Monitoring Live Vegetation in Semiarid and Arid Rangeland Environments with Satellite Remote Sensing in Northern Kenya

Open-File Report 2019-1037
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International Development
By:  and 



As part of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) commitment to provide technical assistance to the Kenyan Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the DOI International Technical Assistance Program and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s regional mission in East Africa, created a high spatial and time-sensitive live vegetation monitoring system for NRT. The system built with advanced field and sensor technologies produced directly calibrated and highly accurate satellite mapping that is extendable both forward and backward in time. The maps are produced in a simple 0–100-percent representation of live vegetation status and change over time. The backbone of the mapping is the Sentinel satellite remote sensing systems with 5-day collection frequencies and ground spatial resolutions of 10 meters. The European Space Agency (ESA) offers free Sentinel satellite image data through conveniently accessed websites and free user-friendly image processing software downloadable directly onto a personal workstation. ESA provides free online software support. The mapping capability was extended from the forward mapping of Sentinel back in time with the Landsat satellite remote sensing system that has an available and free data archive back to 1983. Although Landsat has coarser spatial resolution, the Landsat to Sentinel live vegetation mapping comparison supports the use of Landsat to provide NRT the historical recreation of prominent live vegetation changes.

Suggested Citation

Rangoonwala, Amina, and Ramsey, E.W., III, 2019, Monitoring live vegetation in semiarid and arid rangeland environments with satellite remote sensing in northern Kenya: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1037, 83 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Summary
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Monitoring live vegetation in semiarid and arid rangeland environments with satellite remote sensing in northern Kenya
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2019-1037
DOI 10.3133/ofr20191037
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Description Report: vii, 83 p.; 15 Figures
Country Kenya
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
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