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Monitoring live vegetation in semiarid and arid rangeland environments with satellite remote sensing in northern Kenya

May 13, 2019

As part of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) commitment to provide technical assistance to the Kenyan Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the DOI International Technical Assistance Program and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s regional mission in East Africa, created a high spatial and time-sensitive live vegetation monitoring system for NRT. The system built with advanced field and sensor technologies produced directly calibrated and highly accurate satellite mapping that is extendable both forward and backward in time. The maps are produced in a simple 0–100-percent representation of live vegetation status and change over time. The backbone of the mapping is the Sentinel satellite remote sensing systems with 5-day collection frequencies and ground spatial resolutions of 10 meters. The European Space Agency (ESA) offers free Sentinel satellite image data through conveniently accessed websites and free user-friendly image processing software downloadable directly onto a personal workstation. ESA provides free online software support. The mapping capability was extended from the forward mapping of Sentinel back in time with the Landsat satellite remote sensing system that has an available and free data archive back to 1983. Although Landsat has coarser spatial resolution, the Landsat to Sentinel live vegetation mapping comparison supports the use of Landsat to provide NRT the historical recreation of prominent live vegetation changes.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title Monitoring live vegetation in semiarid and arid rangeland environments with satellite remote sensing in northern Kenya
DOI 10.3133/ofr20191037
Authors Amina Rangoonwala, Elijah W. Ramsey III
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2019-1037
Index ID ofr20191037
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center