Mission Areas

Earth Resources Observation and Science Center

Programs L2 Landing Page

The Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center's mission is to document and analyze changes to the Earth’s land areas, across our nation and around the world. To study land change, EROS researchers utilize a vast database of images of the Earth’s surface, including those acquired by Landsat satellites.

Explore EROS

Science at EROS

Science at EROS

EROS scientists use Landsat satellite imagery and other earth-observation data to study land change through time and to assess the impacts of land change regionally, nationally, and globally.

EROS Science

Remote Sensing

Remote Sensing

EROS maintains the largest, continuous, civilian record of the Earth's land areas in the form of satellite images and other types of remotely sensed data that are fundamental to land change research. We acquire thousands of new images every day.

Imagery & More

Find Data

Find Data

Millions of satellite images, aerial photos, and other types of remotely sensed data of the Earth's land areas are available from EROS--easy to search for and download with user-friendly tools. Most are available free of charge.

Data & Tools

News

Image shows a satellite view of a volcano in Ethiopia with red lava shapes in the middle.
March 16, 2017

Our image of the week is of Ethiopia’s erupting Gateway to Hell.

Image shows a satellite view of wildfire damage in Chile
February 21, 2017

Landsat gives us a view of one of the worst wildfires in Chile's history.

Illustration of Landsat 7 in orbit
February 13, 2017

“We’re seeing the loss of forests in many places,” said Matthew Hansen, a professor at the University of Maryland. “Dynamics include increasing tropical deforestation, more frequent and severe boreal forest fires, disease in temperate forests and the commoditization of subtropical forests.”

Since 1972, EROS has become synonymous with remotely sensed imagery of the Earth's land areas, cutting-edge research as to how landscapes are changing over time, and analyses of the impacts land change is having on both the planet and its people.

EROS Land Change Research & Applications
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Pecora 20 content list thumbnail
March 22, 2017

The 20th William T. Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium, with the theme “Observing a Changing Earth: Science for Decisions…Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection,” will be held November 14-16, 2017, in Sioux Falls, SD. The deadline for submitting abstracts and nominations for the William T. Pecora Award is June 1, 2017....

A cabin along Alaska's Arctic coast was recently washed into the ocean because the bluff it was sitting on eroded away.
April 15, 2016

Ever-increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases have led to a rise in the Earth’s average surface temperature, which in turn is driving climate change on local, regional, and global scales. At EROS, we are working to better understand the impact of a changing climate on ecological systems, natural resources, coastlines, biogeochemical cycles, and human activities.

Center Pivot Western Geographic
April 15, 2016

How do changes in land cover and land use affect agriculture, ecosystems, wildlife, resources, and human communities in the U.S. and around the world? Scientists with the EROS Landscape Dynamics project use satellite imagery and other types of data to answer those and many more questions about land change and its impacts.

Littoral explosion sends incandescent lava fragments skyward at Kīlauea Volcanoʻs ocean entry, Hawaiʻi
April 15, 2016

Earthquakes. Famines. Floods. Volcanic eruptions. Sound science is key to assessing, preparing for, and mitigating these and other hazards. EROS provides satellite imagery and other essential remotely sensed data for monitoring drought and wildfire risks, forecasting floods and famines, aiding in disaster relief, and studying threats to human health.

Landsat 8, 2015, Las Vegas
April 13, 2016

The Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence is a research and educational collaboration between USGS EROS and South Dakota State University that develops and applies geospatial technologies such as remote sensing, modeling, and geographic information systems to monitor and analyze land change.

EROS scientists work with Afghans on water issues
April 13, 2016

In countries around the world, EROS trains scientists, engineers, and land managers in the use of remotely sensed data, and collaborates on projects focused on sustainable development, natural resource management, land cover change, flood monitoring, and early warning systems for drought, famine, and infectious disease.

EROS offers a unique source of satellite imagery and other remotely sensed data of the Earth's land areas. These data are used by scientists, resource managers, urban planners, and many others worldwide to study land change and its impacts on natural systems and human endeavors.

Explore and Access Our Data
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EAA4, Australia wind power, Landsat 8
April 18, 2016

Find and Access Data at EROS

The EROS data archive contains a vast array of satellite imagery, aerial photos, digitized maps, elevation and land cover products, and much more. Most are easily downloadable via the internet.

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Partitioning evapotranspiration into green and blue water sources in the conterminous United States
Year Published: 2017

Partitioning evapotranspiration into green and blue water sources in the conterminous United States

In this study, we combined two actual evapotranspiration datasets (ET), one obtained from a root zone water balance model and another from an energy balance model, to partition annual ET into green (rainfall-based) and blue (surface/groundwater) water sources. Time series maps of green water ET (GWET) and blue water ET (BWET) are produced for the...

Velpuri, Naga Manohar; Senay, Gabriel
Velpuri, N.M., and Senay, Gabriel, 2017, Partitioning Evapotranspiration into Green and Blue Water Sources in the Conterminous United States: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7BP0101.
The landscapes of West Africa—40 years of change
Year Published: 2017

The landscapes of West Africa—40 years of change

What has driven changes in land use and land cover in West Africa over the past 40 years? What trends or patterns can be discerned in those changes? To answer these questions, the U.S. Geological Survey West Africa Land Use Dynamics project partnered with the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel and the U.S. Agency for...

Cotillon, Suzanne E.
Cotillon, S.E., 2017, The landscapes of West Africa—40 years of change: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3005, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173005.
West Africa land use and land cover time series
Year Published: 2017

West Africa land use and land cover time series

Started in 1999, the West Africa Land Use Dynamics project represents an effort to map land use and land cover, characterize the trends in time and space, and understand their effects on the environment across West Africa. The outcome of the West Africa Land Use Dynamics project is the production of a three-time period (1975, 2000, and 2013) land...

Cotillon, Suzanne E.
Cotillon, S.E., 2017, West Africa land use and land cover time series: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3004, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173004.
Mapping land cover through time with the Rapid Land Cover Mapper—Documentation and user manual
Year Published: 2017

Mapping land cover through time with the Rapid Land Cover Mapper—Documentation and user manual

The Rapid Land Cover Mapper is an Esri ArcGIS® Desktop add-in, which was created as an alternative to automated or semiautomated mapping methods. Based on a manual photo interpretation technique, the tool facilitates mapping over large areas and through time, and produces time-series raster maps and associated statistics that characterize the...

Cotillon, Suzanne E.; Mathis, Melissa L.
Cotillon, S.E., and Mathis, M.L., 2017, Mapping land cover through time with the Rapid Land Cover Mapper—Documentation and user manual: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2017–1012, 23 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171012.
Alaska LandCarbon wetland distribution map
Year Published: 2017

Alaska LandCarbon wetland distribution map

This product provides regional estimates of specific wetland types (bog and fen) in Alaska. Available wetland types mapped by the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) program were re-classed into bog, fen, and other. NWI mapping of wetlands was only done for a portion of the area so a decision tree mapping algorithm was then developed to estimate bog...

Wylie, Bruce K.; Pastick, Neal J.
Wylie, B.K., and Pastick, N.J., 2017, Alaska LandCarbon Wetland Distribution Map: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7SB43X2.
Satellite-based water use dynamics using historical Landsat data (1984-2014) in the southwestern United States
Year Published: 2017

Satellite-based water use dynamics using historical Landsat data (1984-2014) in the southwestern United States

Historical (1984-2014) Landsat-based ET maps were generated for Palo Verde Irrigation District (PVID) and eight other sub-basins in parts of Middle and Lower Central Valley, California. A total of 3,396 Landsat images were processed using the Operational Simplified Surface Energy balance (SSEBop) model that integrates weather and remotely sensed...

Senay, Gabriel; Schauer, Matthew; Friedrichs, MacKenzie O.; Velpuri, Naga Manohar; Singh, Ramesh K.
Senay, G.B., Schauer, Matthew, Friedrichs, MacKenzie, Velpuri, N.M., and Singh, R.K., 2017, Satellite-based Water Use Dynamics Using Historical Landsat Data (1984-2014) in the Southwestern United States: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7DF6PDR.
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center—Popular Web sites
Year Published: 2017

Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center—Popular Web sites

This general information product lists Web sites related to the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center and supersedes GIP 84.

Lounsbery, Amber N.
Lounsbery, A.N., 2017, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center—Popular Web sites: U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 171, 1 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/gip171. [Supersedes USGS General Information Product 84.]
Assessing North American multimodel ensemble (NMME) seasonal forecast skill to assist in the early warning of hydrometeorological extremes over East Africa
Year Published: 2016

Assessing North American multimodel ensemble (NMME) seasonal forecast skill to assist in the early warning of hydrometeorological extremes over East Africa

The skill of North American multimodel ensemble (NMME) seasonal forecasts in East Africa (EA), which encompasses one of the most food and water insecure areas of the world, is evaluated using deterministic, categorical, and probabilistic evaluation methods. The skill is estimated for all three primary growing seasons: March–May (MAM), July–...

Shukla, Shraddhanand; Roberts, Jason B.; Hoell. Andrew; Funk, Chris; Robertson, Franklin R.; Kirtmann, Benjamin
Depth calibration and validation of the Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar, EAARL-B
Year Published: 2016

Depth calibration and validation of the Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar, EAARL-B

The original National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL), was extensively modified to increase the spatial sampling density and improve performance in water ranging from 3–44 m. The new (EAARL-B) sensor features a 300% increase in spatial density, which was achieved by optically...

Wright, C. Wayne; Kranenburg, Christine; Battista, Timothy A.; Parrish, Christopher
Wright, C.W.; Kranenburg, C.; Battista, T.A., and Parrish, C., 2016. Depth calibration and validation of the Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar, EAARL-B. In: Brock, J.C.; Gesch, D.B.; Parrish, C.E.; Rogers, J.N., and Wright, C.W. (eds.), Advances in Topobathymetric Mapping, Models, and Applications. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 76, pp. 4–17. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
Introduction: Special issue on advances in topobathymetric mapping, models, and applications
Year Published: 2016

Introduction: Special issue on advances in topobathymetric mapping, models, and applications

Detailed knowledge of near-shore topography and bathymetry is required for many geospatial data applications in the coastal environment. New data sources and processing methods are facilitating development of seamless, regional-scale topobathymetric digital elevation models. These elevation models integrate disparate multi-sensor, multi-temporal...

Gesch, Dean B.; Brock, John C.; Parrish, Christopher E.; Rogers, Jeffrey N.; Wright, C. Wayne
Gesch, D.B., Brock, J.C., Parrish, C.E., Rogers, J.N., and Wright, C.W., 2016, Introduction—Special issue on advances in topobathymetric mapping, models, and applications: Journal of Coastal Research, SI no. 76, p. 1–3, at http://dx.doi.org/10.2112/SI76-001.
Topobathymetric elevation model development using a new methodology: Coastal National Elevation Database
Year Published: 2016

Topobathymetric elevation model development using a new methodology: Coastal National Elevation Database

During the coming decades, coastlines will respond to widely predicted sea-level rise, storm surge, and coastalinundation flooding from disastrous events. Because physical processes in coastal environments are controlled by the geomorphology of over-the-land topography and underwater bathymetry, many applications of geospatial data in coastal...

Danielson, Jeffrey J.; Poppenga, Sandra; Brock, John C.; Evans, Gayla A.; Tyler, Dean; Gesch, Dean B.; Thatcher, Cindy; Barras, John
Danielson, J.J., Poppenga, S.K., Brock, J.C., Evans, G.A., Tyler, D.J., Gesch, D.B., Thatcher, C.A., and Barras, J.A., 2016, Topobathymetric elevation model development using a new methodology—Coastal National Elevation Database: Journal of Coastal Research, SI no. 76, p. 75–89, at http://dx.doi.org/10.2112/SI76-008.
Hydrologic connectivity: Quantitative assessments of hydrologic-enforced drainage structures in an elevation model
Year Published: 2016

Hydrologic connectivity: Quantitative assessments of hydrologic-enforced drainage structures in an elevation model

Elevation data derived from light detection and ranging present challenges for hydrologic modeling as the elevation surface includes bridge decks and elevated road features overlaying culvert drainage structures. In reality, water is carried through these structures; however, in the elevation surface these features impede modeled overland surface...

Poppenga, Sandra; Worstell, Bruce B.
Poppenga, S.K., and Worstell, B.B., 2016, Hydrologic connectivity—Quantitative assessments of hydrologic-enforced drainage structures in an elevation model: Journal of Coastal Research, SI no. 76, p. 90–106, at http://dx.doi.org/10.2112/SI76-009.
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March 2017 (approx.)

Have you ever wondered what all the parts of a satellite do? This video identifies a few of the main components onboard Landsat 8 and tells you about their role in flying the satellite and capturing images of the Earth's surface below. Learn more about USGS Landsat.

March 2017 (approx.)

The Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center has created a video animation describing how Landsat 8 orbits the Earth. The video explains the 16-day cycle for capturing imagery of the entire world. Learn more about USGS Landsat.

Landsat 8 image of Erte Ale, Ethiopia volcano, eruption, January 2017
January 26, 2017

Landsat 8 image of Erte Ale, Ethiopian volcano, erupting in late January 2017

Landsat 8, Longyangxia solar farm, China, OLI
January 5, 2017

Landsat 8, Longyangxia solar farm, China, OLI

EAA4, Australia wind power, Landsat 8
2016 (approx.)

Australia Wind Power from Earth as Art 4 exhibit, Landsat 8 image

2016 (approx.)

Did you know that tree canopy cover can be measured from space? The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor onboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites can do just that by providing data that are used to calculate Leaf Area Index (LAI). LAI is a measurement of green leaf area in broadleaf tree canopies and needle surface area in coniferous tree canopies. This data visualization shows the changes in tree canopy cover over the conterminous United States from January 1, 2015 to September 29, 2016, using 8-day, 500 meter resolution Terra/Aqua combined MODIS Version 6 LAI data (MCD15A2H). These data are archived and distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC), located at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center. LP DAAC: https://lpdaac.usgs.gov Terra/Aqua MODIS LAI, 8-day data: https://doi.org/10.5067/MODIS/MCD15A2H.006 
 

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Illustration of Landsat 7 in orbit
February 13, 2017

“We’re seeing the loss of forests in many places,” said Matthew Hansen, a professor at the University of Maryland. “Dynamics include increasing tropical deforestation, more frequent and severe boreal forest fires, disease in temperate forests and the commoditization of subtropical forests.”

Image shows a satellite view of the Okomu Forest of Nigeria
January 26, 2017

As part of a new atlas of imagery for West Africa, nearly 33 years of land-use change can be seen in Nigeria's Okomu Forest Reserve.