 hurricane on the night of August 25, 2017.
Gypsy Moth Infestation Continues in New England
A large outbreak of gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillars attacked the hardwood forests of the northeastern United States in 2016.
Fire in Greenland
It may seem surprising that wildfires burn in Greenland, a huge island of ice and glaciers.
Batagaika Crater and the Megaslump
An increasingly large gash has opened up in northern Russia's Siberian tundra. During the past few decades, warmer summers and shorter winters have caused permafrost in this region to thaw, which then allows the warmed soils on slopes to slump and erode.
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Remote Sensing Highlights

Pecora 20 Call for Abstracts and Pecora Award Nominations Deadlines Extended

The 20th William T. Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium will be held November 14-16, 2017, in Sioux Falls, SD. The theme of Pecora 20 is "Observing a Changing Earth: Science for Decisions…Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection." With an emphasis on recent developments in remote sensing, the symposium program will focus on applications of satellite and other Earth observations to monitor, assess, and perform projections of future land and water resources, as well as big data and other analytical technologies to improve decision making using satellite data. The deadline to submit abstracts has been extended to July 1, 2017.

The William T. Pecora Award is presented annually to recognize outstanding contributions by individuals or groups toward understanding the Earth by means of remote sensing. Any individual or group (domestic or international) working in the field of remote sensing of the Earth is eligible to receive the William T. Pecora Award. This year’s awards will be presented at the 20th William T. Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium mentioned above. The 2017 Pecora Award nominations submission date has been extended to June 15, 2017.

Pecora 20: Call for Abstracts and Award Nominations

Pecora 20The 20th William T. Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium will be held November 14-16, 2017, in Sioux Falls, SD. With an emphasis on recent developments in remote sensing, the theme of Pecora 20 is “Observing a Changing Earth: Science for Decisions…Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection.” The symposium will offer a program focused on applications of satellite and other Earth observations to monitor, assess, and perform projections of future land and water resources, as well as big data and other analytical technologies to improve decision making using satellite data. Submit abstracts and Pecora Award nominations through June 1, 2017.

2017 William T. Pecora Award: Nominations being accepted through June 1, 2017

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. The Department of the Interior (DOI) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) jointly sponsor the award. The award was established in 1974 to honor the memory of Dr. William T. Pecora, former Director of the U.S. Geological Survey and Under Secretary, Department of the Interior. Dr. Pecora was a motivating force behind the establishment of a program for civil remote sensing of the Earth from space. His early vision and support helped establish what we know today as the Landsat satellite program. The Award Committee must receive nominations for the 2017 award by June 1, 2017. Instructions for preparing a nomination and other information about the award can be found on the Pecora Award web site.

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.

A New Era of Space Collaboration between Australia and U.S.

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.

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.

Landsat Data aids in Study: U.S. Eastern Ecosystems Helps Counter Greenhouse Gas Emissions Contributing to Climate Change
Eastern Ecosystems Helps Counter Greenhouse Gas Emissions

USGS scientists used Landsat data to determine that forests, wetlands and farms in the eastern U.S. naturally store 300 million tons of carbon a year, which is nearly 15 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions EPA estimates the country emits each year or an amount that exceeds and offsets yearly U.S. car emissions. In conjunction with the national assessment, USGS has a LandCarbon site which allows users to see the land and water carbon storage and change in their ecosystems between 2005 and 2050 in the lower 48 states. Biological carbon storage - also known as carbon sequestration - is the process by which carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed from the atmosphere and stored as carbon in vegetation, soils and sediment. The USGS estimates the ability of different ecosystems to store carbon now and in the future, providing vital information for land-use and land-management decisions. Management of carbon stored in our ecosystems and agricultural areas is relevant both for mitigation of climate change and for adaptation to such changes.


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


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