Image of the Week: Aerial Photos of an Image Archive
The home of the Landsat satellite archive is surrounded by corn and soybean fields. The archive is kept at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (EROS) located near Sioux Falls, South Dakota. EROS is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The vast archive at EROS also includes aerial photography. A 1958 image shows the farmland before EROS was built. A 1976 photo shot during a flyover shows the center, entrance and exit roads, and a parking lot. A water tower and wastewater ponds supported the large amount of photo and film processing needed for the earliest remotely sensed imagery.
A 1979 photo captured the clearing of land north of the building for the installation of a solar panel array, which heated water for photo processing. The project was completed the following year.
In 1990, a second antenna was added in front of the building. It still functions today as backup reception for NOAA's weather satellites. The first antenna was Domsat, which received Landsat data directly from Goddard Space Flight Center.
1994 reveals the start of construction on the building addition, which was completed in 1996. The Domsat antenna has been removed.
The next year, a 10-meter antenna was placed east of the building for reception of data from the upcoming Landsat 7. This photo, however, was taken shortly after baseball-sized hail damaged it. That storm also destroyed the solar panels. The antenna was replaced in time to receive data from Landsat 7. The addition of a radome makes it appear even more prominently in the 2002 photo. A 5.4 meter back up antenna was added a short time later.
A 2022 image brings us up to date on the history of this half-section of land housing the USGS remotely sensed image archive that supports studies of land change over time. It can even take us back to the past for documenting change.