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Social scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Fort Collins Science Center – in collaboration with the USGS National Land Imaging Program – conduct Earth observation user case studies using qualitative research methods. Using standard scientific methods, they are better able to understand the variety of Earth observation users, including how they use and value Earth observation data. This graphic illustration guides you through an Earth observation user case study and provides the in-depth user experience of Nikki Tulley – one example of an Earth observation user. Nikki is from the community of Blue Gap, Arizona within the Navajo Nation and grew up speaking Navajo, Spanish, and English. The Navajo Nation is located on 27,000 square miles within the Four Sacred Mountains. Nikki first learned about Landsat in her remote sensing classes and learned to speak another language, the Language of Landsat. For her Ph.D., Nikki began work with NASA’s Western Water Applications Office drought severity evaluation tool. In this project, she uses Landsat and other remote sensing technology to help the Navajo Nation in capacity development, training, and building trust of remote sensing data. This supports their drought water resources management decision making process. Landsat is a joint USGS/NASA Program that provides the longest continuous space-based record of Earth’s land surface. Every day, Landsat satellites provide essential information to help land managers and policy makers make decisions about resources and the environment.
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