Dr. Pete Doucette came to the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in 2019 from the USGS in Reston, Virginia, to lead the Integrated Science and Applications Branch—and, he suspects, to “shake things up a little bit.”
As USGS EROS Turns 50, Director Embraces Future
He brought with him a background in remote sensing and machine learning, along with a passion for data science. Now in his role as Director of EROS, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, he foresees new cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies as a big part of the future of EROS.
With the Landsat satellite data archive and part of NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center at EROS available to users in the cloud, “I think we're making nice progress in the direction of cloud,” said Doucette in an EROS-produced Eyes on Earth podcast episode. “And I think AI is the next big technology front that we're starting to get into.”
He embraces the potential of AI to advance remote sensing with excitement—but also a twinge of envy that scientists get to do the work now that he said he would have loved to have experienced in his research days.
Doucette also reflected about the 50-year history of EROS and how integral the Landsat Program has been to it. Landsat’s exploration of the Earth’s land surfaces from space is an American, and global, story that EROS staff can be proud to tell, Doucette said.
EROS encountered plenty of changes through the years, but one dramatic change Doucette thinks would have been fascinating to experience firsthand was the passionate debate surrounding the 2008 USGS decision to open the Landsat archive online to the world at no charge.
Hear more of Doucette’s impressions about the past and the future of EROS on “Eyes on Earth Episode 101 – EROS 50th: Director Pete Doucette Looks Ahead.”
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