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USGS - science for a changing world

National Land Imaging Program


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

Deadly Mudslides in JapanSolai Dam Tragedy in KenyaA History of Lava Flows at Hawaii\Rattlesnake Fire, ArizonaHurricane Sandy\Urban Growth in Las Vegas, Nevada, USALandsat\From Chile to Your SmartphoneVolcán de Fuego, GuatemalaOlympic Skiing and Land Change
Deadly Mudslides in Japan
Torrential rainfall swamped western Japan in July of 2018.
Solai Dam Tragedy in Kenya
Heavy spring rains and widespread flooding has killed more than 150 people and displaced thousands in Kenya this year.
A History of Lava Flows at Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano
New fissures opened up on Hawaii's Big Island in early May 2018, spouting lava that destroyed homes in the Leilani Estates neighborhood.
Rattlesnake Fire, Arizona
The 2018 fire season is already active in the western United States. One of the larger wildfires so far is the Rattlesnake Fire.
Hurricane Sandy's Lasting Effects on Fire Island, NY
As Hurricane Sandy made landfall on October 29, 2012, the storm’s waves and wind cut a breach in a narrow part of Fire Island, a barrier island south of Long Island, New York.
Urban Growth in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Decades of consistent data from Landsat help scientists monitor the growth of urban areas in a world where more than half of the population lives in cities.
Landsat's View of the Boston Marathon
The 122nd Boston Marathon, the oldest annual marathon in the world, takes place on April 16, 2018. This Landsat 8 image shows the April landscape of eastern Massachusetts, before vegetation has greened up.
From Chile to Your Smartphone
If you like being connected to the world everywhere you go with a smartphone or other device, then you have a desolate salt flat in northern Chile to thank.
Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala
Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala erupted on January 31, 2018, and Landsat 8 acquired an image of the eruption a day later.
Olympic Skiing and Land Change
Images from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) onboard NASA’s Terra satellite show how one area in South Korea transformed from mountainous forest to a world-class downhill skiing venue to get ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
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National Land Imaging Highlights

Landsat Advisory Group undertakes a Landsat Cost Recovery Study

The Department of the Interior (DOI) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have requested a Federal Advisory Committee to review USGS's current free-and-open policy for user access to Landsat data.

2018 William T. Pecora Award: Nominations being accepted through June 15, 2018

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 2018 award must be received by June 15, 2017.

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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