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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.

Landsat\From Chile to Your SmartphoneVolcán de Fuego, GuatemalaOlympic Skiing and Land ChangeTheewaterskloof Reservoir, South AfricaOil Fires in IraqUpdate on Pine Island GlacierSouthern California Wildfires UpdateSouthern California Wildfires, December 2017New Rift on Greenland\
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.
Theewaterskloof Reservoir, South Africa
A three-year drought is threatening to cause city officials in Cape Town, South Africa, to shut off the tap water.
Oil Fires in Iraq
Over the past few years, black smoke has been seen in satellite images billowing from various locations in Iraq.
Update on Pine Island Glacier
A massive iceberg broke off Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica, in September 2017.
Southern California Wildfires Update
Santa Ana winds rapidly spread wildfires through shrubland, tall grasses, and brush in southern California in December 2017.
Southern California Wildfires, December 2017
Santa Ana winds rapidly spread wildfires through chaparral shrubland, tall grasses, and brush in southern California in December 2017.
New Rift on Greenland's Petermann Glacier
A new rift has been forming on Petermann Glacier, Greenland, throughout 2017.
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Remote Sensing Highlights

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.

Dr. Darrel Williams and International Charter for Space and Major Disasters Team receive 2017 Pecora Awards

Dr. Darrel Williams, individual award, and International Charter for Space and Major Disasters Team, group award, were announced as the recipients of the award.

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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Page Last Modified: March 05, 2018