Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center


At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change and produce land change data products used by researchers, resource managers, and policy makers across the nation and around the world. We also operate the Landsat satellite program with NASA, and maintain the largest civilian collection of images of the Earth’s land surface in existence, including tens of millions of satellite images. 

What's New at EROS?


Eyes on Earth is a podcast covering a range of topics on remote sensing, satellite operations, and the science of Earth observation. Watch for new episodes every two weeks.

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Image of the Week

Image of the Week

The Shishaldin Volcano on the eastern edge of Alaska’s Aleutian Island chain erupted with activity in January of 2020. Landsat 8 captured both day- and nighttime imagery of the event as it happened. 

Aleutian Eruption


Date published: January 24, 2020

EROS Fire Scientists Look at Potential Use of Lidar for Operational Burn Mapping

Fires that rage through forests, consuming vegetation on the ground and spreading into canopies, almost always leave important questions behind when they are done.

Like, what in fact burned? Where did it burn? How intense was the burn? And how far into the canopy did it reach?

Date published: January 8, 2020

Space Debris Remains Ongoing Concern for Landsat, Other Satellites

Space, it turns out, can be a messy place.

Sixty years of manned and unmanned space flight have left a cosmic junkyard circling the planet. From spent boosters to the detritus of defunct satellites, collisions, and explosions, there are countless potential cataclysms waiting to happen as space debris travels at relative velocities approaching 18,000 miles per hour.

Date published: January 2, 2020

AVHRR Played Key Role in Influencing Trajectory of EROS Science

A few months back, in the fall of 2019, a handful of current and former staffers from the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center met at a gathering spot in Sioux Falls to remember an old friend.


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Year Published: 2020

Quantifying western U.S. rangelands as fractional components with landsat

Quantifying western U.S. rangelands as a series of fractional components with remote sensing provides a new way to understand these changing ecosystems. Nine rangeland ecosystem components, including percent shrub, sagebrush (Artemisia spp), big sagebrush, herbaceous, annual herbaceous, litter, and bare ground cover, along with sagebrush and shrub...

Rigge, Matthew B.; Homer, Collin G.; Cleeves, Lauren; Meyer, Debra K.; Bunde, Brett; Shi, Hua; Xian, George Z.; Bobo, Matthew R

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Year Published: 2019

Earth as art 6

Earth has a stunning variety of landscapes. The colors, patterns, textures, and shapes all make for intriguing artwork as seen from the perspective of space.Earth As Art shows not only what satellites capture in the visible wavelengths of light you and I can see, but also what’s hiding in the invisible wavelengths that Landsat sensors can detect...

U.S. Geological Survey, 2019, Earth as art 6—A unique and unconventional perspective of the Earth’s geographic attributes: U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 194, 42 p.,

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Year Published: 2019

Validating a landsat time-series of fractional component cover across western U.S. Rangelands

Western U.S. rangelands have been quantified as six fractional cover (0%–100%) components over the Landsat archive (1985–2018) at a 30 m resolution, termed the “Back-in-Time” (BIT) dataset. Robust validation through space and time is needed to quantify product accuracy. Here, we used field data collected concurrently with high-resolution satellite...

Rigge, Matthew B.; Homer, Collin G.; Shi, Hua; Meyer, Debra K.