- His seminal work on scaling and geostatistics during the 1980s continues to influence the way we understand remotely sensed imagery.
- His work on land cover mapping “best practices” in the 2000s unified a scattered academic community.
- His research through more than three decades—including recent work on error analysis, cloud detection, and land cover change detection in dense time series of Landsat imagery—has effectively changed the basic understanding of remote sensing science.
- As a leader on the Landsat Science Team, he has played a key role in opening and expanding the Landsat archive, and has provided guidance for the USGS initiative to modernize Landsat-scale global land monitoring.
"Curtis represents the best in remote sensing research, education, and public service,” USGS Scientist Tom Loveland said. “While the impact of his research is well-known, his leadership within the remote sensing community is equally significant.
“For example, for the past 10 years, he has unselfishly provided critical guidance and vision for the U.S. Geological Survey Landsat program, and he is rolling up his sleeves and working directly with EROS staff to develop global land monitoring capabilities."
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), a joint venture between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, also was honored with a Pecora award for its work in paving the way for the next generation of satellite precipitation observations
The Pecora Award has been presented annually since 1974 to recognize outstanding contributions of individuals and groups toward the understanding of Earth through remote sensing. The award honors Dr. William T. Pecora, former Director of USGS and Under Secretary of the Interior.