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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
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
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,
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
An important adjunct to formal training courses is the Data Analysis
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
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.
EXAMPLES OF CURRENT USES OF SPACE TECHNOLOGY
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
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.