Landsat Missions

Landsat Update - Volume 10 Issue 2 2016

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Landsat Collections Strategy Update

In the previous Landsat Update, we introduced our plans to implement a collection management scheme for Landsat Level-1 products in 2016.  The intent is to provide a quality-controlled selection of radiometrically calibrated and consistently geolocated data with particular geodetic accuracy and error tolerances specified to align pixels for time-series analysis through the full Landsat record.

A number of changes are being made to support this effort: incorporating new Landsat product identifiers, a tiered structure for the Landsat product inventory, and numerous improvements to product content and metadata attributes.

Sample Landsat 4-7 Level-1 data products containing the product ID and modified metadata (MTL.txt) files will be available in mid-to late-April 2016. Sample Landsat 8 data will be available later in the year.

All information regarding the collection management strategy is available on the Collection Management Web page. This page will be updated continuously with details as plans become established.

Sentinel-2A Data Now Available from the USGS

A partnership established between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the USGS allows for USGS storage and redistribution of data acquired by the Multispectral instrument (MSI) on ESA’s Sentinel-2A satellite launched in June 2015.  The Sentinel series of satellite missions will support the European Commission’s Copernicus Programme. More details about Sentinel-2A MSI can be found on the USGS Sentinel-2 Web page, and Sentinel-2A data products are now available for search and download from EarthExplorer.

Ground Control Points Phase Three Updates

The Phase 3 Ground Control Update will be implemented in May 2016, geometrically improving 918 path/rows that cover high latitude Arctic regions where the existing ground control points (GCPs) are found to contain errors of 50 meters or more, or where the existing coverage is sparse or absent.

In addition, this update implements improvements to the digital elevation model (DEM) used for Greenland, and for the islands of Svalbard and Jan Mayen Land. More details about the DEM improvements and a list of the affected path/rows are located on the Landsat Geometry Web page

Call for 2016 William T. Pecora Award Nominations

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 2016 award by June 10, 2016.

Instructions for preparing a nomination and other information about the award can be found on the Pecora Award web site

Upcoming Meetings

American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Conference
March 29-April 2, 2016 - San Francisco, California

American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Imaging & Geospatial Technology Forum (IGTF)/Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation (JACIE) Workshop
April 11-15, 2016 (IGTF)/April 12-14, 2016 (JACIE) - Fort Worth, Texas

Esri User Conference
June 27-July 1, 2016 - San Diego, California

2016 Summer Landsat Science Team Meeting
July 26-28, 2016 - South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD

Landsat Image of Interest

Landsat Reveals Water Use Dynamics in the San Joaquin Valley

California’s San Joaquin Valley is one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions. Much of that productivity depends on the availability of water for irrigation. Recent prolonged droughts in California have underscored the importance of accurately monitoring changes and trends in water use in order to make well-informed water management decisions.

Scientists with the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center used Landsat images to quantify water use in the San Joaquin Valley over a 30-year period.

Landsat Image of Interest - Landsat Reveals Water Use Dynamics in the San Joaquin Valley

The full poster describing these images in more detail can be viewed and downloaded from the Land Remote Sensing Gallery.



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Note: Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


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Landsat represents the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. Four decades of imagery provides a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research. Landsat images are also invaluable for emergency response and disaster relief.


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