Landsat Missions

Landsat Update - Volume 6 Issue 4 2012

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Landsat Update - Volume 6 Issue 4 2012

Countdown to LDCM Launch 119 Days


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Nine Million Scenes and Counting!
The use of Landsat data has exploded since the USGS began distributing the data at no cost in 2009. In the best sales year, around 25,000 images were sold. The Landsat project has now exceeded that number in a single day. In fact, the 9 millionth image was distributed on September 1, 2012. It has taken less than 4 years to reach this mark, which demonstrates both the temporal and geographic expansion of Landsat-based research, as well as exposure to new communities that are exploring the 40 years of global Landsat data for the first time.

International Landsat Cooperators Confer in Sioux Falls
As Landsat circles Earth, international partners in nearly a dozen locations downlink and process these data; sharing images with our global community of scientists, engineers, and managers. These partners meet annually for the Landsat Technical Working Group (LTWG) meeting, which was held in Sioux Falls, SD on September 24-28, 2012. LTWG serves as a venue to discuss operational and technical issues and explore expanded opportunities for collaboration.

This meeting, the 21st for the group, concentrated on establishing reception, processing, and distribution capabilities for the next Landsat satellite. The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) is set for launch in February 2013. The state-of-the-art imaging satellite — to be known as Landsat 8 once it successfully achieves orbit — will build on the 40-year record of Earth observations by the Landsat satellite series and greatly expand the program's capabilities to impartially record changes on the surface of the Earth.

Conference organizers at the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (USGS-EROS) hosted — nearly 140 participants in the meeting from 25 countries and 49 separate organizations.

Remote Sensing of Environment
Special Landsat issue of Remote Sensing of Environment.


Jointly managed by the USGS and NASA, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) is the future of Landsat satellites. It will carry on the over 40-year legacy of the Landsat program, which is unmatched in quality, detail, coverage, and value. Launch is set for February 11, 2013.

Landsat Stories

Landsat Data contribute to Google Earth Engine
The 40 year archive of Landsat data is useful for many platforms, including Google Earth Engine - an online environment that brings worldwide satellite imagery to the public for environmental analysis, land cover classification, and biomass and carbon - just to name a few applications.

Upcoming Meetings

MAPPS/American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (APSRS)
2012 Specialty Conference

October 29 - November 1, 2012
Tampa, Florida

The Geological Society of America (GSA) 2012 Annual Meeting & Exposition
November 4 - 7, 2012
Charlotte, North Carolina

American Geophysical Union (AGU) 45th Annual Fall Meeting
December 3 - 7, 2012
San Francisco, California

American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (APSRS)
Annual Conference
March 24 - 28, 2013
Baltimore, Maryland

Tips and Tricks - 'Clear List' feature released in GloVis

'Clear List' Feature Added to GloVis
A new feature in GloVis allows users to 'Clear' the list of all scenes in the Scene List.

A new feature in GloVis

After clearing the list, users can right click in the white space and click Restore to return the last scenes in the list.

After clearing the list, users can right click in the white space and click Restore to return the last scenes in the list.

EROS Authors in Recent Publications

Hansen, M.C., and Loveland, T.R., 2012, A review of large area monitoring of land cover change using Landsat data: Remote Sensing of Environment, v. 122, p. 66-74.

Irons, J.R., Dwyer, J.L., and Barsi, J.A., 2012, The next Landsat satellite — the Landsat Data Continuity Mission: Remote Sensing of Environment, v. 122, p. 11-21.

Ju, J., Roy, D.P., Vermote, E., Masek, J., and Kovalskyy, V., 2012, Continental-scale validation of MODIS — based and LEDAPS Landsat ETM+ atmospheric correction methods: Remote Sensing of Environment, v. 122, p. 175-184.

Loveland, T.R., and Dwyer, J.L., 2012, Landsat — building a strong future: Remote Sensing of Environment, v. 122, p. 22-29.

Potapov, P.V., Turubanova, S.A., Hansen, M.C., Adusei, B., Broich, M., Altstatt, A., Mane, L., and Justice, C.O., 2012, Quantifying forest cover loss in Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2000-2010, with Landsat ETM+ data: Remote Sensing of Environment, v. 122, p. 106-116.

Vogelmann, J.E., Xian, G., Homer, C.G., and Tolk, B.L., 2012, Monitoring gradual ecosystem change using Landsat time series analyses — case studies in selected forest and rangeland ecosystems: Remote Sensing of Environment, v. 122, p. 92-105.

Wulder, M.A., Masek, J.G., Cohen, W.B., Loveland, T.R., and Woodcock, C.E., 2012, Opening the archive — how free data has enabled the science and monitoring promise of Landsat: Remote Sensing of Environment, v. 122, p. 2-10.

Landsat Image of Interest - Mississippi River Level, August 27, 2012

The 2012 drought, which affected much of the cropland in the Midwest and the western United States, has also had a major effect on the level of the Mississippi River. The diminishing flow of the river has delayed barge traffic and movement of cargo to ports at the lower mouth of the river.

Forty percent of the conterminous United States drains into the Mississippi River. The drought, which has diminished the flow from feeder streams, has led to a -30-50 foot drop in the river level. A drop of one foot lessens the amount of cargo that can be carried downstream by 200 tons.

Landsat imagery illustrating water levels in the St. Louis, Missouri, region demonstrate the change in recent years. The 2010 image shows "normal" conditions. The river level forms a uniform line and oxbow lakes east of the river provide water for nearby crops. The 2011 image, acquired after major flooding, shows water boundaries similar to the 2010 view. However, the 2012 image shows a narrower river with white tones representing exposed sand bars and exposed shorelines. One of the oxbow lakes is nearly dry and the larger lake has shrunk.Mississippi River Level



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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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