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Landsat Science Teams

Led by USGS and NASA Landsat Project Scientists, Landsat Science Teams consist of USGS and NASA scientists and engineers, external scientists, engineers, and application specialists, representing industry and university research initiatives. The Science Teams are tasked with providing scientific and technical evaluations to the USGS and NASA to ensure the continued success of the Landsat program.

Landsat Science Team Responsibilities

The overall responsibility of the Landsat Science Team is to offer informed advice and recommendations to the USGS and other partners on topics that will affect the overall success of the Landsat missions.

The Team members must be knowledgeable on topics related to more effective use of archived data from Landsat sensors and on the requirements for future sensors needed to address the needs of scientists and other users of Landsat-type data.

Although the panel's role is advisory, Landsat Science Team members address many specific objectives:

  • Represent the breadth of user perspectives and requirements on issues related to product formats and product generation issues
  • Advocate for user needs
  • Provide science-based feedback on critical design issues, including instrument and data systems
  • Contribute to the specification and design of the data acquisition strategy and data access systems
  • Consider interoperability of Landsat with other systems
  • Conduct experiments on science and applications elements of the Landsat program; each PI must be involved in research that relates to the capabilities of the Landsat mission
  • Provide insights on long-term issues (e.g., future missions)
  • Participate in representation tasks (e.g., provide data for demos or presentations and represent mission in selected forums including scientific meetings)

The Landsat Science Team generally meets two times each year, or more frequently if issues arise that require additional direct dialog. During these meetings, Landsat Science Team members present their research that is relevant to the meeting topics, and are briefed by USGS and NASA staff on mission and program status. Landsat Science Team members are expected to broadly share results of their Landsat research and facilitate technical exchange with the Landsat user community. All presentation materials are available on the web soon after the completion of each meeting.

Landsat Science Team members are tasked to provide scientific and technical evaluations on topics that are deemed important across the Landsat user community, for example: 

Data Characterization

  • Assessment of radiometric and geometric characteristics and performance of new remote sensing instruments
  • Cross-comparisons of Landsat and other remote sensing instruments
  • Methods and techniques for the merging and integration of Landsat data with measurements collected by other land imaging satellite instruments

Landsat Science Data Products

  • Requirements, strategies, algorithms and approaches for developing Landsat Science products
  • Defining new innovative Landsat standard and derived products

Data Applications

  • Advanced methods or strategies for multi-decadal and large-area land change assessments
  • New applications and research capabilities resulting from the Landsat free data policy
  • Value of Landsat for addressing societal issues

Measures of Success

The success of Landsat missions are marked by the complete integration of newly acquired data with past and present remotely sensed data for the purpose of observing and monitoring global environmental systems. Specific Landsat Science Team measures of success include:

  • Clarity and innovativeness of scientific research conducted on topics relevant to the Landsat project
  • Productivity and originality of the sponsored science as measured through publications, cited works, and new applications
  • Enhanced science, applications, and engineering capabilities
  • Community contributions to, and acceptance of, future Landsat mission plans
  • Visibility brought to the Landsat Program in a wide range of science and applications forums

These measures provide direct benefits to the DOI, USGS, and NASA as they plan for and implement future missions, and continue to improve the relevance of all archived Landsat data.