Mission Areas

Earth Resources Observation and Science Center

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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 is a remotely sensed data management, systems development, and research field center for USGS. We use remotely sensed data--particularly Landsat satellite data--to study land change and its impacts, both regionally and worldwide.

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

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 several California reservoirs
February 10, 2017

See a decade of California drought ease in this EarthView from Landsat.

This image shows a satellite view of flooding in squares of farmland in Argentina
February 9, 2017

This EarthView from Landsat shows how flooding in Argentina can affect global soybean prices.

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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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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Image: Texas Orthorectified Landsat State Mosaic
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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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.]
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.
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.
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.
Hydropower assessment of Bolivia—A multisource satellite data and hydrologic modeling approach
Year Published: 2016

Hydropower assessment of Bolivia—A multisource satellite data and hydrologic modeling approach

This study produced a geospatial database for use in a decision support system by the Bolivian authorities to investigate further development and investment potentials in sustainable hydropower in Bolivia. The study assessed theoretical hydropower of all 1-kilometer (km) stream segments in the country using multisource satellite data and a...

Velpuri, Naga Manohar; Pervez, Shahriar; Cushing, W. Matthew
Velpuri, N.M., Pervez, M.S., and Cushing, W.M., 2016, Hydropower assessment of Bolivia—A multisource satellite data and hydrologic modeling approach: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1156, 65 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161156.
Optimizing selection of training and auxiliary data for operational land cover classification for the LCMAP initiative
Year Published: 2016

Optimizing selection of training and auxiliary data for operational land cover classification for the LCMAP initiative

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) initiative is a new end-to-end capability to continuously track and characterize changes in land cover, use, and condition to better support research and applications relevant to resource management and environmental change.

Zhu, Zhe; Gallant, Alisa L.; Woodcock, Curtis; Pengra, Bruce; Olofsson, Pontus; Loveland, Thomas R; Jin, Suming; Dahal, Devendra; Yang, Limin; Auch, Roger F.
Zhu, Z., Gallant, A.L., Woodcock, C.E., Pengra, B., Olofsson, P., Loveland, T.R., Jin, S., Dahal, D., Yang, L., Auch, R.F., 2016, Optimizing selection of training and auxiliary data for operational land cover classification for the LCMAP initiative: ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, v. 122, p. 206-221.
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2016 (approx.)

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 land data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). This video will cover how to learn more about MODIS Version 6 data using the LP DAAC website, the MODIS file naming convention, and the external metadata. For more information on MODIS Version 6 data and other data distributed by the LP DAAC please visit https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/. The LP DAAC is one of twelve NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) DAACs. It is located at the USGS Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The LP DAAC ingests, archives, processes and distributes NASA Earth science land processes data and information. 

2016 (approx.)

The seasonal progression of global vegetation is driven by the tilt of the Earth's rotational axis and its annual orbit around the Sun. In turn, global seasonality drives major changes in important environmental factors such as global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. This data visualization illustrates this phenomenon using weekly Enhanced Vegetation Index 2 (EVI2) data, from the NASA Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs) Vegetation Index and Phenology (VIP) Version 4 collection. The VIP collection is derived from data collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard the NASA Aqua and Terra satellites, the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), and the Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre (SPOT). Data from the VIP collection provide 34 years of consistent, sensor-independent global records for vegetation indices and land surface phenology that can be used to observe the seasonal progression of global vegetation. The data are distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC), located at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center. For more information: LP DAAC: https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/ NASA MEaSUREs VIP Collection 4: https://doi.org/10.5067/MEaSUREs/VIP/VIP07.004
 

Sentinel 2, China's Tian Shan mountains
2016 (approx.)

Sentinel 2 image, China's Tian Shan mountains

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 
 

October 2016 (approx.)

This tutorial shows you how to search EarthExplorer using latitude and longitude coordinates.

October 2016 (approx.)

This tutorial shows you how to do a bulk download of satellite imagery using EarthExplorer. The website can be found at earthexplorer.usgs.gov.

October 2016 (approx.)

USGS EROS | How To Search and Download Satellite Imagery The USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center has created a series of videos to help users search for and download remotely sensed imagery. The first step in the process is to register for a free account so you can search and order data from EarthExplorer and GloVis websites. This video walks you through the registration process. You can find additional videos on tools and types of imagery available on this website: eros.usgs.gov.
 

MODIS, South Shetland Island volcanic plumes
September 29, 2016

MODIS, South Shetland Island volcanic plumes, acquired 9.29.16

Landsat 1992 vs 2010 Pine Beetle Assault on Forest E.of Salt Lake City.
2016 (approx.)

Landsat image taken in 1992 shows the Uinta Mountains east of Salt Lake City. The shades of dark green indicate healthy, undisturbed forest. Landsat image of the same area in 2010 captures the dramatic assault of mountain pine beetles. The dark red stains reveal widespread pine beetle destruction.

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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.