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A half-century of capturing satellite imagery, teaching interpretation, and discovering new land change science distinguishes the USGS Earth Resource and Observation Science (EROS) Center. Celebrate 50 years of data and science with our newly published 50th anniversary website, complete with videos, timelines, articles, podcast episodes, and more! 

Watch the EROS 50th anniversary video, an overview of the center’s role in leading the remote sensing science revolution. From there, the website dives deeper into the decades with topic tabs.

The EROS History tab starts with the idea USGS Director William T. Pecora had in 1966: a satellite monitoring Earth to better study its features and resources. From there national, political and civic leaders got on board Project EROS, as Pecora called it. The story continues through the years to today, where a world-renowned science center sits amongst the cornfields of South Dakota.  

Screenshot with text on left and panel of 4 labeled images on right
Screenshot of the geonarrative home screen, midway down, for the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center anniversary site.

The Landsat program populates the USGS Archive with satellite images, along with declassified spy satellite, airplane, and uncrewed drone imagery. The data from the imagery fuels the science performed at the center. Over the years, EROS has adapted with the changing world. In the early days, the center taught scientists from all corners of the world how Landsat data can be used for their research. Today, Landsat data is available through the online Earth Explorer portal at no cost, thanks to the 2008 Open Data Policy.  

The EROS Center continues to write the book for using Earth-observing satellite science. Most recently, Landsat data and processing has entered the commercial cloud, granting new ways to explore the growing record of satellite observations.  

“We witnessed a ton of change over the last 50 years,” EROS Center Director Pete Doucette shared during a recent Eyes on Earth episode. “It’s going to be even more rapid as we go.”  

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