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Application demonstration and research

EROS Program scientists seek new applications of remote sensing to significant resource and environmental problems, commonly in cooperation

with other organizations.

One example is the Pacific Northwest Land

Resources Inventory Demonstration Project, sponsored by the Pacific

Northwest Regional Commission (PNRC) in cooperation with the EROS Program,

the Geography Program of GS, and NASA.

This project has demonstrated

the utility of Landsat data for a number of resource management problems

in the States of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

It is estimated that

use of Landsat data will permit a forest inventory of westem Washington

(40,500 square kilometers) to be completed in one half the time and at

one tenth the cost of standard methods.

A survey monitoring urban change

was done with 98 percent accuracy in 1 man-month using Landsat data versus

15 man-years using standard methods.

Because of the useful results already

achieved, an operational resource inventory system in the Pacific

Northwest based on the use of Lands at data is being planned by the Land

Resources Inventory Task Force of the PNRC.

Additional EROS Program demonstration and research activities



Development of techniques for monitor of large strip mine

changes using Landsat, in cooperation with the Bureau of Mines;


Correlation of "lineaments" observed on Landsat imagery with

roof falls in underground mines, in cooperation with the Mine

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and forest vegetation, in cooperation with NASA and the Bureau

of Land Management;

d. Use of imagery from the Geostationary Operational Environmental

Satellites (GOES) to observe distribution and temperature of

clouds, in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation;


Experimental use of Landsat imagery for producing land systems

maps for assessment of land use potential;

f. Experimental use of Landsat data for monitoring changes in

desert regions;

8. Compilation of a Landsat image atlas of glaciers of the world;

h. Experimental use of luminescence as a means for identifying a

variety of natural and man-made materials from aircraft and


User assistance and training

A major function of the EROS Data Center (EDC) is to provide training

to resource specialists and land managers in the use of Landsat and other remotely sensed data. In Fiscal Year 1977, there were 650 participants in

technical programs, including 17 discipline-oriented courses, 30 workshops,

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1 symposium, and 3 courses in digital techniques.

In addition, there

were 120 foreign attendees at the 8th and 9th International Workshops

given at EDC, and two similar courses given in Buenos Aires.


staff also cooperated with NASA and the Water Resources Division of

GS in conducting two workshops on the use of Landsat and Geostationary

Operational Environmental Satellite data collection platforms in Bolivia

and Chile.

An important adjunct to formal training courses is the Data Analysis

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Laboratory that has become a focal point for developing and demonstrating

new remote-sensing techniques.

Extensive use of the Data Analysis Laboratory

was made this year in training personnel from Bureaus of Land Management,

Reclamation, and Mines in developing applications using both digitally

processed Landsat and aerial imagery. Technical guidance was made available

in the use of three interactive computerized image analysis systems, as

well as densitometers, color additive viewers, zoom transfer scopes, and


The Data Analysis Laboratory has become one of the finest

facilities in the world for the analysis of digitally processed imagery.

Data reproduction and distribution

Since its establishment in 1972, EDC has distributed approximately

1.8 million reproductions from the nearly 6 million images presently in

the data base.

Half the reproductions were Landsat images, and in

addition to images, nearly 6,000 computer-compatible tapes of Landsat

data were supplied to users.

Digital image processing systems are being readied by NASA and EDC

to provide products from Landsat-c data, expected in 1978, which will be

superior to those from Landsats-1 and -2.

During 1977, about 175 Landsat

images were computer enhanced on a special order basis; these images

approximate the quality that will be routinely available with the new


Dollar volume of all products sold in 1977 amounted to about $2,500,000.

Landsat products, while comprising only 18 percent of the data base,

accounted for $1,674,000 or 67 percent of the total sales.

of that total,

sales of digitally enhanced scenes amounted to $137,000, and computercompatible tapes $374,000. These products were more than 30 percent of

the total Landsat sales, reflecting the increasing trend toward digital

processing of Landsat data.

Industrial and foreign users were the

principal purchasers of Landsat data, accounting for approximately 32 and

27 percent, respectively, of the total sales.

The Federal Government was

the next largest category, at about 24 percent.

The principal application by industry is in mineral exploration

and related geologic mapping activities by major petroleum and mining


of the 145 energy-related industries on the Forbes list of

U. S. industries, 122 ordered data from EDC during Fiscal Years 1976 and

1977; 53 of these showed a highly repetitive ordering pattern, either in

new orders for different areas, or in standing orders for new data of the

same area.

National Cartographic Information Center

EDC also supports the availability of information from the National

Cartographic Information Center (NCIC), a facility of GS which provides

cartographic data and aerial photographs from Federal, State, and private

organizations as well as data collection plans of those organizations.

To facilitate the purchase of imagery from satellites and aircraft by the

public, a number of NCIC offices located throughout the country are

connected by remote terminals to the central computer complex at EDC.


The prime use of space technology by the Department of the Interior is

the use of Landsat-1 and -2 images for a variety of purposes, some now

routine and some still in the research stage.

Landsat was originally designed to meet some of the information

needs of the Interior Department; it has done so extremely well.


images are now used for small-scale mapping, detection of changes in

water bodies and shorelines, exploration for minerals and fuels, land-use

mapping, pollution detection, inventories of irrigated land, and many

other uses.

The uniform repetitive view provided by Landsat makes these

uses possible. Several specific current uses are described below.

Energy and minerals

An increasing body of evidence is emerging from Landsat image studies

by scientists in the United States, the U.S.S.R., and elsewhere that

accumulations of some energy sources and mineral concentrations are

related to very deep structural features that, because of size,


configuration, or obliteration by age, have been unrecognized in the

past from surface and aerial observations.

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