J2.6 An Unprecedented 40-Year Record of Our Changing Earth using Landsat

Monday, 7 January 2013: 5:15 PM
Ballroom G (Austin Convention Center)
Frank Kelly, USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, Sioux Falls, SD

An Unprecedented 40-Year Record of Our Changing Earth using Landsat

Today, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat archive contains over three million Landsat images providing an unprecedented 40-year record of Earth observations. All USGS Landsat data are available at no cost via the Internet. While this 2008 “free” data policy has revolutionized the use of Landsat data, spurring the creation of robust standard products and new science and applications approaches, the benefits of the Landsat data are just now starting to be realized by the global user community. While the opening of the archive was a revolutionary step for the Landsat Program, an equally important next-step is to develop higher-level Landsat geo- and biophysical datasets. The USGS plans to evolve the delivery of remote sensing based data products to the delivery of land change monitoring information products. These land change science products will focus on how the patterns, processes, and consequences of changes in land use, land cover, and land condition affect people and nature, such as health, agriculture and land ecosystems. Finally, continuity of Landsat data into the future remains critical for understanding the Earth system and for providing a scientific basis for land change monitoring. The planned launch of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission in February 2013 could potentially extend the continuous Earth observation record to nearly 50 years.

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