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Landsat yesterday and today: An American vision and an old challenge

January 1, 2004

Since the late 1960s, the United States government has invested more than $1 billion in designing, launching, and operating the Landsat (land satellite) series of Earth-observing satellites. Global change researchers, geologists, and environmental scientists have used images gathered by the satellites for purposes ranging from human health research, energy exploration, and pollution detection to agricultural assessments, urban growth monitoring, and earthquake lineament studies. The earliest data were captured on a digital medium called wide-band video tape (WBVT). However, two decades of unsound media storage conditions and a poorly maintained processing system have left the physically deteriorating WBVTs with no mechanism for interpretation. A national treasure was in jeopardy. With seed money from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began a project to rescue the data. More than 21,000 tapes from the 1970s have been transcribed to stable, archival media, preserving the data for future studies in Earth System Science.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2004
Title Landsat yesterday and today: An American vision and an old challenge
DOI 10.1300/J230v01n01_04
Authors John Faundeen, Darrel L. Williams, Cheryl A. Greenhagen
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Map & Geography Libraries
Series Number
Index ID 70046982
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center

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