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Interactive visualization of vegetation dynamics

January 1, 2001

Satellite imagery provides a mechanism for observing seasonal dynamics of the landscape that have implications for near real-time monitoring of agriculture, forest, and range resources. This study illustrates a technique for visualizing timely information on key events during the growing season (e.g., onset, peak, duration, and end of growing season), as well as the status of the current growing season with respect to the recent historical average. Using time-series analysis of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data from the advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) satellite sensor, seasonal dynamics can be derived. We have developed a set of Java-based visualization and analysis tools to make comparisons between the seasonal dynamics of the current year with those from the past twelve years. In addition, the visualization tools allow the user to query underlying databases such as land cover or administrative boundaries to analyze the seasonal dynamics of areas of their own interest. The Java-based tools (data exploration and visualization analysis or DEVA) use a Web-based client-server model for processing the data. The resulting visualization and analysis, available via the Internet, is of value to those responsible for land management decisions, resource allocation, and at-risk population targeting.