North American landscape characterization project: The production of a continental scale three‐decade Landsat data set

Geocarto International
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The North American Landscape Characterization (NALC) project is a component of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Landsat Pathfinder program. Pathfinder projects are focused on the investigation of global change utilizing current remote sensing technologies. The NALC project is a cooperative effort between the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and NASA to make Landsat data available to the widest possible user community for scientific research and general public interest. The NALC project is principally funded by the EPA Office of Research and Development and the USGS's Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center (EDC).

The objectives of the NALC project are to produce standardized remote sensing data sets, develop standardized analysis methods, and derive standardized land cover change products for a large portion of the North American continent (the conterminous United States and Mexico) (Lunetta and Sturdevant, 1993). The standard product is the NALC “triplicate”;, consisting of co‐registered Landsat multispectral scanner data for the years 1973, 1986, and 1991 (plus or minus one year), plus co‐registered 3 arcsecond digital terrain elevation data. Processing began with the 1986 scene, which was precision corrected (with full terrain correction) to a 60 meter Universal Transverse Mercator base. Automated cross‐correlation procedures were used to co‐register the 1970's and 1990's data to the 1980's base, and independent verifications of registration quality were performed on all triplicate components. The pertinent metadata were compiled in a relational database, which includes WRS2 path/rows, scene ID's, image dates, solar azimuth and elevation, verification RMSE's, and the number of verification control points. NALC triplicate data sets are being used for a number of applications, including the analysis of urbanization patterns, dynamics of climatic fluctuations, deforestation studies, and vegetation classification and mapping. These data are being distributed through the Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Information Management System (IMS) at a cost of $15(U.S.) for each triplicate.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title North American landscape characterization project: The production of a continental scale three‐decade Landsat data set
Series title Geocarto International
DOI 10.1080/10106049809354651
Volume 13
Issue 3
Year Published 1998
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 9 p.
First page 43
Last page 51
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