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Established and proven Calibration and Validation processes are critical to ensure the quality and integrity of all earth observation data. ECCOE applies the highest standards when performing system and sensor characterization activities to a number of remote sensing systems, which include Landsat 1-8, and supporting development of Landsat 9.


ECCOE maintains the primary responsibility for radiometric and geometric characterization and calibration of the Landsat instruments and spacecrafts.  This characterization and calibration include both the ongoing operations of active missions and the retired missions associated with the Landsat archive. 

Rendering of Landsat 9

ECCOE also has supported preflight instrument and spacecraft characterization and calibration.  This includes supporting upcoming missions such as Landsat 9.

ECCOE maintains Landsat mission support data sets such as the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and Ground Control Chips (GCP) Library needed for Level-1 product generation along with calibration and characterization support sites and datasets such as Pseudo Invariant Calibration (PICS) sites and Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) bridge targets.

The image to the left is a rendering of the Landsat 9 spacecraft.




System Characterization

Lake Pontchartrain Calibration Site

ECCOE performs characterization and assessment of the quality and utility of data acquired from a broad variety of remote sensing systems. This requires an understanding the of sensors and the products generated from each, including the geometric, radiometric, and spatial performance, along with the presence of any artifacts. ECCOE also facilitates assessments of the operability and usefulness of these data in scientific and other applications. 

The Landsat 8 image to the right shows Lake Pontchartrain north of New Orleans, Louisiana.  The 24-mile Lake Pontchartrain Causeway provides a line target useful for assessing sensor spatial performance.





Lidar Scan of South Dakota Capitol Building

Lidar data and their derivative metrics are fundamental inputs to many areas of scientific research critical to the USGS and others, including hydrology, flood modeling, fault detection and geologic mapping, topographic and land-surface mapping, landslide and volcano hazards mapping and monitoring, forest canopy and habitat characterization, and coastal and fluvial erosion mapping. 

ECCOE provides system and data quality research in support of the USGS National 3D Elevation Program

The image to the left displays a Lidar scan of the South Dakota Capitol Building in Pierre, South Dakota. 








Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

UAS 3D point cloud composite image

Small, lower-cost Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are providing exciting new opportunities for gathering data essential to land management and Earth science.  Realizing the potential of these systems requires that they be able to reliably gather accurate data.  

ECCOE brings expertise in photogrammetry, radiometry, and remote sensing to support the USGS National UAS Project Office, assisting in developing standards for reliable, trustable UAS data. 

The image to the right is a 3D point cloud composite image created from UAS data.




Instrumentation Support

A portion of NOAA's SURFRAD station at EROS

ECCOE hosts 7 in-situ instrument clusters through the USGS EROS campus for agencies and partners. Each network collects key Earth surface properties necessary to the partner’s missions but can also be used to calibrate remote sensing data and ensure product validity. 

These properties include high-precision global positioning system (GPS) reference data, complete meteorological microclimate data, soil temperature and moisture data, surface solar radiation data, and carbon flux measurements. 

ECCOE also maintains and uses a suite of highly-accurate instruments and tools to provide reference data for sensor characterizations both in the laboratory and on ground-truth-gathering field campaigns.

The image to the left shows a portion of the NOAA Surface Radiation Budget (SURFRAD) station at USGS EROS gathering data on incoming solar radiation.