USGS releases geo-referenced field photos to public

November 9, 2015  - By 0 Comments

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The U.S. Geological Survey has made part of a huge national repository of geographically referenced USGS field photographs publicly available. USGS geographers developed a mapping portal called the Land Cover Trends Field Photo Map.

The entire collection contains more than 33,000 geo-referenced field photos with associated keywords describing the land-use and land-cover change processes taking place. Initially, nearly 13,000 photos from across the continental U.S. will be available to the public, yet the online collection will grow as more processed photos become available.

“This is a treasure trove of royalty and copyright-free photography collected using consistent procedures,” said Chris Soulard, project leader and USGS research geographer. “We envision that these photos will captivate general audiences and fulfill a myriad of scientific needs.”

Sharing these field photos provides a resource for the scientific community with potential to develop future research, such as future repeat photography projects or applications where photos may validate remote sensing classifications.

“The benefit of these photos being hosted by the USGS is equal access to all without copyright concerns and quality control,” said Jason Sherba, USGS geographer and project web developer.

The photography was collected as part the USGS National Land Cover Trends Project, a research effort that spanned over ten years and represented one of USGS’ largest cross-center research efforts. The project employed Landsat imagery between 1973-2000 to derive rates, causes and consequences of contemporary land-use and land-cover change. Photos were collected between 1999 and 2007.

The map viewer was developed to present photographs within a land use/land cover change mapping context, yet photos may also be found on the USGS Earth Explorer website.

Tracy Cozzens

About the Author:

Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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