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 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 farms and coal development near Central, North Dakota
April 2, 2017

Today, Landsat shows us the evolution of the coal industry near North America & North Dakota’s Center...

Satellite imagery which appears to be a cubist art painting.
March 27, 2017

Earth as Art, a U.S. Geological Survey traveling exhibit that merges art with dramatic Landsat imagery of the earth’s surface, is coming to Bismarck for the month of April. This display is free and open to the public.

Image shows a satellite view of forests in Cambodia.
March 24, 2017

In this week's Landsat view, Landsat 5 and Landsat 8 show how significant Cambodia's deforestation has been in the last few decades.

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.

Filter Total Items: 1,506
Quantifying terrestrial ecosystem carbon dynamics in the Jinsha watershed, Upper Yangtze, China from 1975 to 2000
Year Published: 2017

Quantifying terrestrial ecosystem carbon dynamics in the Jinsha watershed, Upper Yangtze, China from 1975 to 2000

Quantifying the spatial and temporal dynamics of carbon stocks in terrestrial ecosystems and carbon fluxes between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere is critical to our understanding of regional patterns of carbon storage and loss.

Zhao, Shuqing; Liu, Shuguang; Yin, Runsheng; Li, Zhengpeng; Deng, Yulin; Tan, Kun; Deng, Xiangzheng; Rothstein, David; Qi, Jiaguo
Developing criteria to establish Trusted Digital Repositories
Year Published: 2017

Developing criteria to establish Trusted Digital Repositories

This paper details the drivers, methods, and outcomes of the U.S. Geological Survey’s quest to establish criteria by which to judge its own digital preservation resources as Trusted Digital Repositories. Drivers included recent U.S. legislation focused on data and asset management conducted by federal agencies spending $100M USD or more annually...

Faundeen, John L.
Faundeen, J., (2017). Developing Criteria to Establish Trusted Digital Repositories. Data Science Journal. 16, p.22., https://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2017-022.
Cloud detection algorithm comparison and validation for operational Landsat data products
Year Published: 2017

Cloud detection algorithm comparison and validation for operational Landsat data products

Clouds are a pervasive and unavoidable issue in satellite-borne optical imagery. Accurate, well-documented, and automated cloud detection algorithms are necessary to effectively leverage large collections of remotely sensed data. The Landsat project is uniquely suited for comparative validation of cloud assessment algorithms because the modular...

Foga, Steven Curtis; Scaramuzza, Pat; Guo, Song; Zhu, Zhe; Dilley, Ronald; Beckmann, Tim; Schmidt, Gail L.; Dwyer, John L.; Hughes, MJ; Laue, Brady
Foga, S., Scaramuzza, P.L., Guo, S., Zhu, Z., Dilley, R.D., Beckmann, T., Schmidt, G.L., Dwyer, J.L., Hughes, M.J., Laue, B. (2017). Cloud detection algorithm comparison and validation for operational Landsat data products. Remote Sensing of Environment, 194, 379-390. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2017.03.026.
Landsat Science Team: 2017 Winter Meeting Summary
Year Published: 2017

Landsat Science Team: 2017 Winter Meeting Summary

The summer meeting of the joint U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)-NASA Landsat Science Team (LST) was held July 26-28, 2016, at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, SD. LST co-chair Tom Loveland [USGS’s Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (EROS)] and Kevin Kephart [SDSU] welcomed more than 80 participants to the three-day...

Schroeder, Todd A.; Loveland, Thomas; Wulder, Michael A.; Irons, James R.
U.S. Geological Survey distribution of European Space Agency's Sentinel-2 data
Year Published: 2017

U.S. Geological Survey distribution of European Space Agency's Sentinel-2 data

A partnership established between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) allows for USGS storage and redistribution of images acquired by the MultiSpectral Instrument (MSI) on the European Union's Sentinel-2 satellite mission. The MSI data are acquired from a pair of satellites, Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B, which are...

Pieschke, Renee L.
Pieschke, R.L., 2017, U.S. Geological Survey distribution of European Space Agency's Sentinel-2 data: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3026, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173026.
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.]
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March 2017 (approx.)

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Vegetation Indices data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Information about MODIS Vegetation Indices quality information, including how to decode quality bits, tools for working with quality data, and where to find additional information, will be provided. To learn more about MODIS Version 6 Vegetation Indices data and other data products 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 United States Geological Survey (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.

March 2017 (approx.)

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Land Surface Temperature data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Information about the MODIS Version 6 Land Surface Temperature data products, changes between the Version 5 and Version 6 products, and how to access the data using NASA’s Earthdata Search is provided. To learn more about MODIS Version 6 Land Surface Temperature data and other data products 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 United States Geological Survey (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. 
 

March 2017 (approx.)

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Land Surface Temperature data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Information about MODIS Land Surface Temperature quality information, including how to decode quality bits, tools for working with quality data, and where to find additional information, will be provided. To learn more about MODIS Version 6 Land Surface Temperature data and other data products 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 United States Geological Survey (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. 
 

March 2017 (approx.)

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Vegetation Indices data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC).  Information about the MODIS Version 6 Vegetation Indices products, changes between the Version 5 and Version 6 products, and how to access the data using NASA’s Earthdata Search is provided. To learn more about MODIS Version 6 Vegetation Indices data and other data products 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 United States Geological Survey (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.

March 2017 (approx.)

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Vegetation Indices data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Information about MODIS Vegetation Indices quality information, including how to decode quality bits, tools for working with quality data, and where to find additional information, will be provided. To learn more about MODIS Version 6 Vegetation Indices data and other data products 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 United States Geological Survey (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.

March 2017 (approx.)

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Land Surface Temperature data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Information about the MODIS Version 6 Land Surface Temperature data products, the scale factor of the data and other data values, and using a color map to visualize Land Surface Temperature will be provided in this video. The video will also cover how to find Land Surface Temperature resources on the LP DAAC website. To learn more about on MODIS Version 6 Land Surface Temperature data and other data products 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 United States Geological Survey (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. 
 

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.

Kansas Wildfires, March 2017, Landsat 8
March 2017 (approx.)

This March 2017 Landsat 8 image shows massive burned scars in Kansas and Oklahoma. More than 730,000 acres of farm and ranchland were scorched by wind-driven wildfires that began March 6 and were finally extinguished on March 22.

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.

ISRO Resourcesat-2 image of Lake Pontchartrain, March 2017
March 2017 (approx.)

This is an image acquired with the Linear Imaging Self-Scanning Sensor III on the Indian Space Research Organization's Resourcesat-2 satellite that is now available in the EROS Archive. It is the New Orleans/Lake Pontchartrain area and was acquired March 31, 2017.

California Wildflower Superbloom, Spring 2017, Landsat 8
March 28, 2017

After 5 years of drought, California finally got relief during the winter of 2016–2017 with much needed precipitation. One result of this additional moisture was a springtime abundance of wildflowers in 2017. This Landsat 8 image shows a large area of wildflower "superbloom" just north of Los Padres National Forest in southern California.

 

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

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Satellite imagery which appears to be a cubist art painting.
March 27, 2017

Earth as Art, a U.S. Geological Survey traveling exhibit that merges art with dramatic Landsat imagery of the earth’s surface, is coming to Bismarck for the month of April. This display is free and open to the public.

Image shows a satellite view of forests in Cambodia.
March 24, 2017

In this week's Landsat view, Landsat 5 and Landsat 8 show how significant Cambodia's deforestation has been in the last few decades.

Illustration of Landsat 7 in orbit
March 24, 2017

Access to consistent high-quality images to study changes on Earth’s surface is getting easier. The USGS Landsat standard (Level-1) product inventory is now structured by data quality and offers improved calibration. Data designated as Tier 1 provide the highest accuracy and can be reliably used to analyze changes to Earth’s surface over time.

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.