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June 12, 2019 - Landsat Science Team Member Feng Gao Wins 2018 Arthur S. Flemming Award

Dr. Feng Gao, Research Physical Scientist from the Agricultural Research Service/US Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland has won a 2018 Arthur S. Flemming Award for Applied Science and Engineering in recognition of his original research in the application of remote sensing for crop and vegetation monitoring.

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Feng Gao

Gao was recognized for his outstanding work in the use of satellite imagery data to facilitate field-scale monitoring of crop and pasture conditions, water use and fluctuations in the balance of radiative energy resulting from land cover changes.

Gao is internationally recognized for his expertise in integrating data from different satellite remote sensing systems and overcoming drawbacks inherent to using them individually to produce high-resolution images and other useful data products. For example, his development of an algorithm for combining imagery from the Landsat/Sentinel-2 and MODIS/VIIRS systems into a single product enabled daily views of the Earth’s surface and the creation of vegetative indices. The indices, in turn, have helped improve monitoring of crop conditions and yield at a spatial resolution of 30 meters (the equivalent of a single pixel representing an area of ground 30 meters across).

In addition to the algorithm, known as STARFM, Gao developed a useful program known as the Data Mining Sharpening (DMS) tool. Together, STARFM and DMS have allowed for the creation of field-scale maps of water use as part of the GRAPEX project in collaboration with the Ernest and Julio Gallo Winery in Modesto, California. The aim is to explore satellite-assisted timing of irrigation for optimal grape yield and quality. The impact of Gao’s work is international in scope and includes close collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S. Geological Survey and other partners.

Dr. Feng Gao is a member of the 2018-2023 Landsat Science Team, who provide technical and scientific input to the USGS and NASA on issues critical to the success of the joint agency Landsat program. 

For more about the Arthur S. Flemming Awards visit