Data for LCLUC Research

NASA Data Sets For LCLUC Research

The unprecedented large volumes of satellite data for land use research have necessitated the development of innovative data processing, delivery and analysis systems. The primary NASA data system (ESDIS) and a number of competed research opportunities such as ACCESS and MEASURES have provided support for data systems development and research going back to the 1990’s. The MODIS production system at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) is generating land-cover related products from the daily MODIS and VIIRS instruments. MODIS Land data products at 250m -1km have been reprocessed 5 times, as the algorithms have been improved to provide consistent data records. The SNPP VIIRS Land data products are in their second reprocessing and the science teams are developing MODIS to VIIRS continuity products. VIIRS Land data along with data from Sentinel 3 are available from the LAADS DAAC. Various land data products including MODIS, VIIRS, ASTER are made available through the NASA Land Processes DAAC and the National Snow and Ice Data Center. NASA data for Near Real Time Applications including fire monitoring can be obtained from the Land Atmosphere Near real time Capability for EOS (LANCE). An excellent way to view NASA time-series imagery is through the ESDIS Worldview capability and the Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS). Information on accessing NASA GEDI data can be obtained from the GEDI Home Page at UMD.  GEDI lower level data are available from the LPDAAC and higher order products from the ORNL DAAC. Information on accessing ECOSTRESS data can be found at JPL. Data can be downloaded from the LPDAAC. The entire Landsat archive and a wide range of land data products are available through the USGS Eros Data Center and Landsat Applications Ready Data (ARD) products are under development. Fine spatial resolution available to NASA-funded scientists through the NextView license can be obtained from the NASA NGA Commercial Archive at GSFC.

Harmonized Landsat-8/Sentinel-2 Products

The ESA Sentinel-2 and Landsat products represent the most widely accessible medium-to-high spatial resolution multispectral satellite data. The combination of these products provides a higher temporal resolution data set, with a revisit time of 3-5 days suited to land monitoring. NASA GSFC has developed a Harmonized Landsat Sentinel (HLS) data set with standard processing of the two data sets so they can be used easily in combination.

Global Land Survey

The Landsat Global Land Survey (GLS) data sets were created as a collaboration between NASA LCLUC and the USGS which ended in 2011. Landsat data sets were compiled and processed consistently from 1975 (1972-1983) for several epochs (1990, 2000, 2005, 2010). GLS datasets allowed scientists and data users to have access to a consistent, terrain corrected, coordinated collection of data. These data are available from the USGS Eros Data Center.

Global Geo-Referenced Field Photo Library

Land use and land cover change studies at regional to global scales require large numbers of field sites for algorithm development and accuracy evaluation. Rapid development in integration of digital camera, hand-held GPS device, computer and internet make it possible for both scientific communities and citizens to collect and share geo-referenced field photos.  The Global Geo-Referenced Field Photo Library, developed at the Earth Observation and Modeling Facility of University of Oklahoma, offers the capacity for users to upload, query (by themes and geographically), and download geo-referenced field photos in the library. It offers interactive capacity for users to interpret and classify field photos into relevant land cover types and builds photo-based land cover database.  The users can use both photos and associated databases to carry out land use and land cover analysis in a geographical information system. The users who provide field photos can decide whether individual photos are to be shared or not. This tool and the resultant photo library will enable our NASA LCLUC communities to share their field photos, and promote the NASA LCLUC effort in remote sensing.

Very High-Resolution Satellite Data Access

A number of commercial companies such as Planet Labs and Maxar/DigitalGlobe have been acquiring remote sensing very high-resolution (VHR) data useful for LU/CC applications. VHR observations increase our capabilities to extract land-cover/use information with greater detail. Planet’s constellation consists of over 150 satellites providing spectral observations daily with PLANETSCOPE (RGB and NIR), RAPIDEYE (RGB, red edge and NIR), and SKYSAT (RGB, NIR, and PAN) satellites with 3m, 5m, and 0.8m resolutions respectively. Currently, DigitalGlobe operates four satellites: GeoEye-1, WorldView-1, -2, and -3. The combination of GeoEye-1, which can revisit any point on Earth once every three days, and the WorldView constellation makes the frequency of Digital Globe VHR data useful for short-term LU/CC monitoring at 1-m resolution (or higher for panchromatic bands). The commercial data currently distributed by NASA are available under different scientific use licenses and various access portals. The Commercial Smallsat Data Acquisition (CSDA) program evaluates and procures data from commercial vendors that advance NASA’s Earth science research and applications activities. Currently, data acquired during the evaluations of Planet, Maxar (formerly DigitalGlobe, Inc.), and Spire Global are available. More Info:

ESRI 2020 Global Land Cover Map

Esri releases high-resolution (10-meter), 2020 global land cover map. The map was built using European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and developed using a new machine learning workflow teaming with new Esri Silver Partner Impact Observatory, as well as long-time partner Microsoft. The product is available in ArcGIS Online as a map service. It is also available for download and viewing. To explore the new 2020 Global Land Cover Map, visit


ESDS Open Source Software Policy

NASA's Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program requires that all software developed through research and technology awards (i.e., Research Opportunities in Earth and Space Science [ROSES] or unsolicited proposals) or other government-funded development is to be made available to the public as Open Source Software (OSS). This includes all software developed with ESDS funding used in the production of data products, as well as software developed to discover, access, analyze, visualize, and transform NASA data. This policy does not apply to commercial off-the-shelf software. 
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