Landsat in Action - Advocating for Landsat with Kass Green

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Detailed Description

Kass Green talks about the role Landsat plays to help create high resolution maps, the benefits of the archive at EROS and the value of Landsat imagery to agencies throughout the government.


Image Dimensions: 1280 x 720

Date Taken:

Length: 00:03:46

Location Taken: Sioux Falls, SD, US

Video Credits

Producer: Steve Young


I'm Kass Green and I'm
president of Kass Green

and Associates and I do
consulting on remote sensing

policy and also mapping

Usually we've been classifying
Landsat imagery just pixel

by pixel. Which was fine at
the moderate resolution

of Landsat imagery. When
you start getting the high

resolution imagery, there's
lots of noise. So it's really

wonderful to work with
a 6 inch pixel, when I've

got airborne imagery, but
then I've got pixels of

the bright side of the trees
and pixels of the dark side

of the trees and pixels in
between the trees.

So we moved to object 
oriented classification and

what that means is you have
an algorithm that draws

circles around the pixels or
polygons around the pixels

and then you classify that
polygon instead of the

individual pixels. You know
the bad side of that is the

high resolution imagery is
always spectrally limited.

It doesn't have the mid
infrared it doesn't have

the thermal, it's also really
expensive so you don't

get multi temporal imagery.
Landsat, it's every 16 days

So what we do now is we
take the objects and we

intersect them with the Landsat
data. So we've got the high

resolution spectral response,
then we get the Landsat

spectral response, and then
we put multi temporal

Landsat data in there. So
bringing those together

is really powerful. I've been
making high resolution

maps for probably over 10
years now. Every single

project, when you look at
the important variables,

Landsat's still one of the
top 10 variables.

EROS is doing an incredible
job with the archive.

To see what it was like in
the beginning and how it

has changed now, it's so
much bigger for one, 

They got those old MSS
tapes, got all the archives

in all the different countries,
so we have a worldwide

archive. I mean, EROS' archive
not just Landsat, EROS'

archive with all the different
imagery is really impressive

and it's the only place in the
world that you can get those

kind of data, because that's
where it all lives.

As part of the Landsat advisory
group we did a study where

we looked at what would
be the cost of losing

Landsat data and we looked
at 16 different programs

and I think we came up with
a figure of $1.8 billion

dollars a year if Landsat
wasn't there, so these were

mostly government programs
that are doing their work and

we asked them if you didn't
have Landsat how much would

it cost you every year to do
what you're doing.

And some groups came back
and said we couldn't do what

we're doing. It's more valuable
now because it's free and open.

So organizations can rely on
it. They can rely on it being

there. I think Landsat's
healthier now as a program

than it's ever been and that is
because it's so widely used.

I've been involved in
promoting Landsat since

the early 1990s and I was
involved in the 1992 act 

that brought Landsat back
to the government. Landsat

made my career, so I feel
like I owe a lot back to

Landsat. So I speak about it
every chance I can.

From lobbying to giving
interviews, anything I can 

do to promote Landsat,
because I think it's a

critical earth resource.

It's that 44 years of
continuity, all those pictures

of the earth and the high
quality, the high calibrated

imagery across the whole
spectrum. We just don't have

anything else like that. It's
the record of what we're doing

to the world, of natural hazards,
natural disasters, we keep

 We keep making more people,
we're not making any more

land. That means that resources
are more and more valuable.

And Landsat helps us both
inventory these resources

and monitor change over time.
And as those resources continue

to get more and more valuable,
we desperately need a

Landsat type system that
monitors our resources.