USGS offers satellite imagery online

The United States Geological Survey has released an array of Landsat 7 images of the United States through its USGS Global Visualization Viewer and EarthExplorer Web sites. The high-quality images were taken at times when cloud cover was limited.

This is actually a pilot project for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, currently projected for launch in 2011. According to USGS spokesman Ronald Beck, Landsat 7 'is already well past its design life.' With the replacement of Landsat 7, USGS plans to make all data ' not just U.S. imagery ' available at no cost.

'To make sure the system works well, we're testing it with Landsat 7 data over the United States,' Beck said. 'It'll be a lot of imagery over the next number of months. A couple hundred scenes a day.'

The primary users of the system currently are other government agencies that use the data to monitor forests, grasslands, wildfires and the like, he said.

USGS predicts the system will have many thousands of users, he said. 'It's very important data to the global research community.'

About the Author

Patrick Marshall is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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