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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.

Wildfires Ravage Central, South-Central ChileJanuary Rain, Snow Refills California ReservoirsArgentina Flooding Has Major Impact on Soybean ProductionWest Africa Atlas Details Efforts to Manage, Preserve Okomu ForestWildfires Scorch Pampas Region of ArgentinaMarree Man Geoglyph in Australia Does Reappearing ActRare Snow Falls at the Edge of Sahara DesertExpansion at the Port of RotterdamA Landsat Mosaic for Indiana\As Glaciers Worldwide Are Retreating, One Defies the Trend
Wildfires Ravage Central, South-Central Chile
Wildfires fueled by dry conditions, high temperatures, and strong winds are scorching central Chile at a level Chilean officials say they haven’t seen in decades.
January Rain, Snow Refills California Reservoirs
A decade of drought in California has eased after the first month of 2017 thanks to heavy rains and snow, a fact that Landsat images are helping to confirm.
Argentina Flooding Has Major Impact on Soybean Production
Heavy rains in late December 2016 and early January 2017 are affecting soybean production in Argentina’s bread-basket provinces while impacting soy prices worldwide.
West Africa Atlas Details Efforts to Manage, Preserve Okomu Forest
A new atlas named Landscapes of West Africa: A Window on a Changing World tells the story of transformations and trends across many lands in West Africa, including this look at the threat of human activities in the Okomu Forest Reserve in southern Nigeria.
Wildfires Scorch Pampas Region of Argentina
Since mid-December 2016, roughly two dozen wildfires in the Pampas region of Argentina have consumed almost 2.5 million acres while unleashing giant plumes of dense smoke above the rural landscapes.
Marree Man Geoglyph in Australia Does Reappearing Act
In June 1998, a pilot discovered a strange sight in the Australian outback that wasn’t there before—a huge outline of what appeared to be an Aboriginal man throwing either a boomerang or a stick.
Rare Snow Falls at the Edge of Sahara Desert
In mid-December 2016, a rarity occurred on the edge of the Sahara Desert in northwest Africa. It snowed.
Expansion at the Port of Rotterdam
A large infrastructure project has changed the shape of the coastline of the Netherlands while increasing the cargo capacity at Europe's largest port.
A Landsat Mosaic for Indiana's Bicentennial
Throughout 2016, Indiana has been celebrating its 200th anniversary of statehood.
As Glaciers Worldwide Are Retreating, One Defies the Trend
Many glaciers around the world are losing ice mass and retreating.
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Remote Sensing Highlights

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.

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.


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


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