Western Geographic Science Center


Our Science Links

Fact Sheets:

Future Scenarios of Impacts to Ecosystem Services on California Rangelands 2013-3003

What is the Economic Value of Satellite Imagery? 2014-3019

Decision-Support Systems for Natural-Hazards and Land-Management Issues 2012-3001

Climatic Changes and the Effect on Wild Sheep Habitat 2012-3060

Mapping Perennial Vegetation Cover in the Mojave Desert 2011-3077

WGSC Overview - Understanding Risk and Resilience to Natural Hazards 2011-3008

USGS Geographic Science for Public and Tribal Lands 2011-3059

Regional Planning for Nearshore Ecosystem Services 2011-3067

Using Terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) Technology for Land-Surface Analysis in the Southwest 2011-3017

Future of Land Change Research at the U.S. Geological Survey 2011-3080

The Border Environmental Health Initiative: Investigation of the Transboundary Santa Cruz Watershed" 2010-3097

 

The Western Geographic Science Center conducts research to help communities make decisions about the interaction between people and their environment. We conduct geographic research on the environmental and societal consequences of a changing landscape.

Our projects analyze human / environmental interactions spatially and temporally. Our work is collaborative, involving many partners and linking many different natural science and social science disciplines. Our work is concentrated in the 9 states of the USGS Western Region and is conducted on local and regional scales.

Find out more about our science by following the links on the left.


Just Released!!

Remote Sensing Handbook (three volume set) by WGSC scientist, Prasad Thenkabail.

We announce with great pleasure that the Remote Sensing Handbook is now published! A comprehensive coverage of all remote sensing topics written by the best in the field. Overall, Remote Sensing Handbook has 82 Chapters, (about 2200 pages), 300+ authors, every page printed in color, and bound in hard copy.

Prasad's Book

The Remote Sensing Handbook is available from Amazon.

Editorial Reviews ...

"I have had the pleasure and honor to be involved in the field of remote sensing for nearly 50 years. To say that much has changed and been accomplished in this field over this time period is a severe understatement. It would require literally hundreds of experts on a global basis to characterize the history, scope, utility, dynamism, and future outlook for remote sensing. It is this exact feat that is accomplished through the contributions of over 300 highly respected, international researchers and practitioners in the production of Remote Sensing Handbook (three volumes). This comprehensive treatise sets a new standard for spanning and integrating discussion of remote sensing principles, data, methods, development, applications, and scientific and social context. It will be an invaluable multidisciplinary reference for many years to come."

– Dr. Thomas M. Lillesand, Emeritus Professor of Remote Sensing, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.


"At a time when satellite remote sensing technologies and methods are advancing so rapidly, it is good to see an up-to-date handbook covering a broad range of remote sensing topics from different international authors, with different perspectives. The handbook will be useful for students as well as practitioners using remote sensing data. I congratulate the editor for compiling this three-volume handbook, which was clearly a major undertaking."
 
– Dr. Christopher Justice, Professor and Departmental Chairperson, Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland College Park, USA; Program Scientist, NASA Land-cover\Land-use Change Program; 2014 individual Pecora Award winner

In the News
New California Fog Maps Reveal Pictures for Planning

Field Photo Map

A new series of maps of fog and low clouds covering the northern and central California coasts reveals daytime and nighttime patterns with a level of detail never previously mapped. U.S. Geological Survey scientists used new analyses of satellite images to understand the dynamics of fog.

Fog and low clouds have a significant influence on California’s coastal ecosystem processes and on the local economy for everything from wine production to tourism. The new digital maps can be used for a wide range of applications from siting solar panels to making decisions about what grapes to grow in coastal Calif. The patterns of fog and low clouds that are revealed by the new maps will help ecologists better understand coastal-to-inland plant and animal distribution. The fog and low cloud maps can delineate the commonly used term “fog belt” into zones with increased precision.

The maps were made using a decade's (1999 - 2009) worth of summertime satellite weather data. Over 26,000 hourly night and day images were classified to identify the presence of fog and low clouds and compiled for statistical analysis.

“We wanted maps that were as easy to use as the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Maps and as accurate as National Weather Service images so we compiled thousands of satellite images onto one map layer. People can pinpoint what fog zone their house or field is in. Montara (Calif.) is in the highest zone and gets, on average, more than 14 hours of fog and low clouds each day in the summer,” said Alicia Torregrosa, USGS geographer and lead author on the study.

The fog and low cloud data are freely available for download from the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative Climate Commons website.

The full article, “Goes-derived fog and low cloud indices for Coastal North and Central California ecological analyses,” describing the new digital maps, their uses and creation, was published in “Earth and Space Science,” an open-access journal of the American Geophysical Union.

 

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