LCMAP: Revolutionizing Remote Sensing

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Detailed Description

Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) - A new way of presenting where, how and why land change has occurred.


Date Taken:

Length: 00:03:22

Location Taken: Sioux Falls, SD, US


What we are trying to do through
LCMAP is to modernize and integrate

our center-wide capabilities in
collecting satellite imagery,

and processing and interpreting
them to provide definitive

information on how the planet
is changing, why it’s changing

and where it’s changing.

The elevator pitch for LCMAP almost
sounds simple. Figure out how,

why and where the planet is changing.
But studying land change is a

really big job. Think of all the
factors that influence how landscapes

worldwide change decade to decade,
year to year, even day to day.

For decades, scientists would study
land change by comparing satellite

observations… of a small area…
at an interval of every 5-7 years.

What we were finding is that with
those course epics or intervals of

our mapping, we’re really not capturing
the real dynamics of the country.

So, with LCMAP what we’re trying to do
is to move to a continuous mapping

process where we can detect the
changes going on at a local level,

and we can translate that into near
real time information that can be

used by resource managers to understand
what’s happening on the areas

that they have responsibility.

The first step is to work back through
the archive of satellite observations

and create a product that looks the
same no matter when or what satellite

took the image. Making sure that
readings, observations and coordinates

line up through all the data. This
product is called “analysis ready data.”

We’re going to be enabling scientists
and other users to really be able to

specify a geographic and temporal
interval from which they can really

extract a cube of data, it’s all been
processed, now they can do their

analysis on it. I think that is
the big revolutionary step.

With standardized data, LCMAP’s next
task is to process and determine land

types. With advanced algorithms,
LCMAP’s team of scientists and

software engineers classify the
land into categories that can be

tracked through time. LCMAP can
watch fields change, cities grow,

and lakes dry and expand. Areas
that change quickly are flagged

so that scientists can take a closer
look and figure out what’s happening.

I don’t know if we’ve really got a
precedent for this in science, of

what we’re trying to achieve. It’s a
complex project, it’s really exciting

for the potential in it, and to see
the enthusiasm and the energy of the

people working on the project is
really exciting and keeps me pumped up,

and the idea that it’s an opportunity
to really innovate is what’s

got everybody excited.

LCMAP is the accumulation of a lot of
things that have happened over the

last 10 years. That have enabled new
thinking, and bold steps.

That is really kind of an exciting
thing. We’ve never envisioned before

that we could look at every cloud
free observation and translate that

into meaningful information that
immediately can be used.