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Prasad S. Thenkabail, PhD

Dr. Prasad S. Thenkabail, Senior Scientist (ST), United States Geological Survey (USGS), is a world-recognized expert in remote sensing science with major contributions in the field sustained for nearly 40 years. Dr. Thenkabail’s career scientific achievements can be gauged by successfully making the list of world’s top 1% of scientists across fields (22 scientific fields and 176 sub-fields).

Dr. Thenkabail has conducted pioneering research in hyperspectral remote sensing of vegetation and in that of global croplands and their water use for food security. In hyperspectral remote sensing he has done cutting-edge research with wide implications in advancing remote sensing science in application to agriculture and vegetation. This body of work led to more than ten peer-reviewed research publications with high impact. For example, a single paper entitled “Hyperspectral vegetation indices and their relationships with agricultural crop characteristics” has received 1500 citations (3/14/23). In studies of global croplands for food and water security, he has led the release of the world’s first Landsat-derived: 1. global cropland extent product @ 30m (GCEP30), and 2. global rainfed and irrigated area product @ 30m (LGRIP30). This work demonstrates a “paradigm shift” in how remote sensing science is conducted. As per Google Scholar, the papers Dr. Thenkabail's research are cited 14,235 times. His h-index is 58 and i10-index is 113.

Dr. Thenkabail’s contributions to series of leading edited books on remote sensing science places him as a world leader in remote sensing science advances. He edited three-volume book entitled Remote Sensing Handbook published by Taylor and Francis, with 82 chapters and more than 2000 pages, widely considered a “magnus opus” encyclopedic standard reference for students, scholars, practitioners, and major experts in remote sensing science. He has recently completed editing Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Vegetation published books by Taylor and Francis in four volumes with 50 chaptersThis is the second edition that is currently in press and is a follow-up on the earlier single-volume Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Vegetation. He has also edited a book on Remote Sensing of Global Croplands for Food Security.

He obtained his PhD from the Ohio State University in 1992 and has 168 publications including 9 books, 146 peer-reviewed journal articles, and 13 major data releases. Dr. Thenkabail is at the center of rendering scientific service to the world’s remote sensing community in roles that include Editor-in-Chief (2011-present) of Remote Sensing Open Access Journal and Associate Editor (2017-present) of American Society’s Journal Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. Dr. Thenkabail was recognized as Fellow of the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) in 2023. His scientific papers have won several awards over the years demonstrating world class highest quality research. These include: 2023 Talbert Abrams Grand Award, the highest scientific paper award of the ASPRS, 2015 ASPRS ERDAS award for best scientific paper in remote sensing, and 1994 Autometric Award for the outstanding paper in remote sensing. He was a Landsat Science Team Member (2007-2011).

*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government