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

Satellite image showing the Las Vegas, Lake Mead, Grand Canyon area
July 20, 2017

Resourcesat data that are important for understanding changes associated with agriculture, forestry, phenology, and other applications are now available in the USGS archive.

What would it take to produce a billion tons of biomass for fuel production?
June 26, 2017

What would it take to produce a billion tons of biomass for fuel production? 

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...

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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USGS logo
July 18, 2017

GloVis

The USGS Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis) is an online search and order tool for selected  is an online search and order tool for selected remote sensing data.  

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: 1,643
Year Published: 2017

Assessment of forest degradation in Vietnam using Landsat time series data

Landsat time series data were used to characterize forest degradation in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. We conducted three types of image change analyses using Landsat time series data to characterize the land cover changes. Our analyses concentrated on the timeframe of 1973–2014, with much emphasis on the latter part of that range. We conducted a...

Vogelmann, James; Van Khoa, Phung; Xuan Lan, Do; Shermeyer, Jacob S.; Shi, Hua; Wimberly, Michael C.; Tat Duong, Hoang; Van Huong, Le

Year Published: 2017

Statistical relative gain calculation for Landsat 8

The Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) is an optical multispectral push-broom sensor with a focal plane consisting of over 7000 detectors per spectral band. Each of the individual imaging detectors contributes one column of pixels to an image. Any difference in the response between neighboring detectors may result in a visible stripe or band...

Anderson (CTR), Cody; Helder, Dennis; Jeno (CTR), Drake
Anderson, C., Helder, D., Jeno, D., "Statistical relative gain calculation for Landsat 8," Proc. SPIE 10402, (2017) .

Year Published: 2017

Historical and projected trends in landscape drivers affecting carbon dynamics in Alaska

Modern climate change in Alaska has resulted in widespread thawing of permafrost, increased fire activity, and extensive changes in vegetation characteristics that have significant consequences for socioecological systems. Despite observations of the heightened sensitivity of these systems to change, there has not been a comprehensive assessment...

Pastick, Neal J.; Duffy, Paul A; Genet, Hélène; Rupp, T. Scott; Wylie, Bruce K.; Johnson, Kristofer; Jorgenson, M. Torre; Bliss, Norman B.; McGuire, Anthony David; Jafarov, Elchin; Knight, Joseph F.

Year Published: 2017

Effect of NOAA satellite orbital drift on AVHRR-derived phenological metrics

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center routinely produces and distributes a remote sensing phenology (RSP) dataset derived from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) 1-km data compiled from a series of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites (NOAA-11, −14, −...

Ji, Lei; Brown, Jesslyn
Ji, L., and Brown, J.F., 2017, Effect of NOAA satellite orbital drift on AVHRR-derived phonological metrics. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation

Year Published: 2017

Parcels versus pixels: modeling agricultural land use across broad geographic regions using parcel-based field boundaries

Land use and land cover (LULC) change occurs at a local level within contiguous ownership and management units (parcels), yet LULC models primarily use pixel-based spatial frameworks. The few parcel-based models being used overwhelmingly focus on small geographic areas, limiting the ability to assess LULC change impacts at regional to national...

Sohl, Terry L.; Dornbierer, Jordan; Wika, Steve; Sayler, Kristi L.; Quenzer, Robert
Sohl, T., Dornbierer, J., Wika, S., Sayler, K., and Quenzer, R., 2017. Parcels versus Pixels: Modelling agricultural land use across broad geographic regions using parcel-based field boundaries. Journal of Land Use Science (IN PRESS).

Year Published: 2017

How misapplication of the hydrologic unit framework diminishes the meaning of watersheds

Hydrologic units provide a convenient but problematic nationwide set of geographic polygons based on subjectively determined subdivisions of land surface areas at several hierarchical levels. The problem is that it is impossible to map watersheds, basins, or catchments of relatively equal size and cover the whole country. The hydrologic unit...

Omernik, James M.; Griffith, Glenn E.; Hughes, Robert M.; Glover, James B.; Weber, Marc H.
Omernik J.M., Griffith G.E., Hughes R.M., Glover J.B., Weber M.H., 2017, How Misapplication of the Hydrologic Unit Framework Diminishes the Meaning of Watershed: Environmental Management v. 60, no. 1, p. 1-11. doi:10.1007/s00267-017-0854-z

Year Published: 2017

Land change monitoring, assessment, and projection (LCMAP) revolutionizes land cover and land change research

When nature and humanity change Earth’s landscapes - through flood or fire, public policy, natural resources management, or economic development - the results are often dramatic and lasting.Wildfires can reshape ecosystems. Hurricanes with names like Sandy or Katrina will howl for days while altering the landscape for years. One growing season in...

Young, Steven
Young, S.M., 2017, Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) revolutionizes land cover and land change research: U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 172, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/gip172.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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September 19, 2017

Hurricane Irma churned up sediment around the Florida keys as shown by these Landsat images.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov/)

September 15, 2017

Hurricane Irma's full force hit the small island of Barbuda, damaging estimated 95% of structures.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov/)

September 8, 2017

Hurricane Harvey dumped over 50 inches of rain near Houston, leaving extensive flooding throughout the area.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov/)

August 31, 2017

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25th. Over the next few days, record rain totals had devastated the area.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov/)

August 28, 2017

Gypsy Moth populations are at their highest levels since the 1980s, causing damage to hardwood trees in the New England area.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov/)

August 21, 2017

On Monday, August 21, 2017, several locations throughout the United States will experience total darkness during the first total solar eclipse in the U.S. in nearly 40 years. Follow along with this video to see satellite imagery of several of these locations that will experience complete darkness for a few minutes when the eclipse occurs. Will you be watching from one of these locations?

The satellite imagery featured in this video were created using data distributed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). These data are from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor onboard the NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) satellite and the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) sensor onboard the Terra satellite. To learn more about these 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 and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The LP DAAC ingests, archives, processes and distributes NASA Earth science land processes data and information. 

Shapefiles for the Center Line, Umbra, and Path are available from NASA's Visualization Studio via https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4518.

August 18, 2017

Even on an island of ice and glaciers, wildfires can occur. This August, Earth-observing satellites detected this fire burning in western Greenland.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov/)

July 27, 2017

Warm summers and short winters are thawing permafrost in the Siberian tundra, causing soil erosion. As a result, the 800 meter wide Batagaika crater continues to expand.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.
Hyperlink: USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov/)

July 20, 2017

Thermal satellite images are tracking A-68, a newly calved iceberg off the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antartica.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.
Hyperlink: USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov/)

July 11, 2017

Softball-sized hail caused millions of dollars of damage to the USGS EROS Center 20 years ago this week. July 13, 1997, marks the date of the massive hailstorm in southeastern South Dakota. 

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth’s land surface.
Hyperlink: USGS EROS Center (https://eros.usgs.gov/)

July 11, 2017

This Landsat 8 image was captured July 11, 2017, roughly 2 weeks prior to the onset of unprecedented wildfires in western Greenland. The slow-burning fires appear to be fed by peat-rich soils that have been exposed by melting glaciers.

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Satellite image showing the Las Vegas, Lake Mead, Grand Canyon area
July 20, 2017

Resourcesat data that are important for understanding changes associated with agriculture, forestry, phenology, and other applications are now available in the USGS archive.

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.