Western Geographic Science Center

The Western Geographic Science Center  (WGSC) helps decision makers understand how people and the environment interact through geographic research on environmental and societal impacts from natural hazards and climate change. Our projects analyze human and environmental interactions over space and time. We work with many partners and link numerous natural and social science disciplines. WGSC staff are located across the USGS Pacific, Southwest, and Northwest regions, with our research topics ranging in scale from global food security to nationwide land cover change to community-level hazard analyses. Our research methods utilize the latest in remote sensing and GIS software to analyze a variety of spatial data such as Landsat satellite imagery, U.S. Census Bureau demographic data, LiDAR elevation data, and various data collected from local sensors built by our team.

Pedestrian evacuation modeling to reduce vehicle use for distant tsunami evacuations in Hawaiʻi

USGS WGSC researchers collaborated with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency to model pedestrian evacuations from distant tsunami threats that could affect Oahu, Hawaii. The results will help emergency managers develop outreach efforts to minimize vehicle use and potential traffic during evacuations in some areas. The paper is published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction and available at https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1WmHa7t2zYxTYF

WGSC remote sensing science at Flagstaff Science in the Park!!!

USGS Western Geographic Science Center Geographer Adam Oliphant showing students how visible and near infrared light are useful for classifying agriculture using Landsat satellites by demonstrating a full spectrum camera at Science in the Park in Flagstaff Arizona on 9/23/2017. Common cameras are sensitive to near infrared light if an internal filter is removed. Students practiced taking apart cameras to remove the filter using broken cameras (top right). Image taken with a converted full spectrum camera (bottom left) and the same camera with a filter (680 nm) that blocks most visible light (bottom right). Green vegetation selectively reflects near infrared light, which is why the leaves appear so bright.


The WGSC GFSAD30 project accomplished their goal!

The global croplands mapping project has succesfully mapped croplands across the entire planet in order to understand the security of food world wide. Below are many press anouncments and interviews with the project leader Prasad Thenkabail.

American Scientist
Croplands Up Close

There's More Farmland in the World Than Was Previously Thought

International Business Times
India beats US and China on farmland: Report

USDA Radio
* They are running one more segment later this week.

Water Canada
Global Agriculture Intensity Detailed in Interactive Map

AG Web
New Interactive Maps Of Global Cropland

Central Valley Business Times
New map shows where the food is grown -- and not

Environment Guru
Global Agriculture Intensity Detailed in Interactive Map

Southwest Farm Press and Delta Farm Press
This map clearly shows individual farm fields anywhere in the world

Daily Digital News
There's more farmland in the world than was previously thought

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