Earth Resources Observation and Science Center

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The Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center's mission is to document and analyze changes to the Earth’s land areas, across our nation and around the world. To study land change, EROS researchers utilize a vast database of images of the Earth’s surface, including those acquired by Landsat satellites.

Explore EROS

Science at EROS

Science at EROS

EROS scientists use Landsat satellite imagery and other earth-observation data to study land change through time and to assess the impacts of land change regionally, nationally, and globally.

EROS Science

Remote Sensing

Remote Sensing

EROS maintains the largest, continuous, civilian record of the Earth's land areas in the form of satellite images and other types of remotely sensed data that are fundamental to land change research. We acquire thousands of new images every day.

Imagery & More

Find Data

Find Data

Millions of satellite images, aerial photos, and other types of remotely sensed data of the Earth's land areas are available from EROS--easy to search for and download with user-friendly tools. Most are available free of charge.

Data & Tools

News

Date published: September 10, 2018

Loveland Enters South Dakota Hall of Fame

Tom Loveland, the recently retired chief scientist at the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, was inducted Sept. 7-8, 2018, into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in Chamberlain, SD, for his career and work in remote sensing.

Date published: August 22, 2018

Staff Shares EROS Story, Sharpens Communication Skills Through OLLI

When they step out of their science or engineering realms, staff members at the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center near Sioux Falls, SD, often tell a different story about the work they do.

In many ways, a more interesting story.

Date published: August 16, 2018

Landsat Adds Value, Reliability to Cubesat Imagery

Over the past five years, private companies have launched hundreds of shoebox-sized Earth observation “cubesat” satellites into space with promises of high-resolution daily imagery.

The rapid emergence of smallsats begs the question: What role does a legacy satellite like Landsat play in the development and use of these relatively inexpensive orbiters?

Since 1972, EROS has become synonymous with remotely sensed imagery of the Earth's land areas, cutting-edge research as to how landscapes are changing over time, and analyses of the impacts land change is having on both the planet and its people.

EROS Land Change Research & Applications
Filter Total Items: 8
Date published: July 31, 2018
Status: Active

Remote Sensing Phenology

Phenology is the study of plant and animal life cycles in relation to the seasons. EROS maintains a set of nine annual phenological metrics for the conterminous United States, all curated from satellite data. Taken together, the metrics represent a powerful tool for documenting life cycle trends and the impacts of climate change on ecosystems.

Contacts: Jesslyn Brown
Date published: February 1, 2018

2018 William T. Pecora Award: Nominations being accepted through June 15, 2018

The William T. Pecora Award is presented annually to individuals or groups that have made outstanding contributions toward understanding the Earth by means of remote sensing. Nominations for the 2018 award must be received by June 15, 2018.

Date published: March 22, 2017

Pecora 20 Remote Sensing Symposium, Call for Abstracts and Award Nominations

The 20th William T. Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium, with the theme “Observing a Changing Earth: Science for Decisions…Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection,” will be held November 14-16, 2017, in Sioux Falls, SD. The deadline for submitting abstracts and nominations for the William T. Pecora Award is June 1, 2017.

Date published: April 15, 2016

Climate Change

Ever-increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases have led to a rise in the Earth’s average surface temperature, which in turn is driving climate change on local, regional, and global scales. At EROS, we are working to better understand the impact of a changing climate on ecological systems, natural resources, coastlines, biogeochemical cycles, and human activities.

Date published: April 15, 2016

Landscape Dynamics

How do changes in land cover and land use affect agriculture, ecosystems, wildlife, resources, and human communities in the U.S. and around the world? Scientists with the EROS Landscape Dynamics project use satellite imagery and other types of data to answer those and many more questions about land change and its impacts.

Date published: April 15, 2016

Hazards & Disasters

Earthquakes. Famines. Floods. Volcanic eruptions. Sound science is key to assessing, preparing for, and mitigating these and other hazards. EROS provides satellite imagery and other essential remotely sensed data for monitoring drought and wildfire risks, forecasting floods and famines, aiding in disaster relief, and studying threats to human health.

Date published: April 13, 2016

Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence

The Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence is a research and educational collaboration between USGS EROS and South Dakota State University that develops and applies geospatial technologies such as remote sensing, modeling, and geographic information systems to monitor and analyze land change.

Date published: April 13, 2016

International Activities

In countries around the world, EROS trains scientists, engineers, and land managers in the use of remotely sensed data, and collaborates on projects focused on sustainable development, natural resource management, land cover change, flood monitoring, and early warning systems for drought, famine, and infectious disease.

EROS offers a unique source of satellite imagery and other remotely sensed data of the Earth's land areas. These data are used by scientists, resource managers, urban planners, and many others worldwide to study land change and its impacts on natural systems and human endeavors.

Explore and Access Our Data
Filter Total Items: 15
Date published: July 3, 2018

EarthExplorer Bulk Download Application

The Bulk Download Application is an easy-to-use tool for downloading large quantities of satellite imagery and geospatial data.

Once scenes are added to a Bulk Order via Earth Explorer, the Bulk Download Application can be used to automatically retrieve them with little to no user interaction.

Date published: July 3, 2018

EarthExplorer Scene List Upload

The File List Ordering Tool allows text file, metadata export, and scene list uploads for more effective downloading and/or ordering for all datasets visible on EarthExplorer.  User login required.

Date published: June 6, 2018

Remote Sensing Memory Game

In this interactive matching game developed by USGS and AmericaView, you’ll compare satellite images that show land cover change at various locations around the world. The goal is to find all the matching pairs of images in the shortest amount of time. 

Date published: June 6, 2018

Landsat State Mosaic Puzzle Game

How well do you know your state? Find out by completing the puzzle! Once you master your state, you can choose another state or try one of our other images. Click here to play.

Date published: May 15, 2018

CoNED Project Viewer

The Coastal National Elevation Database (CoNED) Project Viewer is a portal to the topobathymetric models created with the expertise of the expertise of the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center near Sioux Falls, SD. 

Date published: May 9, 2018

EarthNow! Landsat Image Viewer

The EarthNow! Landsat Image Viewer displays imagery in near real-time as Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 orbit the Earth. Along with the near real-time video stream, EarthNow! also replays acquisition recordings from a list of previous Landsat overpasses. When Landsat 7 or Landsat 8 are out of viewing range of a ground station, the most recent overpass is displayed.

Date published: May 9, 2018

EarthExplorer

Use EarthExplorer to find and download images from the entire series of Landsat satellites, Sentinel 2, ASTER, MODIS and other LP DAAC archive products. EarthExplorer is also a portal to aerial photography, point cloud data, phenology and land cover mapping tools and more.

Date published: July 18, 2017

GloVis

The USGS Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis) is an online search and order tool for selected remote sensing data.  

Date published: April 27, 2016

EarthExplorer

The EarthExplorer (EE) tool provides users the ability to query, search, and order satellite images, aerial photographs, and cartographic products. In addition to data from the Landsat missions, EE provides access to MODIS land data products from the NASA Terra and Aqua missions, and ASTER level-1B data products over the U.S. and and Territories from the NASA ASTER mission.

Date published: April 18, 2016

Find and Access Data at EROS

The EROS data archive contains a vast array of satellite imagery, aerial photos, digitized maps, elevation and land cover products, and much more. Most are easily downloadable via the internet.

Date published: March 30, 2016

Hazards Data Distribution System (HDDS) Explorer

The Hazards Data Distribution System (HDDSExplorer) is an event-based interface that provides a single point-of-entry for access to remotely sensed imagery and other geospatial datasets as they become available during a response.

Date published: March 21, 2016

Digital Globe

High-resolution GeoEye, QuickBird and WorldView image catalog.

Filter Total Items: 1,686
Year Published: 2018

U.S. Landsat Analysis Ready Data

U.S. Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD) are a revolutionary new U.S. Geological Survey science product that allows the Landsat archive to be more accessible and easier to analyze and reduces the amount of time users spend on data processing for monitoring and assessing landscape change. U.S. Landsat ARD are Level-2 products derived from...

U.S. Geological Survey, 2018, U.S. Landsat Analysis Ready Data: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018–3053, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183053.

Year Published: 2018

Landsat Collections

In 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey reorganized the Landsat archive into a tiered collection structure, which ensures that Landsat Level-1 products provide a consistent archive of known data quality to support time-series analyses and data “stacking” while controlling continuous improvement of the archive and access to all data as they are...

U.S. Geological Survey, 2018, Landsat collections: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018–3049, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183049.

Year Published: 2018

Quantifying variance across spatial scales as part of fire regime classifications

The emergence of large‐scale fire classifications and products informed by remote sensing data has enabled opportunities to include variability or heterogeneity as part of modern fire regime classifications. Currently, basic fire metrics such as mean fire return intervals are calculated without considering spatial variance in a management context...

Rheinhardt, Scholtz; Fuhlendorf, Samuel D.; Leis, Sherry A.; Picotte, Joshua J.; Twidwell, Dirac
Scholtz, R., S. D. Fuhlendorf, S. A. Leis, J. J. Picotte, and D. Twidwell. 2018. Quantifying variance across spatial scales as part of fire regime classifications. Ecosphere 9(7):e02343. 10.1002/ecs2.2343

Year Published: 2018

Coastal National Elevation Database

The Coastal National Elevation Database (CoNED) Applications Project develops enhanced topographic (land elevation) and bathymetric (water depth) datasets that serve as valuable resources for coastal hazards research (Danielson and others, 2016; Thatcher and others, 2016). These datasets are used widely for mapping inundation zones from riverine...

Danielson, Jeffrey J.; Poppenga, Sandra K.; Tyler, Dean J.; Palaseanu-Lovejoy, Monica; Gesch, Dean B.
Danielson, J.J., Poppenga, S.K., Tyler, D.J., Palaseanu-Lovejoy, M., and Gesch, D.B., 2018, Coastal National Elevation Database: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018–3037, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/2018.

Year Published: 2018

Rapid crop cover mapping for the conterminous United States

Timely crop cover maps with sufficient resolution are important components to various environmental planning and research applications. Through the modification and use of a previously developed crop classification model (CCM), which was originally developed to generate historical annual crop cover maps, we hypothesized that such crop cover maps...

Dahal, Devendra; Wylie, Bruce K.; Howard, Daniel
Dahal, D., Wylie, B. & Howard, D. Rapid Crop Cover Mapping for the Conterminous United States. Sci Rep 8, 8631, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-26284-w (2018).

Year Published: 2018

National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Archive

The National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Archive is managed on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earth Resources Observation and Science Center. The Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 (51 U.S.C. §601) directed the U.S. Department of the Interior to establish a permanent global archive consisting of...

Faundeen, John L.; Longhenry, Ryan
Faundeen, J.L., and Longhenry, R., 2018, National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Archive: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018–3027, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183027. [Supersedes USGS Fact Sheet 2013–3100.]

Year Published: 2018

U.S. Geological Survey science for the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative—2016 annual report

This is the ninth annual report highlighting U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) science and decision-support activities conducted for the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI). The activities address specific management needs identified by WLCI partner agencies. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, there were 26 active USGS WLCI science-based projects...

Bowen, Zachary H.; Aikens, Ellen; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Anderson, Patrick J.; Assal, Timothy J.; Chalfoun, Anna D.; Chong, Geneva W.; Eddy-Miller, Cheryl; Garman, Steven L.; Germaine, Stephen S.; Homer, Collin G.; Johnston, Aaron; Kauffman, Matthew J.; Manier, Daniel J.; Melcher, Cynthia P.; Miller, Kirk A.; Walters, Annika W.; Wheeler, Jerrod D.; Wieferich, Daniel; Wilson, Anna B.; Wyckoff, Teal B.; Zeigenfuss, Linda C.
Bowen, Z.H., Aikens, E., Aldridge, C.L., Anderson, P.J., Assal, T.J., Chalfoun, A.D., Chong, G.W., Eddy-Miller, C.A., Garman, S.L., Germaine, S.S., Homer, C.G., Johnston, A., Kauffman, M.J., Manier, D.J., Melcher, C.P., Miller, K.A., Walters, A.W., Wheeler, J.D., Wieferich, D., Wilson, A.B., Wyckoff, T.B., and Zeigenfuss, L.C., 2018, U.S. Geological Survey science for the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative—2016 annual report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1048, 49 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181048.

Year Published: 2018

Fusing MODIS with Landsat 8 data to downscale weekly normalized difference vegetation index estimates for central Great Basin rangelands, USA

Data fused from distinct but complementary satellite sensors mitigate tradeoffs that researchers make when selecting between spatial and temporal resolutions of remotely sensed data. We integrated data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor aboard the Terra satellite and the Operational Land Imager sensor aboard the...

Boyte, Stephen; Wylie, Bruce K.; Rigge, Matthew B.; Dahal, Devendra
Boyte, Stephen P., Bruce K. Wylie, Matthew B. Rigge, Devendra Dahal. 2018. Fusing MODIS with Landsat 8 data to downscale weekly normalized vegetation index estimates for central Great Basin rangelands, USA. GIScience & Remote Sensing 55:376-399.

Year Published: 2018

Case Study Comparing Multiple Irrigated Land Datasets in Arizona and Colorado, USA

While there are currently a number of irrigated land datasets available for the western United States (U.S.), there is uncertainty regarding in how they relate to each other. To help understand the characteristics of available irrigated datasets, we compared (1) the Cropland Data Layer (CDL), (2) Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer...

Shi, Hua; Auch, Roger F.; Vogelmann, James E.; Feng, Min; Rigge, Matthew B.; Senay, Gabriel B.; Verdin, James P.

Year Published: 2018

Challenges in complementing data from ground-based sensors with satellite-derived products to measure ecological changes in relation to climate – lessons from temperate wetland-upland landscapes

Assessing climate-related ecological changes across spatiotemporal scales meaningful to resource managers is challenging because no one method reliably produces essential data at both fine and broad scales. We recently confronted such challenges while integrating data from ground- and satellite-based sensors for an assessment of four wetland-rich...

Gallant, Alisa L.; Sadinski, Walter J.; Brown, Jesslyn F.; Senay, Gabriel B.; Roth, Mark F.
Gallant, A.L., Sadinski, W., Brown, J.F., Senay, G.B., Roth, M.R., Submitted, Challenges in complementing data from ground-based sensors with satellite-derived products to measure ecological changes in relation to climate – lessons from temperate wetland-upland landscapes: Sensors.

Year Published: 2018

2017 Landsat Science Team Summer Meeting Summary

The summer meeting of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)-NASA Landsat Science Team (LST) was held June 11-13, 2017, at the USGS’s Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center near Sioux Falls, SD. This was the final meeting of the Second (2012-2017) LST.1 Frank Kelly [EROS—Center Director] welcomed the attendees and expressed his thanks to...

Crawford, Christopher J.; Loveland, Thomas R.; Wulder, Michael A.; Irons, James R.
Crawford, C.J., T.R. Loveland, M.A. Wulder, and J.R. Irons (2018). 2017 Landsat Science Team Summer Meeting Summary 30(1): 21-25.

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Date published: May 8, 2018

Tracking Change Over Time

The Earth Resources Observation and Science Center offers educational resources designed for elementary- and middle-school students. The U.S. Geological Survey offers more options through its science education resource page.

Filter Total Items: 205
Map of AK showing probability of change occurrence
December 31, 2018

Map of AK showing probability of change occurrence

Map of Alaska showing probability (%) of change occurrence. Insets show fire boundaries from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Large Fire Database and Landsat 8 imagery (bottom right; 2016) north of Fairbanks, Alaska.

September 7, 2018

Image of the Week - Lake Thompson

Many lakes in South Dakota’s Prairie Pothole Region are expanding. 

Lake Thompson in eastern South Dakota is one that has displayed remarkable change in recent decades.

Each week, the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center highlights a new satellite image(s) featuring striking changes in the Earth's surface. Our images come from locations

...
August 29, 2018

Image of the Week - Burning Man

Every year, tens of thousands of people descend upon an unforgiving windswept playa in northwestern Nevada to build a city.

Within months, the city is gone.

Burning Man is named for the wooden effigy set ablaze at the end of the weeklong celebration in the temporary metropolis of Black Rock City.

It all happens on an ancient alkali flat nestled between

...
August 21, 2018

Image of the Week - One Year Ago: Eclipse Darkens Nebraska

A total solar eclipse darkened the skies over the United States on Aug. 21, 2017.

Fourteen states were in the path of totality, a 70-mile-wide band under which the moon fully blocked the sun for just under three minutes.

Oshkosh, a town in the Nebraska Sandhills was a prime location for viewing the eclipse. This Landsat 7 image shows the town at 11:33 a.m.

...
August 20, 2018

AppEEARS

This short video provides a quick look at the Application for Extracting and Exploring Analysis Ready Samples (AppEEARS). AppEEARS provides a simple and efficient way to subset, transform, and visualize geospatial data distributed from a variety of federal archives. AppEEARS can be accessed by visiting https

...
August 14, 2018

Image of the Week - Mendocino Fire

Landsat 8 captured satellite views of California’s largest wildfire on record in the summer of 2018. The Mendocino Complex Fire in northern California is a combination of two fires: the Ranch Fire and the River Fire. 

Both fires started July 27, and hot, dry, windy conditions caused them to spread rapidly. Landsat 8 imaged the area the day before the fires broke out

...
August 7, 2018

Image of the Week - 8 Million Landsat Scenes!

The Landsat archive has added its 8 millionth scene. 

This stunning image was captured by Landsat 8 on July 28, 2018. It shows the coastline of Nordaustlandet, the second-largest island in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago.

Most of the island is covered by massive white ice caps. The exposed rocky coast appears in reddish brown, peppered with blue and black lakes

...
July 26, 2018

Image of the Week - RBV and Alaska Glaciers

Landsat sensor technology has come a long way since the days of the Return Beam Vidicon cameras on the first three Landsat satellites. Known as the RBV, it wasoriginally intended to be the satellites’ primary sensor. But the Multispectral
Scanner, or MSS, became the more stable and superior instrument.

Each week, the Earth Resources Observation and Science (

...
July 23, 2018

Image of the Week - Deadly Mudslides in Japan

Torrential rainfall swamped western Japan in July of 2018. The rain caused mudslides that flooded cities, damaged buildings and rattled the
nation’s infrastructure. More than 170 people died.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land

...
June 30, 2018

Daily Operations of Landsat 7

What it takes each day to keep Landsat 7 operating smoothly. Hear the stories from inside the L7 Mission Operation Center.
 

May 24, 2018

Image of the Week - Patel Dam Tragedy in Kenya

High rainfall totals in Kenya have caused the collapse of the Patel Dam, leading to destruction and loss of life downstream.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (

...
May 24, 2018

Landsat in Action - Google's Earth Engine with Noel Gorelick

Google's Noel Gorelick talks about the value of Landsat data in the Earth Engine project.

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Date published: September 10, 2018

Loveland Enters South Dakota Hall of Fame

Tom Loveland, the recently retired chief scientist at the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, was inducted Sept. 7-8, 2018, into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in Chamberlain, SD, for his career and work in remote sensing.

Date published: August 22, 2018

Staff Shares EROS Story, Sharpens Communication Skills Through OLLI

When they step out of their science or engineering realms, staff members at the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center near Sioux Falls, SD, often tell a different story about the work they do.

In many ways, a more interesting story.

Date published: August 16, 2018

Landsat Adds Value, Reliability to Cubesat Imagery

Over the past five years, private companies have launched hundreds of shoebox-sized Earth observation “cubesat” satellites into space with promises of high-resolution daily imagery.

The rapid emergence of smallsats begs the question: What role does a legacy satellite like Landsat play in the development and use of these relatively inexpensive orbiters?

Date published: August 14, 2018

Unique Mapping Tool Brings Unprecedented Look at Land Cover Change in West Africa

They say there are forests in West Africa where spirits abide. Where people walk among woodland burial grounds and speak to the dead. Where life plays out from beginning to end.

Date published: July 20, 2018

Scientists Use Satellite, Climate Data to Forecast West Nile Risk in South Dakota

The South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) wants to break the model scientists made for it, which might seem an odd goal until one considers the context.

Date published: July 5, 2018

A Testimonial for Analysis Ready Data

Jim Vogelmann discovered something interesting about Analysis Ready Data (ARD) these last few months as he and his colleagues worked on finding a better way to quantify fire risk in the Great Basin of the western United States.

ARD, Vogelmann learned, works really well.

Date published: June 27, 2018

EROS Evapotranspiration Model Key Part of Upper Rio Grande Basin Study

Kyle Douglas-Mankin wants to know where the raindrops go when they fall on the arid and semi-arid landscapes of the Upper Rio Grande Basin.

Date published: June 15, 2018

Landsat 7 Flight Operations Transition to New Home Now Complete

Life in satellite flight operations is busy enough without the disruption of uprooting and moving an entire Mission Operations Center (MOC). Yet that’s been the reality for the Landsat 7 MOC as it transitioned this spring into a new address at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.

Date published: June 12, 2018

Landsat, Sentinel Harmony Effort Shows Promising Results in Great Basin

The advent of remote sensing was a boon to the ancient science of phenology.

Satellite data offered a global view of nature’s seasonal life cycles that historical tabulators of budding trees and buzzing bees could scarcely imagine.

From the start, however, remotely sensed phenology has come with caveats.

Date published: June 11, 2018

USGS Hosting Constellation Mission Operations Working Group in Sioux Falls

It sounds like a kind of science-fiction fantasy—space trains chugging along on orbital tracks 705 kilometers above the Earth.

In fact, they are real—in a manner of speaking.

Date published: June 6, 2018

EROS Burn Mapping Crucial in Post-Fire Risk Assessments

It began with a tree falling onto a power line.

There were sparks, then very quickly a wilderness ablaze. In its first 13 hours, the Las Conchas Fire that erupted just west of Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico on June 26, 2011, spread at an acre per second. By the time the last embers died weeks later, it had grown into what then was the largest wildfire in New Mexico history....

Date published: May 16, 2018

2017 CEOS Chair Team Led by USGS EROS Given Unit Award for Excellence of Service

EROS team earns top honor from Department of Interior for work with international body.